By Chad Zimmerman
Using your vert at the right place and time is just as important as the height of your hops. Laura Pilakowski, strength and conditioning coach for the Nebraska women's volleyball team, explains: "For volleyball, the big thing is getting your feet to the ball, not just how high you can jump. A lot of times athletes jump when they're behind the ball, so they end up broad-jumping to it. Other times, they jump in front of the ball."
Pilakowski, who as a Husker earned two AVCA All-American awards and was named 2003 Big 12 Female Sportsperson of the Year, combines her experiences as a standout athlete with her knowledge as a strength coach to boost her athletes verts and teach how to apply them in game situations.
"I have our athletes do approach jumps to a basketball rim," she says. "Having a target to reach helps them judge if they're behind the ball or if the ball is behind them. After we do box jumps and plyometric drills, we split into groups and do approach jumps. Jumping to a target is really good for volleyball."
Try 3 sets of 5 jumps using a step-close approach. Then do 3 sets of 5 jumps using a full approach.
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