The process of preparing, and I mean really truly fully preparing, your body and mind to strive to reach and overcome the absolute edge of your capability is an intensely intimate and focussed process.

Although facing this process should be the key objective before taking part in any training or competition it’s often overlooked or forgotten, as we discussed recently in our article The Biggest Missed Opportunity in Sport. Take a look!

When done well, preparing for performance can require a level of understanding and intimacy with your own body which can be difficult to enjoy, or even endure. A ruthless re-acquaintance with yourself, the limits you have, the physical problems you face, and the bottomless pit of possible options to help you improve. In this article, we outline some simple yet powerful exercises which, if used regularly, can help you to build a more intimate relationship with yourself, helping you to develop your ability to prepare and perform physically.
Physicality Underpins Performance - LQ
I’m not a volleyball coach. I work from the basics, and in my mind that begins here; Volleyball is a sequential sport. Your team receive a serve which first needs to be controlled (pass), then redistributed (set) before an attack can happen (spike). Sometimes the sequence changes or steps are shortened, but effectively these same things need to happen every time the ball crosses the net. If any of these steps breakdown the process becomes much more difficult to finish successfully.

Based on this, tactics in the game are built on techniques once they are mastered, and will be limited by techniques if they are flawed. However, I’d go one step further and suggest techniques in the game are built on physicality once its mastered, and will be limited by physically if it’s flawed.

By this I mean, imagine your movement around your shoulder is restricted. This makes it a struggle to raise your arms straight above overhead without changing posture in some way. A really common issue. It’s likely that when you’re hitting you will struggle with the same issues caused by your shoulder restriction, limiting your ability to hit hard or increasing your risk of injury, but most likely both.

If you buy into this idea, then it follows that you need to ensure you know as much as you can about the important joints you use in volleyball techniques.

  • How much range of motion do you have around these joints?
  • How controlled and stable are your volleyball joints?
  • What restrictions or limitations do you have?
  • How do these impact on your volleyball performance?
  • How do you improve?

These 4 exercises can help you to prepare 3 key joints required for competent movement in volleyball; the ankle, the hip and the shoulder.

The objective with all 4 of these exercises is to assess the controllable range you have around each of the 3 joints and the different way they work. By sticking to the rules and doing them in a repeatable way, you can check where each joint is at every time you train. This allows you to do 2 things;

  1. Build a picture of what is normal for you.
  2. Make tailored decisions based on where you are at compared to normal for you.

Understanding these 2 things gives you control over how you prepare yourself to get the most out of training and competition. This can inform the decisions that you make and allowing you to tailor the activities you do specifically to YOU.

Take the time to learn about yourself. Take control of your own development. It will help you become a better athlete and a better player!