Conference Tournament Load Preparation
A few weeks out from conference tournaments, now is a critical time to review weekly training loads. There are a multitude of theories as it pertains to preparing athletes for season’s end, but we’ll review the two more prominent options:
1 .Keep building Many programs have begun utilizing acute to chronic workload ratios (A:C) to help build their team’s physical capacity and minimize the risk of injury as the season goes on. Learn more about A:C.
While there is certainly merit and research supporting the efficacy of this methodology, it can also be taken too far. While tendons do not require or prefer the rest of our muscular tissue, coaches and trainers can’t forget about the cartilage in our knees, ligaments holding everything together. No way around it, this sport isn’t good for the knees, hips and back, so allowing for proper recovery is absolutely critical, as critical as developing player capacity by building load throughout the season.
This is a more commonly utilized methodology for preparing for tournament season. The players have been training hard 5-6 days a week since early August, so giving them some much needed rest allows the team to recover, let some residual swelling subside and re-focus.
Again, there are plenty of studies to support this process, but just as with A:C, there is nuance to properly executing player recovery.
In the end, a little bit of both are required. Build athletes throughout the season, and provide them with some strategic recovery when it is needed. Recovery, however, does not mean a lot of time off. This is where A:C application is paramount. Too much rest and our athletes begin to lose capacity, both physically (tendons absorb and return energy on jumps, so losing tendon capacity not only increases injury risk, but can decrease explosiveness) as well as cardiovascularly. Sure, volleyball isn’t entirely known for its cardio, but a busy libero putting in work through 5 sets may disagree.
So as you prepare your teams for tournaments, continue with training load undulations, but provide a week with a decrease of 15%-20%, and, if possible, make unique changes for individuals that need more rest or simply respond better to maintained workloads. Each athlete is an individual, but having a plan can be the difference in how far you go into your tournament season.
Applications Compare practice and match intensities.
There are a number of critical components to effective 6 v 6 style training, but one of the most important is that player intensity should match that of game play. In volleyball, speed, communication and consistency can only be improved through focused repetition.
With VTS, programs can live or post-tag 6 v 6 drills, then pull reports to compare training intensities, by player, to their game day performance metrics. Armed with this information coaches can better gauge the effort and efficacy of their training. Additionally, the data allows coaches to provide players with objective feedback and motivation to ensure complacency doesn’t find its way onto the court. If I know a player can average 23.5” per set with an intensity of 46 (for more information on this number please use the call schedule link below), and I see that player in 6 v 6 jumping at a 21.5” with an intensity of 28….then we have a new goal to work towards.
These are the changes that can make dramatic differences in player performance. Focus on the details.
At AVCA in Omaha this year the VERT Team System will be receiving a massive update by way of the new VERT 3.0 performance monitor. The new sensor will improve virtually all aspects of the previous model, while still maintaining the same diminutive dimensions to ensure a comfortable fit for athletes. Upgrades include:
Over 3 times sample rate increase This will allow for additional metrics and added accuracy for on and off-court player tracking
Improved rotational tracking More than twice the range for more accurate tracking of rotation on various parts of the body
Upgraded communications Bluetooth 5.0 and a new WiFi components for significantly improved range and speed for live-data collection
There will also be additional updates to the VERT Team System (VTS) interface for 2023 designed to make it easier for coaches to apply data in meaningful ways and dramatically decrease injury risk of their athletes.
Improved landing reports
Breakdown changes in landings throughout a match
Tag training in practice to determine if particular drills lead to harder landings
Additional jump performance tracking
Track number of jumps in select % of max bands. i.e. number of jumps between 60%-70%, 71%-75%, etc. by player
Individual jump goals
Set individual jump goals for athletes for each practice to better develop physical capacity throughout the season