Bump, Set, Spike Vol. 2: The Ability for Agility

September 26, 2011
by Justin

On a hot September night, my coach walked into the room. Coach handed out the assignments and went over the bullet points once more. It was our first game and we were ready to explode. When we huddled up and broke for the game, our coach took a page out of a famous Hollywood script. We were all in the middle of the room when he screamed at the top of his lungs like Coach Boone, “WHAT ARE WE!?” Our eyes lit up, like kids on Christmas morning. “MOBILE… AGILE… HOSTILE!!!” All summer, our team had watched Remember the Titans like we were trying to scout our first opponent. We were going to need to be aggressive and have plenty of mobility, but most importantly, we had to be agile. Here are a few tips that will increase your ability for agility.

Step 1: Warm up and Stretch

How many times have you been clowning around during practice, when you are supposed to be warming up and stretching? That was rhetorical, but if you are a guilty party, I suggest you take stretching and warming up seriously. Whenever you start these workouts, be sure to take a lap or two to get your blood flowing.

Spend at least five minutes working up a sweat; after you get a good lather, break down and stretch. The stretches you should be doing are as follows:

Groin extensions-

This stretch is done with one leg out in front bent at a 90-degree angle. Your other leg should be back far enough for you to feel a slight pull in your groin area. Alternate legs and be sure to hold this stretch for at least 15 seconds.

Now move directly into an inner groin extension stretch. From the first groin extension, pivot your lead leg forward so that you can bend sideways, touching your chest to your lead leg while fully extending your other leg. Your outside leg should have the inner part of the ankle and foot on the ground. You should feel this stretch on the inside of your groin. Be sure to alternate legs and hold each stretch for 15 seconds.

These two sport-specific stretches, should be incorporated into your normal training routine. These two stretches loosen up your hips, improve your natural range of motion, and decrease the likelihood of pulling your groin. This is the opening step to putting yourself in a position to play at a championship level. This may seem similar to the monotonous way that you already practice, but warming up properly will increase the effectiveness of all of your workouts.

Step 2: Climb the Ladder to Success

What you will need: Colorful Tape

Take the colorful tape and create twenty, two feet wide lines that are a foot apart from each other. These lines should create ten boxes without sides. These “boxes” will be the foundation pieces to these next three workouts:

Ladder Taps-

Start at the first square and move forward, tapping the balls of both your feet in each box. This should be done multiple times with emphasis on quickness and accuracy. This workout should also be done sideways while moving forward and backward through each connecting box. This agility workout is effective in increasing your reaction speed along with your ability to change direction on a dime.

Leap Outs-

Leap Outs are the closest thing to hopscotch that you will ever find in a workout. Begin with your feet side to side and while moving forward, move them outside of the ladder boundaries. With each jump, be sure to plant your feet fully on the ground. Another progression to this workout is to jump through each box like a hopscotch court. If you decide to add this element be sure to use each leg.

Quick Outs-

This workout is a combination of the last two; this is done moving forward through the ladder while moving in and out with each foot. There is no jumping in this workout like the prior exercise. Instead of leaping, this workout focuses primarily on quickness while balance and accuracy of each of your steps holds more importance.

Here is a video from Marcin Jagoda, who is an AVP athlete, Olympian and National Champion, Volleyball player. He efficiently breaks down each facet of the workouts listed, and explains to you why agility is imperative to high-level volleyball play. He also has the proper version of the “Ladder” which is needed to complete these exercises:

Coach Boone’s philosophy of mobility, agility and aggression hold true in every sport, especially volleyball. You probably had no idea that when you were playing hopscotch in elementary, you were working on a key factor in dominating volleyball at a high level. Like I always say, be sure that your ultimate goal is to have fun. Success will come with your hard work, but if you can enjoy yourself while expanding your capabilities, you will thrive.

 

Yorick Hempstead is an ex-college athlete who is a sports blogger for Scoutme.com. He is always talking sports on twitter @HempsteadHuddle. 

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