By Scott Mackar
Whether you're stuffing an opponent's kill attempt or slamming a thunderous one in her face, being able to explode off the floor and above the net quickly and efficiently is crucial.
"You not only have to react quickly, but jump quickly with that reaction," explains Matt Delancey, strength and conditioning coach for the Florida Gators women's volleyball team, which has finished in the Top 10 11 out of the last 15 seasons. "Being able to get off the ground quickly to block an attack is big. And, for outside hitters, it's also important that she can hit an open seam or line."
If you're looking to dominate your opponent with a jaw-dropping vert, try Delancey's Hurdle Hops to Box Jump Drill.
Place three eight-inch micro-hurdles 18 inches apart
Place plyo box three and a half feet from last hurdle
Right behind plyo box, place another box half the size of first one to step down to
In athletic stance, hop over Hurdle 1 using quick arms and feet
Use same technique to get over Hurdles 2 and 3
Explode onto plyo box using full arm extension
Step down to second box
Perform 4 reps with 3:1 rest time
Stand laterally to Hurdle 1
Hop over Hurdle 1 making 180-degree turn
Perform 180-degree turns over Hurdles 2 and 3
Make 90-degree jump onto box so you land facing forward
The Payoff: Adding the twisting movements forces you to be an athlete. The more awkward the skill in your jump training, the easier it is to land something you do all the time.
Micro-hurdle hops: Use quick arms and quick feet. As soon as you hit the ground, explode over the next hurdle. To help load each jump over the hurdles, keep your arms bent 90 degrees.
Box jump: The height of the box depends on the athlete; she should land on it at the peak of her jump. After you explode over the third hurdle, straighten your arms completely, because to jump high you need long, fast, powerful arms. The lowest you should ever land on the box is parallel. Never land butt to heel; that places too much pressure on your meniscus.
Coming off the box: Set up the half-size box so you don't land on the ground from peak jumping height. When a female athlete lands on the ground, it's five to seven times her body weight and impact force, which aids in accumulation damage.
Variation: Perform the basic drill with perfect technique before adding turns. You want to keep quick arms and feet when hopping over the hurdles with the twists.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock