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Q1 2022 VERT Update

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

Are we under training our defensive specialists?

Training Insights

Marco DaLozzo is the head of strength and conditioning for A1 powerhouse Imoco Volley in Italy. He works with some of the greatest volleyball players on the planet and it’s his job to ensure each of them is trained throughout the week in a manner that optimizes their health and performance for every match.

To ensure maximal performance on game-day, Marco tracks each player during practice and works with the coaches to monitor training load using the VERT Team System (VTS) along with additional subjective metrics such as player RPE’s (rate of perceived exertion). They’ve had tremendous success, participating in 14 Championship finals in a row and setting a world record of 76 consecutive wins.

The VERT Team System represents the ongoing evolution of the first jump counting platform VERT introduced roughly 10 years ago. The system allowed the sport to objectively quantify training loads for attackers. Over time, with innovators such as Marco, the sport has refined jump loads to optimize practice planning and VERT has developed new metrics to fill some of the gaps in load monitoring, such as tracking liberos and other defensive specialists who’s training volume is not defined in the vertical plane.

The primary metric being utilized to provide a more comprehensive training load is Kinetic Energy (Energy), a metric which speaks to all dynamic athlete movement, so anything more than a walk is captured and quantified. One of the goals of this metric is to allow coaches to better compare training loads in a practice for attackers against their back row. For example, if the attackers had a high volume day, roughly equaling a 5 set match worth of training load, what did that practice look like for the back row?

Marco wanted to answer this exact question. First, however, the energy needed to be individualized and put into the context of match demand. Working with VERT’s Performance Lab, he tagged sets from various matches to establish what each player’s average energy per set was from match play. This allows programs to view energy not in joules per pound, but by estimated sets played. For example, if a player averages 1,000 joules/lb per set and had 5,000 joules/lb in a session, then that would be 5 “sets by energy.” Once that was established he began comparing high load practices ( practices where the attackers registered around 5 sets by energy) of his attackers to his liberos. What he found was rather fascinating.

On days when the front row was around 5 sets, which they would consider a high load day, his libero and other defensive specialists were closer to 3, 3.5 sets. While the coaching staff may have felt comfortable with the day’s reps, the concern is that the players may not have been building the desired physical capacity as their high volume day was lower than desired. The goal is to ensure players are in peak physical condition come game day, ready to optimally handle a 5 set match.

An internal audit performed by VERT’s Performance Lab found virtually the same result when looking at other programs who have tracked their liberos and had individualized their energy per set, with a few exceptions. So what now?

While it is impossible to track (currently) whether or not an athlete is losing a step later in matches there are modifications to training load that can minimize that likelihood. Marco’s idea is that if after practice, a libero is at 3.5 sets worth of energy, but that day she should be closer to 5, that player can work for 10 to 15 minutes with the coach, athletic trainer or strength coach to bring his/her training load for the day up to around 5 sets. No additional volleyball needed. It’s not just about skill, and reps, but having the physical capacity to maintain performance over time.

A growing number of programs are implementing this style of training. A small modification that may give your back row a physical advantage to push that much harder, be that much quicker and last just a little longer when those 5 set battles demand it.

Authored by David Gil, VERT Performance Lab Director



Recruiting, VERT Certified Programs

As a VERT Certified Program, our volleyball staff takes extra steps to ensure our student-athletes are provided the most efficient and effective training to both optimize performance and keep them healthy.

We utilize the VERT Team System, a monitoring platform which uses a small sensor around the waist to collect critical performance data our staff views daily to help guide our practice planning for each individual athlete. Here’s how:

Jump Count - It is imperative to understand how many jumps our athletes are performing to ensure we are not over or under-jumping to prepare for a long season.

Green represents the optimal training zone. This guides training volume to help dramatically mitigate injury risk.

Landing Impact - Technology allows us to measure each landing and flag athletes who need to perform additional training to improve their landing mechanics or those showing fatigue throughout the season.

Yellow represents the landing impact. Coaches can view, in real time, athlete landing performance and monitor trends to help inform training volume.

Jump Height - This measurement is used to both motivate and assess player performance as well as inform our training plans.

The system can also measure energy output and additional metrics used by various performance departments.

Armed with this information our staff is able to quickly adjust training to keep our student-athletes playing the sport they love during their time on campus as well as give them the best chance of feeling strong after their time with our program has come to an end.


New Innovations

VERT Partners with DVMate for Video, Stats and Performance Data Integration

VERT Partners with DVMate for Video, Stats and Performance Data Integration

DVMate, an iPad-based volleyball stats application has recently launched, and is the first application of its kind to integrate game video, DVW stats as well as VERT performance data. A 3 year project led by Chau Le, a former scout for the Australian National Team, DVMate was developed to help programs find detailed answers to questions pertaining to on-court performance we’ve never had access to in the past.

Customizable reports allow coaches to new metrics such as:

  • Jumps heights on kills vs errors

  • Jump height consistency on serves coupled with service results

  • Landing impacts on blocks vs attacks vs serves

  • Average jumps per rally per player

  • Jumps with action (with ball contact) vs jumps without

In addition, DVMate offers a wide variety of reporting options with a robust query builder that links everything searched to game video along with both jump and landing data on each player (utilizing a VERT sensor).

For more information on DVMate click HERE.

For more information on the VERT Team System please schedule a demo HERE.

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