Tag Archive for fitness

Player endurance during tournaments

Here’s an interesting question I saw posted in a discussion group.

Q: In tournaments endurance is critical. Please send answers for the following 3 areas:
1) building endurance?
2) nutrition/best foods: pre, during, after
3) other things to do: stretches, massage, mind/mental stuff?

Let me address each component.

Building endurance

The physical side of this question is actually one that might be pretty unique in sports. In most cases I’d venture to say that team practices last longer than tournament matches. Let’s use Juniors in the US as an example. Club teams probably have something like 2-hour long practices as the norm. When they play in tournaments, though, they generally last less than an hour. In fact, it’s probably only about 45 minutes in most cases.

What about the case of college teams playing two best-of-5 matches per day during early season tournaments? Well, in that case we’re talking mainly about teams that have been doing 2-a-days for some period of time up to that point.

This being the case, I would suggest no additional “endurance” training is necessary. If you have a sufficiently high training tempo then the players should be more than reading for the tournament physical demands.

Nutrition and hydration

To my mind this is probably the most impactful area to focus on. If you want your players to perform at their best throughout an event they need to have the necessary energy reserves and access and must be properly hydrated. This starts the day before the event and carries through it. Aside from what players take in there is also the question of when.

I am not a nutritionist or any kind of expert on this subject. I’ve been in seminars on the subject, though. There are different things to consider here, depending on your circumstances. My recommendation to you is to sit down with someone qualified to speak about your specific situation. That way you have the most relevant information to pass along to players (and parents) and for your own planning purposes.

The other stuff

For me the other big thing is recovery. That means getting enough rest between matches – and in the case of multi-day events, sleep. You don’t want your players needlessly burning energy (kind of like my thoughts about match day serve & pass). Keep in mind, though, that the mental side of things is just as important as the physical. If you have the team doing stuff like scouting or other brain work, it could be just as draining as doing something physical, if not more so.

As for things like stretching, massage, etc. I think there’s probably a situational element. These are definitely much more meaningful considerations for older, more advanced athletes. Again, I’m not expert. I will defer to a trainer, a physiotherapist, or someone like that. I think, though, that time between matches matter. You probably don’t want to do something that will relax the muscles too much if there isn’t much time before you play again. And obviously if there’s an injury situation with a player there are probably things they’ve been advised to do, or not do.

Need more coach fitness!

Wow! It’s been a rough week or so on the old body.

Last week while working with the TV Bühl guys I stepped backward onto an unseen ball on the ground. The resulting fall involved a mildly sprained ankle and some wrist damage. The ankle was mostly back to normal within 24 hours despite not going the RICE route (just worked it around a bit). The wrist was quite painful the first 24 hours. That did quickly abate, but there remain some persistent issues. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time I’ve had wrist problems. Hopefully, it clears up soon.

Getting to Svedala shifted the focus from injury to fitness. The place the club has secured for me, while more than adequate to my needs (or at least it will be once a few things get sorted out) is a bit outside of town – about a 20 minute walk to the main commercial area. Over the course of Sunday and Monday I spent about 2.5 hours in total walking for one reason or another. I walked everywhere while living in Exeter, but I was pretty centrally located then. The trips were frequent, and often involved hills, but they weren’t log. Even when I walked for exercise it was only in the 35 minute duration range.

So when I did a 1 hour round trip to go grocery shopping on Sunday, and then later had to walk to meet up with the three American players in the team for some pre-start discussions, I felt it.

The club has since provided me with a bike, which will definitely be handy for things like shopping and going to the train station (which is on opposite side of tow n from me). For the time being, though, I’m planning on sticking mainly to walking for the extra exercise. I could do with a major improvement to my overall fitness!

Pretty soon the exercise will also include trips to the fitness club the team has access to in town. I’m looking forward to that. All the computer time the last few years has me rather softer than I’d like.

Volleyball coaches need their rest too

The value of sufficient rest hit home for me (again) to me not long ago. I coached a match and found I just wasn’t as tuned in and energetic as usual. I’m not saying I normally bounce around yelling and screaming and talking a mile-a-minute in the huddle. My court-side demeanor tends toward calm, though I do move around on the sideline a fair bit. I figured out a number of years back that coaching on my feet rather than sitting allowed me to work off nervous energy (or whatever) and lower my blood pressure. 🙂

During this match, though, My brain ran in slow motion. The players may not have noticed it that much. I still focused them on the sort of things I normally did. It’s something I felt myself, though. I definitely didn’t like the lack of sharpness and motivation.

In hindsight I can ascribe my mental fogginess most likely to lack of rest. The combination late nights and early mornings with a cold clearly took it out of me. It just goes to show that as much as we tell our players to make sure they take care of themselves in terms of rest, hydration, and eating right we have to do the same thing as coaches to be at the top of our game.