Now that I have your attention, let me clarify this seemingly crazy statement.
Junior high and high school volleyball players who participate in club volleyball can be training almost year round. The transition from school volleyball immediately to club volleyball, then into summer volleyball camps, clinics, high performance teams and then right back into school volleyball translates into thousands upon thousands of repetitive impacts upon the body.
Younger players are able to absorb this physical pounding to a certain degree, but like any foundation, these repetitive impacts can lead to overuse and injury later on. Even though it may not seem like it, young players need to have periods of rest and recover, just like veteran athletes.
As a former NCAA Division I Volleyball coach, overuse and injury with incoming players was always a concern of mine. I routinely hear from other college coaches who are worried that their incoming freshmen will have some physical issues from constant training that will not become apparent until the start of their college career.
If a club player is nursing a sore shoulder, seems a bit tender when jumping/landing, is wearing support braces, then these physical examples will be noticed by the college volleyball coaches evaluating players for recruitment. It is part of a college coach’s job to not only recruit the potential talent level of a player, but the physical volleyball health as well.
3 Things High school volleyball players and families should know:
- College volleyball is the next level of physical training and physical demands. No matter how tough your training was in club, college volleyball is tougher. The practices are longer and more competitive, the lifting/conditioning is more intense, the matches are longer, the recovery time is less and the training season has been lengthened.
- If a player arrives to college with a repetitive stress situation (tendonitis, shin splints, chronic sore shoulder, etc) this can quickly turn into an injury. In some cases the injury can be career ending.
- With the year round volleyball training opportunities/expectations, families should focus on creating down time for their players. There needs to be time for the body to rest, recover and to heal. If something is sore, it must be rested and strengthened. If something hurts, it must be addressed by a sports medicine professional.
I am really advocating no volleyball all this summer? No. But I am strongly suggesting that there should be long segments of No Volleyball during the Summer, especially if you have come off a long club season. A couple of days off is not long; a week or two off is a good start. If you are the type of person that needs to keep active, then do something low impact that is not volleyball. Let your body rest and recover; do something different that develops different muscle groups and is low impact.
Because of the year-round volleyball training cycle and the careful eye that college volleyball coaches are casting during the recruiting process, families must be as focused on no volleyball as they are on volleyball.
For more education on volleyball recruiting process click here.
About the Author
Matt Sonnichsen is the Director of Volleyball and National Speaker for NCSA Athletic Recruiting. Matt has over 20 years of experience coaching volleyball at the collegiate level.