If you are looking to join a better volleyball team, then one of the best ways to do so is to sign up for tryouts organized periodically by these teams …
However, you need to be prepared to demonstrate that you are the player that they are looking for!
Most players focus mostly on sharpening their volleyball skills, which is obviously a great thing to do. However, they tend to miss how crucial it is to be actually in shape for those tryouts. Otherwise, they won’t be able to showcase their skills properly.
In this short article, I breakdown the best ways I know to be in a great shape for volleyball tryouts as quickly as possible.
When should you start getting in shape for volleyball tryouts?
There is no hard and fast rule which says the ideal time to prepare for volleyball tryouts. It depends on the individual and their underlying fitness …
For example, somebody who keeps themselves in good shape may just need a few days to hone their muscles they will specifically need for volleyball.
However, somebody who has been inactive and leading a sedentary life will need a lot longer.
While there are many health benefits, associated with physical exercise, there are also risks as well, especially for those who have high blood pressure, are overweight, or have elevated cholesterol level.
Anybody who has any concerns should probably consult a medical professional before committing themselves to any sort or regular exercise program.
And even those who have no such concerns should start slowly before gradually building up their fitness regime …
That means beginning with a good aerobic exercise like jogging, swimming, or cycling, and then, as fitness levels increase, heading into the gym for more intense work-outs, including sessions in the weight room.
Basically, there are no shortcuts … While intense routines like CrossFit and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) may seem like a way to achieve greater fitness faster, they can prove to be risky for those who are not already in some sort of condition, and, for the unprepared, carry with them the chance of injury, forcing them to miss the tryout anyway.
Quick Recommendation: If you have time for your next volleyball tryout, then I highly invite you to check this easy to read book that will give you ideas on getting in shape as quickly as your body will allow you to.
Most important fitness attributes for tryouts …
The constant jumping and quick movements involved in volleyball usually place a strain on the legs, and will test aerobic stamina. Players require strong shoulders and arms to generate the power and the action needed to drive the ball with speed and accuracy.
Physical fitness also helps with the flexibility and agility required to get around the court and dig out balls headed for the ground.
Volleyball players also need above average jumping ability!
Strong vertical leaps enable them to get above the net to spike the ball and also to execute blocks on the other side of the net. And jumping also helps with serving because it can create more power when striking the ball.
While compared to athletes in other sports, volleyball players do not move very much, because they are standing in the same small area of the court, they still need to possess exceptional quickness and the ability to react almost instantly.
They must be able to make short, explosive movements, and have sharp reflexes. Not only to dig balls off the court, but also to transition from offence to defense as fast as possible.
Body shape is also important. Volleyball players tend to be tall and lean. Being smaller does not preclude people from playing the game – positions like libero, for example, are often filled by shorter players – being taller than average definitely helps.
Even for shorter players, there are some exercises that they can do which can help make them taller or at least improve their posture, which can have much the same effect.
The physical attributes that need to be improved for volleyball tryouts
One of the key attributes for any volleyball player is Coordination and ankle mobility.
Coordination is when the body and mind communicate to make the right move in the shortest time possible. While ankle mobility is key because of the high incidence of injuries suffered by players around this area of the foot.
Heel lifts are one effective way to improve both, and involve somebody standing still and lifting their heels up and down repeatedly…
Ankle jumps are another recommended exercise, and again should be repeated constantly to ensure maximum benefits.
The ability to jump higher and fast is also another facet that all successful players need and this can be practiced via squat jumps. This should be done by bending at the hips and dropping into a half squat position, taking the arms backwards. Then drive the arms upwards and forwards, jumping up in an explosive manner. Land with the knees bent to absorb the impact.
Quick Tip: To have a little edge when jumping in volleyball, it is very important to use proper volleyball shoes with a slighly higher heels. Indeed, they’ve got the necessary grip and cushionning that won’t only promote higher jumps, but also a safe landing. For example, these quality volleyball shoes have got a solid grip that you can rely on.
Volleyball is a game where players stand still but then must make quick sudden movements to either side. One good way to practice this is the side lunge, which involves lunging to the left and the right, moving the hips and stooping into a squatting position. Hold the position and then use power to return to the starting place. The head should be held straight in line with the spine.
