How do i get quicker
April 15, 2005 11:47 PM   Subscribe

I'm a good amateur beach volleyball player .. play a lot of tournaments such as this one : . Problem is .. for a volleyball player .. im SLOW. I have make a lot of quick, explosive movements in the sand to go after shots .. but I don't get to enough of them. I think a lot of it has to do with my size .. im 6'3 210 .. its hard to get myself moving!

What can I do to be quicker on the court in a hurry ? Does anyone have any advice or links to good plyometrics programs, quickness, agility, or strength training that will get my slow butt moving ?
posted by jason9009 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total)
The one exercise that is most often recommended is doing jumps in a swimming pool for both distance and height. Also suicide runs down a basketball court. (For gym class it was all the way down the court, then halfway down, then a quarter way, one after the other, all out, but any sort of quick sprints will work)

This month's Runners World has a section where various athletes talk about how their sport can help you improve as a runner, they talk briefly about pylometrics and mention sprints, a jumping squat (lower slowly and then jump up, focus on moving quickly, start with no weights), and hopping exercises. Hop onto a box or step with one or both feet, doing 15-20 reps at a quick pace. Vary it by jumping sideways or backwards.

For agility, they recommend a soccer drill where you set up 5 cones in a star formation with a 6th in the middle. Each cone about 10 feet from the center. Start at the center and sprint to one cone, do a quick circle aruond it and return to the center. Circle it and go to the next cone until you finish them all. Rest for 30-60 seconds and repeat in the opposite direction.

Hope this helps!
posted by hindmost at 1:29 AM on April 16, 2005

I was able to improve my fast twich reactions drasticcly by playing lots of basket ball. I found the good court on a slow day and just got my ass kicked trying to keep up with the playground allstars. After a few days a week for a few months, my reactionns were a lot quicker.

Another old marine drill is to draw two intersecting crosses on the ground with a radius of about a yard (creating an eight pointed asterix). Stand in the middle and face the first point. Jump out to that point, back to the center, to the second point clockwise, to center, etc all while facing that original direction. When you get all the way around, go back counterclockwise. When you get back to your starting point, turn to face the second point clockwise and repeat the process. Go the whole way around as fast as you can in control making the jumps short quick and fast.
posted by jmgorman at 6:44 AM on April 16, 2005

There lots of advice out there about work you can do with weights to increase your speed. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but you might look into it.

I just read this old article by Dr. Fred Hatfield. It's about using the Olympic lifts (the snatch and the clean & jerk) to train for other things. He says, "Pound for pound, Olympic weightlifters have a greater level of speed-strength than any other class of athletes in all of sport. This fact was made very clear during a massive scientific expedition carried out on the athletes at the Mexico City Olympics in 1964. Sports scientists found that Olympic lifters were able to both vertical jump higher than any class of athletes (including the high jumpers), and run a 25 yard dash faster than any class of athletes (including the sprinters)." [No citation given -- I'm going to post this and then go hunt around to see if it's true.]

Me, I'm slow as molasses, so that's about all I've got.
posted by climalene at 7:32 AM on April 16, 2005

Hmmm. For one thing, the 1964 Olympics were in Tokyo.
posted by climalene at 7:44 AM on April 16, 2005

What you need is power. Speed is the ability to move fast. Strength is the ability to move hard. Power is the ability to move hard and fast. Different sports require different ratios. Track is speed, weightlifting is strength, American football is power.

The way to develop power is to workout against resistance quickly. This means less weight, but moving them faster.

Note -- you have to start with *light* weights, and you need to be careful with form.

Other ways -- anything that start from a still position, and tries to reach speed quickly, or large vector changes -- run here, turn as fast as you can, run back, that sort of thing. Flatland running and cycling won't help -- they build speed and strength, but in both cases, if you are in the power realm, your doing it wrong. Hill sprints are somewhat power oriented, but there are better ways if you're trying to focus on power.

In general, anything involving jumping involves leg power.
posted by eriko at 8:06 AM on April 16, 2005

Climalene - doesn't really surprise me. In HS, we used to run at some 'specialty' relay meets, and in the short relays (4x50, 4x25), the fastest teams were *always* the throwers (discus, shot). They had lots of power, but not much endurance -- they were really fast out of the block, but couldn't hold it for long. Not surprisingly, most of these guys were also linemen on their HS football teams.

To develop power, fast, light weights are good. Jumping drills are good. Good form is essential -- if you're moving fast, it's real easy to hurt yourself if your form is off just a little bit.
posted by jlkr at 9:57 AM on April 16, 2005

some thoughts:
you didn't say what your overall level of fitness is. a lot of what you should do first depends on that, mainly in terms of your endurance and general strength.
1. get a trainer. someone that really knows her stuff. should be able to see how you move and design exercises along the lines described here specifically to address your problems and how you move.
2. agree about jumping, spend time working on your first just working at how you land, how you move your body. do some side to side jumping too. if you do it a lot your body figures out what's the best way.
3. balance. work on balance. do one-legged excercises. a lot of them. jumping side to side on one leg is great (like a speed skater). you should wake up with a sore ass (glutes are your balance muscle). one legged squats. this one where you lean all the way over on one leg. and you can get these foam things and flat inflatables to stand on that also work your ankle muscles. i think this would help with movement on sand.
4. agility. all this advice about drills is right on. one thing along side all of that is ladder drills. you can buy these collapsable flat ladders to run through. its a great way to get your feet moving.
5. core strength. having a strong core will greatly help you move correctly. if you're not doing core exercises you can't move as efficiently. your abs and glutes should pull your legs forward and this really helps move quickly.

but above all recommend a trainer.
posted by alkupe at 1:37 PM on April 16, 2005

When I was training for Sand volleyball tournaments we did endurance/speed drills, generally with a ball. Here's a few:

2 players stand at the endline, one with a ball. The other player runs into the court, watching the ball. After a given distance, the player with the ball slaps it and immediately tosses it in the air in front of himself. The toss it meant to be just high enough that the running player won't be able to get it without diving.
When the ball is slapped the running player immediately turns and runs for the ball, attempting to dig it to his partner. The key is to turn very quickly (1 step) and accelerate to top speed as fast as possible.
Switch after each toss (or have multiple people coming through in a line).
There is a work-up of distance- the first time out the ball is slapped/tossed when the runner is 1/2 way across the near court. The next time through for that player the slap comes when they are at the net. Then 3/4 of the entire court, then all the way. Having gone 4 times (1/4, 1/2, 3/4, full court) is a set. Each set you change the way you run: side-stepping left, right, looking over your left shoulder, right shoulder, straight backwards.

The player with the ball never slaps the ball at exactly the same spot, thus making the running player react to the slap, rather than anticipate it.

Here's another: player with the ball at the net, player doing the drill standing on the endline with their back to the net, in ready position. Player with the ball slaps it and immediately throws it anywhere on the court. The player doing the drills turns and runs to the ball, digging it back to the tosser. Do 5-10 reps, then switch.

You should ideally do any/all conditioning drills before you play. Think of it as simulating a tournament where you've been playing all day before the finals. If you get used to playing well after being utterly exhausted you'll find that playing well when you're rested will seem very easy.
posted by Four Flavors at 10:43 AM on April 18, 2005

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