Volleyball Jump Training Tips

The ability to jump higher can be trained quickly with excellent results.

One of the quickest ways to get noticed on a volleyball court is through the ability to jump extremely high. Elevation allows them to hit over the heads of defenders, opens the floor for a multitude of angles, and creates the ability to reach over the net when blocking. This results in a much more dangerous offensive and defensive player overall. When recruiting a high school player, college coaches will always want to know what height that player can touch. 

THE FIVE PHASES OF VOLLEYBALL JUMP TRAINING:​

PHASE I- Preparatory / Structural, Postural

In order to jump efficiently, it is vital that a volleyball player be able to hold an athletic position, change direction, jump, and land with correct postural stability.  If the player cannot stabilize her body posture, she will not be able to maintain correct jumping mechanics throughout a match.  Postural stability and the mechanics of jumping need to be practiced daily in order to build perfection into elevating on the court.

Poor athletic posture leads to mechanical errors. Often volleyball players will find themselves struggling as the match goes on and won’t realize that its due to the inability to maintain proper mechanics as the body fatigues. 

Poor posture is usually a result of structural deviations, along with weakness and imbalances in spinal erectae, teres minor, teres major, latissimus dorsi, and other muscle and connective tissue along the posterior chain. 

Contrary to certain belief, athletic posture can be changed by doing a series of exercises that won’t take very long at all.

PHASE II- Balance / Landing / Control of large motor movement

Balance, stability and control of motor movement (both large and fine) are extremely important in developing athleticism and staying healthy.  It is of utmost importance that volleyball players properly progress through Phase II prior to beginning heavy jump training.  Far too often, coaches will have young players doing a variety of jumping exercises before they are even able to land correctly.  This can lead to many problems, including foot, ankle, knee, hip and back issues.  A volleyball player’s ability to control her actions and stabilize her body while competing in a match, must happen before she focuses all her attention on jumping ability.

The landing phase is a foundational part of jump training due to its importance in maintaining strength and avoiding injury.  Phase II consists of a variety of movements focused on balancing the body after landing.  These movements will often be multi-dimensional, multi-joint, and multi-planar so as to challenge kinesthetic awareness and body control.  These exercises will often be referred to as

PHASE III- Jump Conditioning

High school volleyball players should spend most their activities in the jump conditioning phase.  It’s the most basic level of jump training, and results in an initial increase in vertical and approach, further prepares the joints and connective tissues for landing and explosive movements, and aids in the repetition of correct functional mechanics.

Jump conditioning is great because it can be done just about anywhere. It works to improve jump mechanics and elevation, aids in power endurance (the ability to produce powerful movements for an extended period of time), and helps promote connective tissue and ligament strength. After an athlete has progressed through Phase III, she should still incorporate some of these exercises in a dynamic warm up. There are so many variations of exercises, that you are almost unlimited in what you can do.  The principles of Phase III are-  mid-level intensity, all directions, all dimensions, all planes, very low-level plyometric activity (hops, bounds, skips, etc..), full range of motion, create as much force as possible, single leg & double leg activity.

PHASE IV-Strength and Power Development

Developing the posterior chain (hips, hamstrings, lumbar erectae, thoracic erectae, glutes) is of the utmost importance to jumping ability.  Without the correct prescription of resistance training, a volleyball player will plateau and fail to reach her genetic potential.  A combination of explosive, lower body movements, core & rotary movements are vital to a properly programmed training regiment.

Volleyball players must engage in highly specific, progressive and structured strength training if they want to maximize their genetic potential. Far too often volleyball players perform strength based activities that do not reflect the nature of the sport, and thus don’t benefit the athlete’s performance. 

PHASE V- Shock Training (High Intensity Plyometrics)

The shock method of training was first formalized in Russia in the early 1960’s as a scientific training system by Dr. Yuri Verkoshanski.  He favored the term “shock method” to distinguish between naturally occurring plyometric actions in sport, and the specific training system he devised to develop speed-strength. 

            Plyometric action basically consists of stimulating the muscles by means of a sudden stretch preceding any concentric voluntary effort.  It is characterized by a reflexive action, referred to as stretch-shortening action, between the end of the eccentric braking phase, and the beginning of the concentric acceleration phase.  Defined by an amortization phase (change of direction) of less than .15 sec, plyometric activity has been shown to occur in virtually every competitive sport.

The Shock Method of training has been proven to be extremely effective in developing explosive power, speed and quickness.  This method is designed for athletes who have already spent a lot of time perfecting the movements in the first 4 phases.  High intensity plyometrics are very demanding on the nervous system, and should never be performed without proper technique, coaching and landing surfaces.