This one could be thought of as answering the question: How should I start working with someone brand new to volleyball?
The other day I got an email from my brother. His oldest daughter will be entering high school in the Fall and has apparently decided she’d like to go out for the school volleyball team come August. This isn’t necessarily a new thought for her, as I recall a volleyball being on her Christmas wish list a couple years back. Up to now, though, she’s concentrated on competitive swimming (and it sounds like that will probably continue). The timing of the decision is unfortunate. Had it come a few months earlier she could have played 14-and-unders club volleyball this year. Oh, well.
My brother asked the school coach for some advice on preparing Darling Daughter ahead of her taking a shot at jumping on the volleyball train as a high school freshman. Apparently, it was suggested that she take part in a U15 developmental program being run by the local Juniors club I co-founded back in 2001. Glad to know the club maintains it’s reputation, even if I haven’t been involved with it since 2007!
I, of course, told my brother that sounds like a good idea. Naturally, summer camps are also an option, so long as they have a low level/beginner group and aren’t just experienced players.
Unfortunately, a camp or even a weekly series of training sessions will only go so far in preparing someone to try-out for a school team, never mind to get through August two-a-days! More time and more reps are really required to start to develop the foundational skills and the physical conditioning.
My brother played volleyball in high school himself, though baseball was his primary sport (in our state at the time, boys’ volleyball was a Fall sport while the girls played in the Spring). Naturally, I told him to get out in the backyard and pepper with his daughter to help work on her ball-handling skills and to get a net up so she could practice serving and passing and general game play.
On the physical side, my niece’s swimming background probably puts her in quite good stead in terms of shoulder and core strength. The issue for her will be the jumping and low posture movement and positioning in volleyball. My suggestion to my brother was to get his her doing a lot of good spike approach reps as a way to both develop the skill and to condition the legs. Of course, working on all the types of court movement footwork and patterns is a good idea, but we need to start somewhere.
What kind of advice would you give someone in this situation?