7 Youth Volleyball Exercises
Important Movement Patterns for Athletes

When we see a player pass, set, and hit we often underestimate the importance of general athletic skills.

General athletic skills often go unnoticed.

  • deceleration 
  • hand-eye coordination
  • visual acuity
  • fine motor control
  • depth perception
  • balance
  • strength
  • power
  • coordination

Without these general athletic skills, the player wouldn't display the perfect volleyball technique.

And these skills need to be developed at a young age...

Are kids less active these days?

What's makes matters worse is the fact that most young athletes these days have no clue how to perform basic movements such as jumping jacks and bear crawls. 

Some don't even know how to skip!

Why is this so?

Some likely reasons...

  • Kids aren't as active as they used to be. Kids these days sit more. And their diet is worse. They play less and have more stress. 
  • Many schools are reducing or cutting out PE. Kids aren't active enough in gym class. Often kids sit around learning about the rules of a sport and taking tests on it, but never really participate.
  • Sport Specialization. They started playing one sport early-on and have been convinced that specialization is the way to go.

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Exercises for Youth Volleyball

The Solution

Teach kids how to move and play. We have to get kids moving.

They need to learn how to feel and understand their body.

Coaches need to focus on teaching "technique" and skill development. Teach general skills such as deceleration, acceleration and force production along with specific movement skills such as squats and lunges.

Coaches should focus on 'how' certain skills are done and 'why' they are done that way. 

The following are sample workouts for youth athletes.

(12 and under) Sample Workout Day 1

1) Single-leg bridge 3 sets, 6 per leg

2) single-leg posterior reach 3 sets, 6 per leg

3) Hip circuits 2 sets, 5 per exercise

4) Front Squat Technique 5 minutes

5) Medicine ball squat to drive 8 sets, 5 reps

6) Hand walk circuits with push ups 4 sets

(14+) Sample Workout Day 1

1) Hip circuit 3 sets, 5 reps per movement

2) Static Active Hamstring 3 sets, 5 second holds

3) side raises 3 sets, 8 reps per side

4) Power skips X 3

5) Lunge walks X 3

6) RDL 3 sets, 5 reps

7) Push press 3 sets, 5 reps

8) Horizontal pull ups 3 sets, 10 reps

Bent Over Row

Youth Volleyball Exercise Techniques

If you're new to training for volleyball, don't get intimidated. This doesn't have to be complex. Just focus on the basic movement patterns with light loads or just body weight.

The following are the 7 basic posture and movement positions young volleyball players need to focus on.

1. Squat Variations

"If you don't have squats in your program, then you don't have a program."

- Donald Chu PH.D. PT, ATC, CSCS, NSCA-CPT 

Youth Exercises...

Anterior reaches, front squat no weight, medicine ball squat drive, and medicine ball squat to throw.

My Favorite Medicine Ball

2. Hinging

A hip hinge is when you sit back into the hips with minimal knee bend. You want  to have a strong glute contraction at the finish. 

In order to hinge properly, you must break at the hips first, not the knees, as you sit down and back.

Barbell Back Squat

The hip hinge doesn't have to be performed from a standing position.

The hip thrust is an alternative exercise. The hip thrust is essentially a supine hinge that allows you to work against gravity.

Youth Exercises...

Glute Bridges, side raises, single-leg-bridge, hip thrusts, hip circuit, and crab walks.

3. Pressing (horizontal and vertical)


Push Ups

Youth Exercises...

Push up, wheel barrels, hand walks, bear crawl, and medicine ball overhead squat.

4. Pulling (horizontal and vertical)

A lot of training programs out there create anterior dominate athletes.  Anterior dominate exercises place too much focus on muscles on on the front part of the body. Mainly the pecs, abs, and biceps.  Anterior dominate programs disregard the muscles that actually play a role in performance and optimal posture. Glutes, hamstrings, and rest of the backside are critical for sports performance. 

Pulling exercises such as dumbbell rows and inverted rows are especially important for volleyball players because shoulder strength is important for performance and injury prevention.

Youth volleyball exercises pulling exercises to strength shoulders

Bent Over Rows

Youth Exercises...

Single leg tug of war, bent over rows, axe choppers, upswings, monkey bar movements holds retractions, and inverted barbell rows.

5. Spit-Stance

Youth volleyball exercises lunges for leg strength

Youth Exercises...

Single leg touch, stop and go, scramble to balance, static-active hamstring, body weight Bulgarian split squat, lunges, and side lunges.

6. Single-leg

Youth Exercises...

Reverse lunge drive, one-leg deadlift no weight, and body weight single-leg squats.

7. Core/Trunk stability

Core/Trunk stability

Youth Exercises...

Low crab walk to table top, plank, dive bomber, med ball seated rotations, med ball figure 8, and bicycles.

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