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How to Warm Up For Volleyball

What is the purpose of a warm-up? The answer is, “To prepare for competition or training.” It’s pretty simple, but sometimes that gets forgotten. With this idea in mind we can rephrase the concept of the title of this article to something like “How to Get Ready to Play Volleyball”. It doesn’t roll off the tongue as smoothly, but it makes the point.

So, having recast our subject, let me ask another question. Does jog-and-stretch get you ready for playing volleyball?

If you don’t know the answer to that, it’s a resounding “NO!” There are two reasons for this.

First, jogging plays absolutely no part in volleyball, so running a few laps around the court isn’t going to get you ready to play in any meaningful fashion. Sure, if you do it enough your legs will get warm, but not in a way that supports the type of explosive action you’ll be performing when the whistle blows. Let’s not even get into the fact that it does nothing for key parts of the body like the shoulders and core.

“But that’s where the stretching part comes in”, you may be thinking.

Hate to burst your bubble, but the second issue with jog-and-stretch is static stretching of the sort we most often see serves little purpose before competition or training. Research has found no evidence that it helps prevent injury. In fact, there are some suggestions it could actually reduce performance temporarily by forcing muscles to relax. Static stretching is good for developing flexibility once your muscles are already well warmed-up, but that’s about it.

So what’s the alternative?

Dynamic warm-ups have become common practice at nearly all levels of play in recent years. A quick search on Google or YouTube will lead you to plenty of examples of these types of routines. They are favored because they put muscles and joints through active range-of-motion movements, increasing blood flow in a way which is closer to the way the body will be used in competition.

Or you could just do volleyball stuff.

If you really want to get ready to play volleyball, do what’s involved in playing volleyball. There is a reason why pepper is so commonly part of pre-match and pre-training routines. It includes most of the skills one is getting ready to use, and if done properly, can do a great job of warming up the muscles and joints.

This is not me suggesting the only thing a player should do to warm-up is pass-set-hit with a partner, though. I’m just making the point that preparing to play may be best done by performing volleyball skills and movements in a lower intensity fashion. That way, not only does your body getted warmed-up, so does your brain, which is at least equally important.

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How Do You Pass in Volleyball?

Volleyball is a very unique sport in many ways and as a result the skills needed to play well can take a bit of practice. There are really three main things that you do in Volleyball. One is passing the ball (which is usually the first hit), then the second is setting (which is usually the second hit) and the last is spiking (the third hit). Of course, blocking and diving, along with various other techniques are used too. Learning to pass in Volleyball can be one of the hardest things to do, because once you start playing very competitive Volleyball the balls come very quickly. Being able to move into position and then prepare yourself for the ball to hit your forearms before the ball gets too low is difficult, and takes a lot of practice.

Learning to Pass in Volleyball is best done through a variety of Passing Drills. Of course, you need to vary these with other drills otherwise it becomes too boring. Being able to pass well means that your team will have good defense, which is a massive part of Volleyball. Of course, being able to set and spike well is just as important, but in general if you don’t ever let a ball hit the ground on your side of the net then you will be at a higher level than your opponents.

Passing in Volleyball is done by putting your two hands together, to form a ‘V’. You keep your forearms straight at the elbow, and bend your knees when the ball is about to make contact. Most people put their palms together flat, and then fold them together, so that it is a flat surface. It is best practice to pass facing the direction you want the ball to go; if you don’t then you are more likely to shank the ball. Like anything, once you know what to do it is just a matter of lots and lots of practice!

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How to Take Care of Your Ice Hockey Skates

It is supposed that taking care for ice skates is not important at all. However, one must give proper care to a pair of skates for them to last long. It is possible that your skates get cleaned out within months or weeks if they are not taken proper care of.

