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Volleyball Training Journal issue 034
April 04, 2010




1. Vertical Jump Experiment

Have you ever noticed that the players that can jump the highest are usually also the quickest?

The next time your teammates perform the vertical jump test, watch closely how their body moves during the jump.

I would bet that every single one of them would bend their knees and get into a low squat position before they jump. I would also bet that none of them will stay in the low squat position for a long time, then jump up… all of them would squat down and change directions really quickly, jumping up fast.

The point I want to make is about the importance of changing directions quickly.

The reason you want to change directions quickly when jumping is because you will jump higher if you do. When you change directions quickly, you are storing and releasing energy quickly.

In physics, elasticity is the physical property of a material that returns to its original shape after the stress (e.g. external forces), that made it deform, is removed. In volleyball, this is called using elastic power.

There are 3 phases to a jumping movement…

The first phase is the pre-stretch. During the pre-stretch, elastic energy is being stored in the muscles.

The second phase is the brief transition period from stretching to contracting. This is known as the amortization phase.

The third phase is the actual muscle contraction. It’s during this phase the stored energy is used. It’s important to use stored energy because you want to jump high and hit hard.

This 3 phase sequence is known as the stretch-shortening cycle.

Storing elastic energy isn’t just important for jumping. How well you perform any movement in volleyball is a matter of effectively storing and releasing energy.

Do you know the best way to prepare your body to make quick explosive movements in volleyball?

Or what about training your muscles to more efficiently store and release energy so you can move faster and jump higher?

Visit the following page for more information on the right way to warm up for explosive movements and training the nervous system for volleyball.


2. What I Have Learned this Year about Serving

As a coach, do you signal your servers where to serve?

Many coaches like to give players freedom when serving.

I agree, the best servers should have some freedom to decide on how and where to serve the ball.

But what if they aren’t ready to serve on their own?

As a coach, I think you can give them some direction and lead them towards making good decisions.

At lower levels, I believe it's important to interact with players because this will help them focus more and learn faster if the coach is involved in the learning process.

If your player’s aren’t willing to try to "serve tough" on their own, you've got to start somewhere.

I would first start with something basic like signaling zones. This is better than them just trying to get the ball in the court and being afraid of making a mistake.

As a coach signaling the server, your players will feel like they have some support and they'll focus harder because they know specifically what you expect of them.

As your players become more comfortable serving, you can work on things such as ball trajectory, making passers move backwards, forwards, serving the outside hitter, etc.

Once they start getting better, you can be more specific with them. Some will get to know what they are good at even better than the coach knows! When a player gets to this point, they can be let go to have more freedom.

A big part of successful coaching is getting players "more involved" in the game, which may result in the coach being "less involved" in the game.

Using zone serving strategies is a great way for players to become comfortable and build confidence when serving.

On the following page I discuss some important strategies for serving zones.

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