Jump Training

After realizing that may page is just full of worthless links, I have decided to write something that could actually be used by other people. At least now I won't feel like such a heel, stealing links and pictures from everyone else. The following will be a little synopsis of my jump training, what I do, and why I do it.

Please remember that plyometrics can be dangerous. Well, maybe not dangerous, but I guess it can be over-done. Be sure to:
Weight Train First!
This is extremely important. If you think you can just jump (ha-ha) right into plyometrics, you will probably end up hurting yourself. Make sure you have a good foundation on which to build a jump training program. You should be able to squat about 1.5 - 2 times your body weight. This is so your legs don't collapse from the shock of a jump training program. Remember to listen to your body! If it hurts then stop.
Space your Workouts
Many have said that the proper plyometric schedule should be about three days of jumping, three days of weight training, and a day of rest for a week (at least in the off-season). I usually do jumping about every other day, this is because presently I'm not doing any weight training because I'm too lazy. I have also heard that one should take a couple days off about every eight weeks. This seems a little drastic, but to prevent injury I guess it can be done.
As mentioned above, rest between workouts, but also rest between sets. Remember that you are trying to work your leg muscles, not give yourself a heart attack. I usually do a set, catch my breath, then continue to another set. Believe me once you start jumping for a basketball rim about twenty times, you get a bit tired. Just play it safe and don't overdo it. And don't come crawling back to me if something goes wrong. These are just suggestions, not laws.
Be sure to stretch the muscles you plan to work before your excercises. A warm muscle will get you a lot higher than a cold one. After all, the whole goal of plyometrics is to get your muscles acting quickly and strongly. Stretching is just like jumping, only not as extreme.

Considering that I am a tiny 5'9" I obviously need quite a vertical leap to get me above an eight foot net if I hope to do some damage. I probably have about a two foot vertical right now (when I'm in the heat of battle) for jumping and reaching with one hand, but quite less when I go up with two hands.

This is why I turned to plyometrics. I mostly do jumps that require me reaching with both hands, since is what I'm really focusing on. I have been jump training since the new year off and on. I have seen a slight increase in my vertical, but mostly I can jump more times and hit a maximum height more times in a row. In other words I can do about fifteen standing jumps in a row hitting about the same height, whereas I used to be able to do about two. The most probable reason I have not seen a larger increase in my vertical is because my jumping sessions don't last that long and I'm not doing any weight training. Like I said, I'm lazy.

Here a few of the types of plyometric excercises that can be done for a volleyball training program:

blocking jumps (10-12 reps)
This consists of finding a net (or an open area) and taking two side steps to the right/left and exploding upwards while reaching over the net with both hands (in other words, you're blocking). This can also be done with a three step routine.
standing jumps (until failure)
This is finding a point (the top of a net or a basketball rim) and jumping to touch it. Don't take any steps, explode upwards and reach with both hands. As soon as your feet hit the ground explode back upwards. Time on the ground should be minimal. Try doing this until you can't reach your target anymore.
depth jumps (10-12 reps)
Stand on a step that is about 20"-24" high. Step off, land with both feet simultaneously and explode upwards reaching with both hands. Time on the ground should again be minimal. The height of the box can be adjusted through the program (I read that there have been people who have done depth jumping from an 8' high step).
jump on and off box (10-12 reps)
Okay, I'm making up these names as I go along. Here one stands about a foot away from the step (facing the step), jumps on to the step, quickly steps off, and explodes upward from the ground. This one can tire you out pretty quickly.
attacks (10-12 reps)
Here, just go through you're attacking motion (R-L-RL for right handers) from the right and left sides and even the middle of the court. Make sure you explode each time and try to reach higher than your previous jump (ha-ha).
jump rope (150-200 reps)
I'm not quite sure if this really helps a vertical, but it seems to warm up the muscles pretty well.
side jump on and off box (10-12 reps)
This is similar to jumping on the box then steping off. Here stand faced perpendicular with the box, jump sideways onto the box and jump off. I'm not sure if there is another jump after you jump off, but try it both ways and see what you like.

As for number of sets, I would try 1 for the first week, 2 for the second and from there increase as you feel necessary.

Remember, that as you jump, explode upward. Most people have said jumping is "pulling" upward rather than "pushing" downward, although I haven't gotten to that point yet.

Also keep in mind that there are all sorts of plyometric excercises out there, but only a fraction are for increasing your vertical leap and only a few of those apply directly to volleyball. Just go through the motions that you would use during a game. If something doesn't feel right or you don't think it fits, don't do it. All of the above (except for jumping-rope) should help you with your volleyball game.

If you want to learn more about jump training check out Rolly Keenan's Jump Page or Mike Schneider's Plyometric Page for more, and more than likely, better advice. Also check out Jumping into Plyometrics by Donald Chu. All the information I have given came from these sources and a few I made up along the way. So, thanks to these guys, even though they'll probably never realize this exists.

Thanks for reading, and happy jumping!