Penn State’s head strength and conditioning coach, Chip Harrison, oversees the staff who keeps the Nittany Lions women’s volleyball team in peak shape. Here are five quick conditioning tips from the man who helps produce one of the best teams in the nation.
1. At certain times during the year, conditioning should be your training priority, and it should be how you begin each training session. At other times, however, it’s not the most important thing and should take a backseat to things like technique work, jump training and strength training.
2. We start emphasizing the conditioning element around mid-May, and there’s a progressive increase in the amount of conditioning we do throughout the summer. We start relatively light, with some longer interval work, and as we get closer to the season, we increase our amount of work to raise our level of anaerobic conditioning.
3. 400 meters is probably the longest distance you need to sprint during an interval workout, and many of the sprints should be shorter. The workout should last between 20 and 30 minutes. You won’t be able to give it everything you have if you go over that. Also, if you do too much without enough recovery time, you could harm yourself by overtraining.
4. Spending a lot of time getting perfectly conditioned in December, January and February is unnecessary, because there’s too much time between then and September, when the season starts. During those winter months, prioritize jump training, strength training and technique for the problem areas you identified during the last season.
5. Combining jump or approach technique work with conditioning isn’t a good idea. As you become more tired from the conditioning, your technique will be less precise, meaning you won’t gain as much from the practice.