Women's Volleyball

The Importance Of Core Strength For Volleyball Players

February 26, 2020

The development of core strength is critical for a long career as a volleyball player. However, most people think core strength is about having an abdominal six-pack. Well, this is good, but toned abs do not equate to a strong core. Quite confusing!

So what exactly is the core? The core is a set of muscles that control and stabilize the spine and pelvis hence affect the movement and reaction of the upper body and legs. Therefore, core strength enables a volleyball player to maintain their body in the appropriate postures, unload the joints, and enhance easy body movement. Core strength goes beyond the abdominal musculature and includes rotational body parts such as obliques as well as the posterior – the upper back all the way down to the glutes and hamstrings.

Now that we have defined core strength, let’s get into why core strength is essential for volleyball players.

Promotes more efficient movement

The more a volleyball player builds their core strength, the stronger their body movements will be, specifically when their hands are not aligned to their body line. All body motions always ripple downwards and upwards to the adjoining parts. Having a strong core will improve the stability and balance of a volleyball player when they are receiving, landing, planting, or involved in any other movement. Inflexible or weak core muscles can affect the ability of a volleyball to move their arms and legs seamlessly.

Power and strength

Power and strength are integral for the optimal performance of a volleyball player. For instance, consider a hitter, when they are making an approach, they need to possess enough core strength to produce ample power in their legs to leap high enough and hit the ball. Volleyball athletes are only able to reach their best performance levels after strengthening their core muscles. During the game, core strength is crucial as it allows the player to transition their power more effectively from their lower body to the upper body and then hit the ball.

Prevents overuse injuries

Besides supporting recovery from acute injury and improving a player’s resiliency, good core strength can prevent overuse injuries. Specifically, a stable and strong core is very important to volleyball players as it helps to protect them from injuring their spine.

Volleyball is an intense sport with various movements involved such as jumping, receiving, cutting, landing, and planting. A volleyball player’s body is likely to take a beating. The tendons, muscles, and ligaments around the joints shield a player from injury, however, the strain of volleyball movements can cause the joints to weaken temporarily. Without enough core strength and adequate recovery times, players are likely to get injured as they play more games. Patellofemoral syndrome, back pain, shin splints, and shoulder impingements are just some of the injuries a volleyball player can experience. To reduce the chances of such injuries occurring volleyball players need to develop core strength. They need to maintain a sturdy core, which is crucial in preventing injuries, especially back injuries which many volleyball players are prone to.

In summary, a volleyball athlete has to strengthen their core to fulfill their desire to play at the highest level for a long time. Core strength facilitates efficient movement, prevents injuries, and improves athlete performance by providing agility, strength, and power. Also, in case a volleyball player is injured, their rehabilitation is much faster if they have enough core strength.

Lastly, there are hundreds of core exercise programs out there that are directed to players who want to improve their core strength. But, players cannot do them all, and not all are suitable for their unique circumstances. Therefore, it is advisable to consult an expert to create or recommend a program that aligns with your needs and daily training program.

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Get More Confidence in Volleyball

If you want to feel more confident in Volleyball then it takes more than just “having a confident mindset”. Self-belief is useful, but self-belief needs to have a foundation in something, otherwise, it will be shattered quickly.

A good coach builds confidence that comes from facts and knowledge that the person has trained hard and has the skills to win. This is something that each player needs to build individually, and that the team as a whole also needs to form through trust and through time in front of the net together. To do this there are a number of excellent options for volleyball equipment for training.

Time and Skill Build Confidence

Sports psychology is a difficult thing. Some athletes have a good attitude towards competition and cope well under pressure without needing to be taught how to manage it. Others struggle more and need some guidance along the way. Techniques that can be used to help people include:

  • Visualization (for example practicing imagining the perfect serve)
  • Solo drills
  • Warmup matches against ‘easy’ teams to build confidence
  • GPP training to improve overall fitness
  • Team chants and mantras to ‘condition’ the team into a certain mindset

It is all to easy to get distracted when you are training, and to focus on finding the next great thing instead of building skills where it matters. This is wasteful and can backfire. You might see athletes on reality TV shows running backwards on a treadmill while wearing a snorkel, or hanging from odd-looking contraptions to improve flexibility. You might hear about Orange Theory, Crossfit, and other fitness protocols. These are good for getting it, and it is true that being fit is useful, but they won’t directly help volleyball.

