By Chad Zimmerman
Volleyball is a game of quickness and reaction, and USC's nationally ranked women's team knows this better than most. "We want to be as quick as possible with our first three steps," says Jamie Yanchar, strength coach for the ladies of Troy. "Our main thing is improving how quickly we can react and how much ground we can cover with those three steps."
With this training priority in mind, Yanchar spends much of his time working his athletes' change of direction skills and foot speed, rather than all-out sprinting. Try his tic-tac-toe-patterned agility drill twice a week and see how quick you can get your first three steps.
Place four three-foot strips of tape on floor in tic-tac-toe pattern (see diagram)
Move from square to square, according to called pattern
DO NOT step on tape
Repeat pattern for 6-7 seconds
Rest for 6-7 seconds; repeat
Perform 10 patterns per training session
Side-to-side: Jump side-to-side off both feet over one or two lines
Front-to-back: Jump forward and backward off both feet over one or two lines
Scissors: Place right foot in 4 and left foot in 1; jump and switch foot placement; repeat
2-1-2: Place left foot in 1 and right foot in 3; jump forward and land feet together in 5; jump forward again and land with left foot in 7, right foot in 9; repeat pattern moving backward to start
1-2-1: Start with feet together in 2; jump forward and land with left foot in 4, right foot in 6; jump forward and land with feet together in 8; repeat pattern moving backward to start
Hourglass: Jump repeatedly off both feet from 3 to 5 to 9 to 7 to 5 to 1 to 3
Square (four- or nine-square pattern): Jump repeatedly off both feet from 1 to 4 to 5 to 2; or from 1 to 7 to 9 to 3
2-right-2: Same as 2-1-2, but land with right foot in 5
2-left-2: Same as 2-1-2, but land with left foot in 5
X: Start with feet together in 5, jump forward, landing with right foot in 9, left foot in 1; jump and land with feet together in 5; jump and land with right foot in 3, left foot in 7; jump and land with feet together in 5; repeat pattern. Keep hips and shoulders square throughout the drill.
X (open hips): Same as X, but rotate and open hips with each jump
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