As the school year ends and student-athletes look forward to a summer of sun, fun, and freedom, it’s important to remember to stay in shape and utilize some of your summer freedom to prep for the fall.
Many players join volleyball camps and clinics over the summer to prepare for their fall high school season, which is a great way to stay relevant and connect with friends and teammates. However, whether you plan on attending a camp or not, there are some volleyball-specific drills and workouts that coaches recommend you complete to give yourself the best chance at success.
5 Volleyball-Specific Workouts
Targeting the muscles and joints used most within volleyball is key to strength, growth, and injury prevention. The following 5 workouts can be done at home, with minimal equipment, and without a teammate.
1. Box or Stair Jumps
The key to an explosive attack in the front row is the ability to jump high and land safely. As you prepare for each leap, stand on both feet, knees bent and arms behind you, parallel to the ground. Swing your arms forward and thrust your body into the air, landing with both feet on a box or a second/third stair of your home. Step down, and repeat this ten times for three sets.
2. “V” Situps
Core strength is a key component to being strong on the court. Using a pillow, yoga mat, or pad underneath your tailbone, bring your legs and back up off the ground at the same time. Bend your knees, keep your neck straight, and bring your knees into your chest. Hold for one second, then lower your legs and back away from each other, towards the ground without touching the ground. Repeat. Complete 15 reps for 3 sets.
3. 10 Yard Sprints
While volleyball is not a distance sport, it is a sport of speed and endurance. Set up cones 10 yards apart, grab a stopwatch and sprint from cone A to cone B and back 3 times. Complete 5 sets of these while taking water breaks between.
4. Upper Body Band Work
Arm strength and range of motion are of the utmost importance to volleyball athletes. There are hundreds of workouts that can be done with a band. However, us volleyball coaches recommend:
Stand with your feet on the middle of the band while each hand holds an end; push up into the air over your head and back down slowly. Repeat 12 times for 3 sets.
Stand again on the middle of the band and grab the ends with both hands over your head behind your back. With elbows high, extend hands up, keeping elbows squeezed together. Repeat 12 times for 3 sets
Tie one end of the band to a doorknob. Take the other end in one hand and hold your arm as if it is in a sling. Position the resistance so that you rotate your forearm away from your body. Keep your elbow into your side. Repeat 12 times for 3 sets on each arm.
5. Single-leg Lunges
Balance and ligament and joint strength are imperative to injury prevention in volleyball as knee and ankle injuries are common. Start with feet together; shoulder-width apart. Step forward with one leg and dip the back knee down to within 2 inches of the ground. Use the front leg to burst back into a standing position. Complete 12 reps for three sets on each leg.
4 Volleyball Drills To Do At Home
Taking some time out of each day to work on your hand/eye coordination using a volleyball will help keep your athletic reflexes warm and your mind and body ready. These single-player drills and skills are not only fun but a great use of time during those long summer days!
1. Forearm Pass And Set To Yourself
An excellent warm-up drill. Grab a ball and toss it into the air, keep your arms stick straight and parallel to the ground and pass the ball in the air (min of 10 feet, max of 20). The goal for younger players is 25 in a row. For my college players, I give them a goal of 50. Do the same with setting to yourself. Once you hit your goal of 25 or 50 in a row, then combine them. Bump, set, bump, set, bump, set and hit your goal number that way.
2. Arm Swing And Ball Contact
Grab a ball and find a wall or a piece of plywood you can angle onto a sturdy object. Toss the ball high, position your body and swing down on the ball. If hit correctly, it will bounce on the ground, then against the wall, and back out towards you with enough height to reach and swing again. Try to focus on the ball’s direction, swing straight in front of you, reach high and swing down alongside your body. Don’t swing wildly at low or poorly angled balls. Just grab it and re-toss so that you do not risk injury. Continue until your arm is tired then rest.
3. The Undressed Ball
Grab a sweatshirt and put it on over your T-shirt. Take a volleyball, toss it high and attempt to remove your sweatshirt (one movement at a time) while keeping the ball in the air via forearm bumps or sets. This is hard, but fun and forces you to focus on passing or setting high and straight up into the air so that once you pull your arm or head out of your shirt, the ball will be falling right near you in time for you to bump it again!
4. Serving Aim
Get your ball and a brick wall. Mark a chalk point on the brick wall at 7’5″ for girls or 8′ for boys (to show the approx. height of the net). Stand back and mark 30 feet from the wall and serve your ball over the chalk marking to work on serving. You can also use these markings to work on jump and float serving types. Us coaches recommend aiming your serves to be within 1-5 feet above net height.
If you are serious about developing and thriving as an athlete on the volleyball court, completing these workouts and drills as often as possible during the summer leading up to your fall season will undoubtedly give you the head start needed to succeed. As coaches observe players coming back from summer break, we look for players who have taken their off-season training seriously. We want you to walk onto that court confidently, with a positive attitude, and hungry to be challenged. Now grab your volleyball, workout band, and a water bottle and get to work!