A medicine ball is a useful piece of equipment for strengthening key attributes. For example, in order to strengthen the core, as well as key muscles like the glutes, hold the ball at chest height, breathe out whilst rotating the ball from left to right, pivoting on the opposite foot and lifting the ball over the head.
It can also be used to improve reaction speeds by standing in front of a wall, and then driving the ball at chest height into the wall, at such velocity that the rebound needs to be fielded.
What if you have little time to prepare for volley tryouts?
Trying to take shortcuts and over exerting the body will not work. Not only will it fail to deliver the desired effects in terms of fitness, but people put themselves at risk of injury or even illnesses, like cardio-vascular diseases, if they try an intense workout without proper preparation.
Instead, it is better to try and improve general fitness levels by walking as much as possible and undertaking aerobic exercises like swimming and cycling.
Even those who leave sedentary lives or do not have a great deal of space to exercise in can walk around their apartments and make short trips on foot rather than take the car or bus.
Basic exercises like push-ups and squats can be done at home, without the need of specialist equipment or having to be performed In a gym.
And, even in a few days it is possible to improve the diet. Try and eliminate fast food and sweet, fatty things, choose fish, and stop drinking alcohol, replacing it with water and healthy juice. All successful athletes know the benefits of being properly well hydrated.
I highly invite you to check these practical tips to prepare for volleyball tryouts in ONE DAY!
Will training in the gym help?
Training in a gym will certainly help get somebody fit for a volleyball tryout, although experts’ advice avoiding concentrated exercise programmes like CrossFit, because they fail to train the specific muscles needed for volleyball and, due to their high intensity, they increase the likelihood of injury.
Instead, a regime in the gym which incorporates weight training is far more preferable. If practised right this can help develop strength, power, and muscular endurance (hypertrophy) all of which are key attributes in any player.
Strength is developed because the intensity of weight training is high; people put on the maximum effort punctuated by recovery periods between exercises.
Power can also be enhanced, especially when lifting lighter loads at maximum speed.
And muscular endurance is improved by the sheer fact of lifting weights with numerous repetitions, with short rest periods in-between (You can learn more on how to gain stamina for volleyball)
One common mistake that is often made by beginners is to try and lift too much weight initially. This is just a short-cut to injury, the last thing somebody attempting to get in shape for a try-out needs. Instead, start slowly and build-up gradually. Seek advice from a qualified instructor if possible, who can also provide guidance on appropriate weight lifting techniques.
Quick Tip: Remember weight training for volleyball is more about how quickly weight can be lifted repetitively, not how much is on the bar.
Common mistakes while getting in shape for volley try-outs …
One common error is to believe that long, slow cardio exercise such as running or cycling will get somebody in better shape than more intense, shorter-work-outs.
This is because, due to the high intensity of the workout, the body’s metabolism can stay elevated for up to 24 hours afterwards. More calories are burned and the fitness level is elevated.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is recommended instead, it helps raising the heart rate close to its maximum, followed by periods of rest briefly before repeating the cycle. For example, sprinting for a short period of time is more beneficial than jogging for much longer.
However, probably the biggest mistake that people make when preparing for try-outs is to exercise too much beforehand.
If somebody is out of shape, no matter how intense is the training before the trial, there is no way they can close the fitness gap in time. In fact, they could be just putting themselves at risk by suddenly putting an unexpected strain on the body.
At the same time, even fit athletes should not do too much, and leave themselves deprived of energy for the tryout itself. Players that are fatigued before they start are not only more prone to injury, but they are unlikely to be able to perform at their best in front of a prospective new coach.
Final Thoughts …
Keep in mind that most players fail their first tryout (even couple of first tryouts). Indeed, being selected in your first even tryout is mostly an exception …
That’s why, even you first your first couple one, and don’t forget that this is just normal. However, use that as a learning experience to help you in the next one.
Finally, I highly invite you to learn more about what volleyball coaches are looking for during tryouts! Indeed, most amateurs don’t know about that …