Over the past five years, USC's volleyball program has established itself as one of the best around, with back-to-back titles in 2002 and 2003, and a Final Four appearance last season. "If you're trying to be the best, but you don't train with the best, you'll never become the best," claims Southern Cal strength and conditioning coach Jamie Yanchar.
"At SC, everything is a competition, right down to our quickness and agility drills, which pair the players against some of the top talent in the nation at practice every day," adds Yanchar, who helped build two All-Americans last season.
Here, Yanchar provides some teammate-necessary, competitive cone drills, which the Women of Troy use at least twice a week to develop furious footwork. Practice them, and you'll ambush your opponents with stealth-like lateral and forward quicks on the court.
Setup: Place three cones in a triangle, all five yards apart, in two locations. Number both sets of cones 1 through 3.
Drill: Using one of the movements below, race a teammate through the following pattern, you beginning at one set of cones and your teammate at the other.
Start at Cone 1
Move to Cone 2
Move to Cone 3
Move back to Cone 1
Loser performs 10 to 20 pushups
Movements: Diagonal Sprint, Shuffle, Backpedal, Carioca
Adaptation 1: Vary movements from cone to cone. For example, quick shuffle from Cone 1 to Cone 2; diagonal sprint from Cone 2 to Cone 3; backpedal from Cone 3 to Cone 1.
Adaptation 2: Set cones up five yards apart in a straight line, or move cones closer together
To perform Adaptation 2, begin at middle cone. Move to right cone, then to left cone, then back to middle cone. Use the same coaching points as the triangle drill.
Adaptation 3: Perform drill alone, jotting down your time after each rep. Strive to beat it each workout.
Benefits: Changing footwork from cone to cone mimics the quick change-of-direction movements required to move fluidly from offensive to defensive positions in a game.
Coaching Corner: Stay low // Keep shoulders over toes, and chest, eyes and head up // Maintain body control // Bend knees, not waist, which keeps legs straight and slows you down // Focus on moving fast through drill, not worrying about cones
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