A good coach, and a sensible athlete, knows that it is important to avoid burnout and excessive repetitive motion, but at the same time it is important to practice skills that directly relate to volleyball. That means footwork on the same surfaces that you play on (sand is not the same as a court, and can greatly strip a person’s mobility), and hand-eye co-ordination drills should be a key part of training. Use these for warmups and for a significant portion of your day to day training, then get the player out there playing actual games so that the team can form a cohesive unit.

When a player can see that their training is paying off and that they are improving, it makes all the difference to their mindset. It’s easier to go into a big game confident in your skills when you are applying them every day in practice.

Rebuilding Confidence after a Tough Game

Coming back after a loss is hard. A good athlete will video their matches and will use that to help them improve. Looking back over a loss can help to flag up things like poor positioning or slow responses, so that you can say “OK, we need to work on you returning to your spot more quickly” or “We should do some return drills”. It’s easier to not dwell on a loss when you know that you have taken steps to correct it.

Volleyball is a tough sport. You don’t have a lot of time to think and you need to react fast. You have to rely on your team mates and it takes time for everyone to gel together as a team so that they know what to expect and who will move where at any given moment in time. Once that familiarity and trust is there, confidence comes quickly.

The job of the coach is to be constructive with criticism and to nurture people to build their skills and build real confidence, not cockiness or arrogance.

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Some Of The Keys To Making A Smooth Transition From High School To Club Volleyball

February 25, 2020

If you are looking to make a successful transition from high school to club volleyball, you are not alone. Anyone that has played both likely knows how difficult the transition can be. After all, you have to go from one team to a completely different one. Luckily, there are key things that you can do to make the transition a lot easier. Below, we will be going over some of the top keys that you should be using in order to make a smooth and successful transition. One great way to get inspired to watch pro and club volleyball games online, instagram, facebook and TV. Check your local DSTV packages and listings for games that might be showing.

Keys To Making A Smooth Transition:

Adapt

One of the key things that you should be looking to do is be more adaptable. You need to be able to really learn how to adapt to new coaches, new schemes, and new teammates. This is the only way you will be able to achieve success on two different teams. By making yourself much more willing and able to adapt to different coaches and teams, you will give yourself a better chance to make the proper adjustments that are needed.

Make An Effort

When you are looking to transition from a high school team to a club team, you will need to focus on making an effort to get to know your teammates and learn more about them. When you are just coming off of a high school season, you will likely have very little (if any) relationships with your club teammates. Because you will have brand new teammates, you should look to become much more familiar with everyone playing style to better understand them and to learn their playing style. Without knowing their unique playing styles, things they like, and what they don’t like, you will be unable to adapt your own playing style to best suit your team. You can do this in a variety of ways. Whether you are playing with them after practice, going to hang out at their house, or doing something else. There are plenty of ways to make a concerted effort to get to know your teammates.

Figure Out Your Time

When you are looking to make a smooth transition, you want to get as organized as possible. Being organized with your time is key when you are looking to introduce a brand new schedule into the mix. With your high school season, you might have had a specific routine that you followed. You want to learn about the changes to your schedule and how you will adjust your time to accommodate them.

Set Goals

Whenever you are looking to better yourself or your play, you should be looking to set realistic goals for yourself. By setting a good amount of attainable goals, it should give you the drive that you need to achieve them. Ideally, you want to set both individual and team-related goals to give yourself the motivation needed to accomplish them.

Be Ready For More Commitment

As mentioned, the amount of time that it takes to join and be active on a club team is going to be very different from a high school team. Because of this, you will want to be ready to take on the added commitment that comes with it. Not only will you be traveling more, but you will have a lot more matches and more practice time to go along with it.

Overall, there are plenty of things that you should be doing in order to make a successful transition from high school volleyball to club volleyball. By following the many tips above, you should be able to make the transition as seamless and as smooth as possible.

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