When you are off the ice and still wearing skates, ensure that you wear rubber or plastic skate guards over skate blades without fail. Skate guards help to protect the blades from grit and hard surfaces that quickly ruin a well-sharpened blade. Also, it keeps the skate guards at the border of the ice and places them on your skate blades even if you are off the ice for a while. A very important point to remember is that when you are not using skates; do not leave skate guards on the blades as they may catch moisture even when you are not near the ice.

Experts are of the opinion that skate blades should be manually dried just after skating. Make use of one or two very porous golf size terry cloth towels to clean down the metal plate, the boot, and the blades. It is important that you concentrate on the metal parts of the skate. One should never leave skates to be wiped later. When the moisture is removed from them, completely cover the blades with fabric blade covers.

Do not store skates in a travel bag at home. Make sure that they are removed from the bag instantly so that both the metal and the leather parts can air dry. It is also advised that you release the laces and pull the tongue of each boot slightly forward. You can also lay the skates on their sides on a dry towel so that they do not touch. Allow them to air dry in a place where they are exposed to light. But ensure that they are not placed away from any heat source and are under the direct sunlight. If they are placed below direct sunlight, they may possibly dry out and the leather will crack. Thus, taking care of your hockey equipment is as significant as training for the sport.

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Fun Volleyball Drills to Teach Essential Skills

Volleyball is a game that people play to have fun. While there is the competition of two opposing teams, neither team would be on the court unless they thought volleyball was a fun sport. Because they can be a lot of hard work, the best way to get your team to learn new skills with success is to try to use some fun volleyball drills. Drills by definition are hard. They are designed to teach the team certain skills, which can become very dull, leading to the team not really putting forth the effort to do them. Use some of these fun volleyball drills and you will see your team’s skills improve while they are having fun.

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The three man weave drill is one of the fun volleyball drills that can really encourage teamwork. A set of 3 players are set up in a triangular formation, with the two players in front, players A and B, standing close to each other, while the third player, C, stands about 10 feet behind them. Player A then sets the ball high in the air, where C will position themselves under the ball to set it to player B. Player A then takes the place of player C, C moves to position B, and position A rotates back to position C. This is continued in a circle with each member setting the ball, then rotating to the next position. To make this a bit more interesting, have the whole team practice this drill together in small groups. Have the members of any site that drop the ball run suicides. The last team standing doesn’t have to do them.

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Another one of the great fun volleyball drills is the Queen of the Court drill. The queen of the court pits teams of 2, 3 and 4 players against each other in free ball play. The first team to drop the ball or cause it to touch the ground is the losing team. If you pit up teams together so that everyone has a chance to play each other, then the last team standing would be considered the queen of the court. All other teams must then run lines or do suicides. This gives a sense of pride to the winners, while establishing teamwork for those who are facing the punishments.

Volleyball players really do sometimes find drills fun, depending on what they consist of. Players can definitely benefit from fun volleyball drills that help with diving to the floor. Diving to the floor can be an intimidating experience the first few times a deep dig is called for. By borrowing from the football team, you can help your team overcome this fear. Have the players run in place, then point to a direction. Without stopping, the team must all turn and continue running in place, facing the direction you pointed to. After a few turns, blow the whistle. This is the cue for the team to dive to the ground. After a couple of times of doing this, diving to the ground won’t be scary at all. Once the team is used to doing it, start making the last player who hits the deck run lines or do some other form of penalty. This will cause the team to start hitting the deck faster, and generally harder, thus removing any fear whatsoever for big digs during the game.

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Fun volleyball drills, with the right amount of competition and penalties, can make practices a lot easier to enjoy for your team. Drilling them using enjoyable aspects can be rewarding in ways that you hadn’t thought possible before. Keeping leader boards will remind the team of who they need to beat in the next set of competitions, while the leader will have a sense of pride that comes with seeing their name on top. All of these tips for fun volleyball drills can be used in different ways around the court. Make these drills your own, change them up as needed, and remind your team that they are training because they enjoy the game they are playing.

