Staying injury-free this season is a top priority for every volleyball player, but it can be difficult with the physical demands of the sport.
The following tips will help players stay healthy and active throughout the season.
November 8th, 2021
How-to Stay injury-free
First and foremost, you should acquire a solid foundation of strength and endurance that is well-proportioned to what you intend to expose your body to. Think of the body as your dream house you intend to build. If you neglect the foundation, the house will be crooked and windy, problems arise, and like a house of cards, it can collapse when it blows a little too hard.
Train wisely, controlled and functional! Do a requirements analysis and find out your weaknesses and imbalances in terms of mobility, strength, and function, and train these to reduce the risk of injury. I usually say that of the beach volleyball players who seek my help, 99% have problems with the right shoulder, the rest left.
It is, of course, a playful truth with modification. There are other areas of injury, but just like in other overhead sports, the percussion arm is heavily loaded with imbalances.
If we train our shoulder blade stabilizers and the shoulder’s mobility, we reduce the risk of impingement (which is perhaps the most common in our sport) and have a much better starting point for a correct, painless and explosive arm pull.
Another important part that is often neglected is the control of deep abdominal muscles. This is our power center, and from here, we get the most power for the entire musculoskeletal system, which we can benefit from in terms of explosiveness and strength in both defense and jumps, and attacks.
Another accident-prone area is the knees. Strengthen the muscles around the knee joint and keep a close eye on the Vastus Medialis (the inner part of the front thigh muscle, the “bag”), which is not uncommon for a weak link in an unbalanced knee. You may want to invest in a high quality Knee pads as well.
2. Stretching and Mobility
You know how it feels to move in too tight clothes without stretch – not easy! The same goes for muscles and joints. Injuries occur primarily in the outer positions where muscles and joints are most sensitive. Therefore, it provides good mobility in muscles and leads us to more margin of safety to move around without suffering injuries. Always work with mobility. At the gym, at home, at work/school, and before the beach session as part of the warm-up.
And just that, heating yes! Muscles and joints feel good from circulation – they become more elastic, mobile and withstand the strain and pull better.
For the beach volleyball player, mobility in some areas is more important than others, so if you have to prioritize your training. Here are some insider tips; Focus especially on the rotation in the thoracic spine so that you can get around with the torso properly in attack and serve and thus avoid unnecessary strain on the shoulder joint.
The mobility of the shoulders is almost always limited in mainly inward rotation in the percussion arm, and to avoid injuries, and it is good to work on it continuously. But flexion is also important for you to perform an optimal arm pull with Maximum attack height. The third area that I would focus on is the hip extension to push the hip forward properly in the jump.
Injuries occur when we hit the ceiling, i.e., train too hard for what our bodies can handle. Where exactly your roof depends on several different factors and is also different from day today. Maybe you have felt the difference between exercising on a Thursday night immediately after work with a short night’s sleep and not having dinner in your luggage compared to a Sunday when you are rested and able to eat breakfast in peace?
Good physique, mobility, and warm-up create good conditions for you to succeed without hitting the ceiling. Still, other factors such as age, genetics, sleep, recovery, diet and fluid intake, infections and stress, etc., also play an important role. We can not influence everything, but the most important thing is to listen to the body!
Keeping track of your resting heart rate is a great way to see what your daily routine is like. If you have slept badly, had an infection in your body, or trained very intensively lately, then maybe you should take it a little calmer during training.
The recovery is super important and perhaps our biggest challenge in elite sports, where it is mainly what is in short supply. Also remember that work or exam study does not count as recovery.
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