Summer is a great time to relax and recharge after a busy school year, but in Vermont, it’s also the best time to be outside! Staying active this summer will help players with their transition onto the court in August. If you’re not sure what to do this summer or where to start, here are some ideas!
Play volleyball as often as you can! Set up a court in the grass or play in the sand. Play doubles and get aced 17 points in a row. Play with people who have been playing longer than you’ve been alive. Play on a Men’s height net. Play with your great aunt Bernice and little cousin Kevin on a sagging net at a family picnic. These situations may be less than ideal, intimidating, and totally different than what you can expect playing sixes in a gym, but they all have the potential to make you a better volleyball player. As sluggish as the sand can make you feel, it will help with your endurance and agility. Playing doubles will benefit your reaction time and ability to read your opponents. Playing on nets that are higher will help you play a more calculated game, and playing on a lower net will help you understand the mechanics of an aggressive swing. Plus, all of these types of volleyball are really fun!
You can check out the Where to Play page to find out when and where there is scheduled volleyball in the area. Don’t be afraid to text your friends or Great Aunt Bernice to join or to find another time to play. The biggest mistake you can make this summer is to let a fear of making mistakes keep you from playing.
Outdoor games have been known to get rained out every once in a while during Vermont summers. If the rain is keeping you indoors (or if we have heat indexes in the triple digits again!), try swapping some of the time you’d spend watching tv or scrolling through social media for watching some volleyball instead. YouTube some high school, college, or Olympic championship matches. Pick a player and watch how she plays in every rotation. Watch her defense. Watch her approach–is she going even when she wasn’t set? What do her transitions look like?
Unlike sports like soccer, football, basketball, or hockey, there aren’t many opportunities for volleyball players to see a lot of volleyball. We will watch our teammates or maybe the JV game, but our exposure to the sport in Vermont is pretty limited. Watching sports matches, especially those performed by elite athletes, can help develop your own skills as a player.
Doing activities like cross-training, weight-lifting, or body weight workouts can help improve your endurance, speed, and vertical jump while also reducing your risk of injury. I will be posting workouts and movements you can try this summer. Remember that when doing any sort of training, you don’t want to push yourself too hard or too fast. Overtraining can quickly cause new injuries or exacerbate old ones. You wouldn’t go out and to run a marathon without building up to it first!
So much of volleyball is muscle memory. A good serve starts with a consistent toss, an incredible dig is possible because your body knows how to transition from your base position for a hit, and a kill comes from the power and placement of an approach. Set up cones in your driveway, move the coffee table in your living room, or go to the sand courts when you think it’ll be quiet and practice, practice, practice your transitions and approaches. Make it into a cardio workout by doing transitions for a certain amount of time (30-60 seconds is plenty–there are very few rallies that will extend beyond that interval), resting, and going again. Make sure when you practice these, you are going through the full movements! Use your arms on your hitting approach, make sure you’re taking a cross step when you drop back for defense–how you practice is how you play!
If you have questions about any of the content covered here, please reach out to Jeanne for more information.