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Distilling Trust With Volleyball Drills

As a volleyball coach, you are going to run into many different types of players, each with their own personalities. This can make it difficult for a group of individuals to come together as a team, rather than a bunch of individuals hitting a ball. Fortunately, that is where you and your volleyball drills come in. With the right set of volleyball drills by your side, you can mold a group of people with different play styles and personalities into a well-oiled volleyball machine. There are several potential problems that can be avoided with the right drill work.

One potential problem is a clash of personalities. When a new person joins the team, you will often find that the new player and one of the returning players have a personality conflict. This will make it hard for these two players to work together as a team. Using a good set of teamwork building volleyball drills, you can offset the detrimental effects of those differences. A good way to accomplish this is to run drills that force the two players to work together. As they are drilled together, they will see that in various ways, they depend upon each other during game play. Gradually, they will begin to trust each other, at least on the court, and be able to set their differences aside. Volleyball drills likely won’t solve problems off of the court, but they will be a strong start.

Another problem can be the inclusion of a new player onto an existing team. This can be especially true if most of the team is returning members. Each member of the team already knows the strengths and weaknesses of the other players, and already knows that they can trust each other to do what needs to be done. A new player is an unknown. No one knows yet if that player can be trusted to be where they need to be, or even if they can fit into the playing style of the team. By using the same volleyball drills you have used before, you ensure that the new player is indoctrinated into the team dynamics the same way as everyone else was. This makes the transition that much easier, as the team sees the skills and reliability of the new player emerge. The new player, at the same time, begins to feel a part of the team. Your volleyball drills enable each member of the team, both new and returning, to trust each other no matter what the circumstances.

Styles of play are often different for new members of a volleyball team. Using your volleyball drills, you enforce a more common type of play style that everyone starts to use. Someone who has been playing beach volleyball will have the basic set of skills needed to play in a gym, but the styles themselves will vary quite a bit. Your drills help train the team to work together, yet trust in each other’s playing style. Even the most diverse of styles can work together when drilled enough.

You may have noticed that each of the scenarios presented features a common theme. That is trust and respect. Your volleyball drills will help your team learn to trust and respect each other. By showing them that they can trust in each other, you are building a solid team, no matter what the initial difficulties may be. As the team becomes a cohesive unit, and their overall skills begin to grow, the team will also respect your coaching styles. So remember that when you are preparing your volleyball drills, you are fostering a sense of trust in each member of the team, as well as in the team as a whole.

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Common USAV Volleyball Recruiting Tournaments

For anyone who is hoping to be recruited to play volleyball on the collegiate level, attending volleyball recruiting tournaments is an important part of the overall process. These tournaments not only give you more insight into the world of college volleyball, a world that can be extensive and intimidating, but they also give you the following:

Exposure, exposure, exposure: In a nutshell, a college can’t recruit you if they don’t know you exist. Yep, it’s that simple. This is why attending volleyball recruiting tournaments is a must do for anyone who is hoping to be noticed. The more volleyball you play the more likely you are to be noticed by someone with influence, someone looking to add to his or her team. But, don’t limit yourself to just playing in tournaments, also play for your high school as well as competitive club teams. In short, play as often as you can.

Networking Possibilities: When it comes to college volleyball, networking is the name of the game. As mentioned above, coaches have to know who you are before they can actively seek you out. Volleyball recruiting tournaments are a great place to network, to get your name in circulation. You just never know who might hear it.

A Giant Stage to Show off Skills: Of course, volleyball tournaments are also an ideal place to show off your skills. These tournaments are crawling with college volleyball recruiting officials. This makes them a great stage to show the coaches and recruiters why you are a must have. You can go into a tournament being unknown, and leave being the talk of the gym.

But Keep in Mind: The volleyball rules that apply in general also apply at tournaments. During volleyball recruiting tournaments, coaches can not speak with you. The NCAA maintains recruiting rules that limit coaches’ ability to communicate during these times. Coaches are allowed to sit down and discuss you with a parent or legal guardian, but they are not allowed to speak with you, other than a simple nod or a hello. Thus, don’t feel bad if a coach seems to ignore you: they are watching, they are just not talking.

