Premier Volleyball Academy Uses Strength Training for an Injury-Free Season

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Premier Volleyball Academy [Maumee, Ohio] is one of the top volleyball facilities and recruiting clubs in the country. Pretty impressive. Even more impressive, Premier has had only one non-contact injury in the past two years, and none during the 2011 season.

Owner and coach Jodi Schramm credits her low injury total to the strict workout regimen the girls follow and to the two-inch suspension wood surface they practice on, which offers shock absorption to reduce impact to joints.

When the athletes are 13, they are admitted into the performance program as beginners. At age 16, they progress to a mandatory training program. Schramm says, "When the weight and performance program was implemented eight years ago, injuries decreased 75 percent within a year."

One injury common in volleyball is ACL tears. Sean Hill, co-owner of Rehab United Physical Therapy and Sports Performance Center [San Diego], says, "Believe it or not, ACL tears most commonly happen in non-contact sports, because of a number of factors, which affect all athletes. They can come from lack of body control, tightness or flexibility limitations throughout the body."

Strength and conditioning coach Bryan Voss set up Premier's training model, and he is personally on hand for each session. To help athletes train properly and prevent injuries like ACL tears, the model incorporates dynamic warm-ups, resistance training, plyometric/jump training and speed/agility training, along with on-court practice and volleyball skill work each week. Voss says, "We train the ladies for volleyball-specific movements and strengthen those movements with resistance training. And [we do] movement drills and skills that mimic what they do on the volleyball court. We don't spend a lot of time doing distance running. We do most of our work very explosively and within a three- to four-step area, about the same as the volleyball court."

By following a set program—with a planned progression that moves through different phases, month to month and year to year—athletes can improve their performance and decrease risk of injury throughout the season, reaping rewards and benefits like those delivered at Premier Volleyball Academy.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock