What do volleyball players and mimes have in common? They both perform in small spaces, so linear, long distance speed is not necessary. Volleyballers, however, must possess short bursts of speed in their restricted confines. (Mimes, not so much.) To recruit explosive movements in three to five steps, the University of Florida volleyball team engages in "chaos training."
V-ball strength and conditioning coach Matt DeLancey, who has helped the Gators win 17 consecutive SEC titles, explains: "The theory behind chaos training is whatever we do in training is [going to] be harder than what we see in competition. We want to become comfortable in an uncomfortable situation, and competition is an uncomfortable situation."
According to DeLancey, "Volleyball is a sport where [athletes are] going three to five steps in any direction," and he builds his drills accordingly. Below, he serves up a shuffle warm-up and a reaction drill to help you flow in the box and control the chaos.
• Facing right, start in quarter-squat position
• Start shuffling using right leg as lead leg
• After 10 yards, pivot 180-degrees so you're facing left with left leg in lead
• Continue shuffling another ten yards
Sets/Distance: 2x20 yards
Coaching Points: Keep hips back and chest in line with knees // Avoid getting feet too close together // Trail foot should come half the distance of stance while shuffling // Keep head and eyes up at all times
• Start in athletic stance facing coach on other side of net
• Upon coach's hand signal, either sprint forward, backpedal, shuffle left, shuffle right or perform a quick squat
• After every three to five steps, coach changes direction with hand signal
Sets/Reps/Rest: 2x30 seconds, with one-minute rest between sets
Coaching Points: React quickly to each signal // Use explosive bursts to cover as much ground as possible in three to five steps // Keep head level and up // Avoid popping chest up when sprinting forward or backpedaling // Trail foot should come half the distance of stance while shuffling
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