Volleyball tournaments are a great venue for both known and unknown players to show universities what they can do on the court. For anyone hoping to play at the collegiate level, playing at the tournament level is a step in the right direction.

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Ice Hockey 101

If you dream of attaining glory on the hockey rink, it is time to give your PS3 a rest, get off the couch and get to business. Fitness, skills and strategy are vital to your gameplay. So get into shape and start honing your strengths.

Get the Basics Right

Eating healthy will go a long way in aiding your hockey career. Give up the fries and coke and start munching on greens. A good night’s sleep is also vital to any player’s health. Don’t lose out on your REM sleep and ditch the habit of watching movies or playing video games before sleeping. The action packed visuals keep your mind racing long after you’ve drifted off to sleep. Extracting yourself from Halo might be a monumental task but in hockey, you win some and you lose some.

The key to a good physique is the right training schedule. Follow the rest and recovery routine and instead of sprints, run shuttles or suicides. Mix it up; get ample rest between exercises so that your body can easily adapt to extreme situations.

Train to Win

Quickness is an important trait in hockey. The rink isn’t big enough for long movements so you need to be excellent at short, quick manoeuvres. Practice short sprints and diagonal movements to increase your quickness in the rink.

Strength is not about how beefed up you are, it is about how much you can endure. Develop your resistance, it will add to your stride and forcefulness during the game.

As a hockey player, you need to pay extra attention to your femur muscles. Performing overhead squats will loosen up your hip flexors and improve your bending posture. Inculcate static and dynamic stretching exercises in your training schedule as they will open up your muscles and give them a wider range of action.

A six pack might be pleasing to the eyes but having a set of washboard abs means low body fat. Thus your body has less fuel to burn and you risk running out of gas in the middle of a game. So don’t sacrifice your performance for an aesthetically appealing physique.

You must cool off after a heated training session. Riding a stationary bike helps regulate your blood flow and prevents cramping. Wrap up your training with simple stretching exercises.

Sharpen Your Skills

Reading the ice correctly and understanding the game is as important as playing it. Play the game as much as you can, with friends, family, coaches, teammates and even alone. This will help you tune in to the intricacies of hockey and speed up your reaction time.

Shooting is a skill that you simply must possess, how else will you win those games? Practice shots from different angles and positions; see what works best for you. The trick is to practice and practice so much that shooting comes naturally when you are being hounded by the opponents in the middle of a nerve-wracking game.

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Quick Tips On Finding The Perfect Pool Volleyball Net

Water volleyball is a game which is able to combine the excitement of volleyball and the refreshment of swimming pools. A recreational volleyball game in the water could be an excellent supplement for a group to enjoy a fun activity. Purchasing pool volleyball net devices could be exciting for players at the recreational, beginner or competitive playing abilities. When you are searching for water volleyball nets, think about the advantages and disadvantages to choose the best one on the market.

When it comes to recreational volleyball players, the net sets which float within the water will be simple to set-up, transportable and cost-effective. Styles vary from basic blow up water volleyball nets to even more rigid and resilient nets with PVC piping.

Some of the features for the blow up nets might incorporate:

  • One-piece construction which could be deflated or inflated
  • Grommets at the end of the poles in order to add anchor loads for stability
  • Low-cost inflatable water volley ball
  • Some of the features for the floating nets designed with structured casings can include:
  • Very hard plastic or perhaps PVS piping
  • Polyfoam floats to enable floating in the water
  • Anchor weights for stability
  • Strong and durable nets placed tight on poles

The inflatable volleyball nets might be softer and more secure while in rough water than the sets having PVC or hard plastic piping. But, these inflatable sets tend to be considered more like a tool for swimming pool rather than for competitive volleyball.

To get more flexibility in the pool, select a game sets which offers the ability to transform into an additional water sport activity. A combination of water net sets could support volleyball, basketball or badminton games in swimming pools.

In addition, pool volleyball net might be accompanied with numerous accessories and toys. Game accessories may well consist of inflatable volleyballs, birdies and badminton rackets. Additional water toys like inflatable or very soft Nerf balls could easily be utilized with a volleyball net set to enjoy additional water sport activities in a pool.

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Off-Ice Hockey Training Part 1 – Developing an Effective Off-Ice Dynamic Warm-Up

Hockey is the greatest sport on earth. Finally recognizing this, the number of youth hockey programs in the U.S. continues to grow rapidly. Characterized by rapid high-intensity movements, high velocities, and full-speed collisions, it’s not hard to see why off-ice training would be advantageous. With injuries such as “groin” pulls, hip flexor strains, sports hernias, and shoulder separations plaguing the sport, it’s not hard to see why off-ice training is a NECESSITY.

Whether or not to train for hockey is not a question. It’s a no brainer. Hockey players that train excel and dominate. Players that don’t fall behind and are at an increased risk of injury. Almost all coaches and players recognize that much. The question I receive the most is, “Where do I start?” That’s the right question to ask and the question I’d like to address. In this article series, I’m going to walk you step-by-step through the process of creating an effective off-ice training program.

Where to Start

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Without a doubt, the best place to start is by adding a dynamic warm-up before every training session (off-ice AND on-ice sessions) and game. Trash the old jog around the rink and stretch as a team routine. Despite popular belief, stretching before high intensity activity doesn’t decrease injury risk. In fact, research suggests that it actually INCREASES the risk of injury! Believe it or not, stretching before high-intensity activity also leads to decreases in speed, agility, balance, and muscular strength and power. The jog and stretch may warm-up the body a bit, but it does nothing to increase functional range of motion around the joints you use during training or playing hockey. It simply isn’t effective in preparing the body for what is to come. The solution: dynamic warm-ups.

Things to Consider

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A dynamic warm-up is a series of exercises designed to increase body temperature, blood flow, joint range of motion, and neural drive to the working muscles. Sound better than decreased performance and an increased risk of injury? When putting together a dynamic warm-up, you’ll want to consider these things:

1) Skating takes the knees and hips through a full range of motion in all directions (flexion and extension, abduction and adduction, internal and external rotation).

2) Stickhandling and shooting take the shoulders through a full range of motion

3) Hockey involves both linear, lateral, and diagonal movements

4) Hockey is a high-intensity, high-velocity sport

5) The hip musculature and scapular stabilizers (muscles around the shoulder) are important problem areas to address to decrease injury risk

6) Core training should be performed during the warm-up, ensuring that athletes put maximum effort into it and that the appropriate muscles are activated for the training to follow.

7) The dynamic warm-up should last around 10 minutes

Taking these 7 things into consideration, let’s take a look at a basic program I’ve used with high school and college players in the past.

Every one of these exercises should be performed for about 15 yards.

1) Walking Knee Hug with High-Knee Hold

2) Walking Lunge with Overhead Reach

3) Inchworm

4) Walking Inverted Reach

5) Diagonal Walking Lunge

6) Butt Kickers

7) High Knees

8) Side Shuffle RIght

9) Side Shuffle Left

10) Carioca Right (Quick feet emphasis)

11) Carioca Left (Quick feet emphasis)

12) Carioca Right (Long stride emphasis)

13) Carioca Left (Long stride emphasis)

14) Straight-Legged March

15) 50% Sprint from Push-Up Start

16) Back Pedal

17) 75% Sprint from Push-Up Start

18) Back Pedal

Let’s take a look at how this warm-up addresses all the things I mentioned earlier.

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1 & 2) The knees, hips, and shoulders are taken through a full range of motion throughout this warm-up (notably in the lunging, cariocas, and inchworm).

3) Forward, backward, side-to-side, and diagonal movements are all incorporated.

4) The warm-up involves higher intensity movements and increases in speed.

5) The psoas, a hip flexor commonly problematic in hockey players, is isolated and activated during the walking knee hug with high knee hold as you’ll hold the knee against your chest, then let it go, holding it using your hip flexors as high as possible for a second before moving into the next step. The other muscles around the hip are activated through the side shuffling and cariocas. Lastly, the scapular stabilizers and other muscles around the shoulder are activated during the inchworm.

6) When performed correctly, inchworms should effectively warm-up the abdominal musculature, and the walking inverted reach should activate the glutes. While this is far from sufficient core work, it’s a good starting point.

7) Lastly, this program can easily be performed within 10 minutes.

Wrapping Up

There are an infinite number of dynamic warm-up exercises you can perform. While I prefer moving warm-ups, it’s entirely possible (and sometimes better in the beginning) to sufficiently warm-up an entire team using stationary (not progressing over a distance) movements. Performing a dynamic warm-up before practices and games will save you valuable ice time as you won’t have to spend as much time on the ice warming up. Follow the guidelines in this article to design your own warm-ups and/or use the sample warm-up I’ve provided before every training session, practice, and game and you’ll be making the first step towards improved performance

Stay tuned for part two of this series, where I’ll go into why most of the core training incorporated into off-ice training programs does nothing to improve performance, and show you the most effective functional core training for hockey players.

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Maintain Your Ice Hockey Equipment

When someone thinks about caring ice skates, the process is not at all time consuming. In fact this whole process requires a lot of concentration and attention. If someone gives a little proper care to their ice skates, they can last for a longer period of time. If you just by chance miss your maintenance program, then so called expensive pair of ice skates can actually get ruined within a period of seven to fourteen days itself.

When off the ice but still wearing skates, always and without fail wear plastic or rubber skate guards over ice skate blades. Skate guards protect the blades from hard surfaces and grit that can very quickly ruin a well-sharpened blade. Keep skate guards at the edge of the ice and place them on your skate blades even if you only plan to be off the ice for a few steps.

It is very important to note that when you are not wearing skates, it is advised that one should never leave the skate guard on the blades. One must understand that the guards are used only for walking purpose and left only for a small period of time. They have the capability that they trap moisture when the skates are near the ice.

Since they get consistently exposed to moisture when people use them for skating, it is very important they are maintained carefully and even proper maintenance is taken too. When the skate blade starts rusting, they further move into a territory where they can’t be repaired. Prevention is the only way through which you can save your skates.

Experts are of the opinion that these Skate blades are dried after they have been used. If they are dried manually, after skating, they can surely achieve the results. The best way of saving your skates is that you make use of very absorbent golf size cloth towels. These towels have the capability that they wipe down all the moisture from the metal plate, from the blades, and possibly even from the boot. It is very vital that the special particular attention is paid to the metal parts of the skate. One should never think that they can leave the skates for later wipedown, it is next to impossible to later clean.

When it becomes visible that there is no presence of moisture on the skates, then one can possibly cover the blades with the help of blade cover made out of fabric. It is advised that one should always avoid using plastic or even rubber guards for storage purpose. These materials are not at all successful in removing the moisture from the skates and in fact trap further moisture from atmosphere. This way, your skates will rust pre maturely. When you prefer to buy quality skate cover, they have an absorbent lining that absorbs almost all moisture and also takes away moisture from the blades as well. They will also provide cushions to the skates when you carry them in the skate bag.

When you are not using ice skates or when at home, make sure that they are not stored in travel bag. It is advised that they remain in the best state when they are removed from bag. It is also better that you loosen the laces and pull the tongue out so that the drying process takes place quickly. One can also lay the skates in a dry towel so that the drying takes place uninterrupted. It is best when they are air dried in a place where there is immense sun light. But, it is very important to know that they are as far as from the heat sources.

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