Volleyball Off-Season Training - Learning How to Prepare for the Season

Read about volleyball off-season training.

On other pages we have talked about the importance of having conditioning in volleyball player's training schedule all year around.

Here are few ideas how to train during the off-season:

Volleyball Off-Season Training - Transition period

Transition period is the time right after the volleyball season. Athlete is transitioning from the previous season towards the next one. Most athletes try to take anything from few weeks to few months off before starting to prepare for the next season. Taking time off doesn’t necessary mean athletes won't do anything. Athletes could just rest – but most often we can’t sit even one week without doing any exercises.

Rest, Relax and Refresh - Other Ball Games Are Great

Transition period is the time when athletes could stay away from the sports specific training – and do sports that they can’t be doing on the season. Volleyball athletes could be playing other ball games, doing long distance running, hiking, bicycling or combat sports just to name few.

Especially other ball games are great since they develop your hand-eye coordination and usually require fast changes in directions and footwork very similar to volleyball. The main idea behind transition period training is to relax and have fun. You let your body and mind refresh for the next season.

Volleyball Off-Season Training - Endurance Training

Out of Shape? - Time to Work on Endurance

If the athlete is badly “out of shape” and gets tired easily - transitioning period is a good time to put extra attention to endurance training. It should be always part of your training, but during this period it could be done excessively since other training is not on the schedule.

Running, Swimming, Bicycling for Volleyball Players?

As we remember for volleyball athletes long distance running, bicycling, swimming, rowing are not the best exercises during the training season or playing season. If someone absolutely wants to do long distance running and other traditional cardio training, transitioning period is the correct time to do those. As long as you remember to lessen, even minimize that traditional cardio training when getting closer to the season.

Best Endurance Training for Volleyball Players

Training for volleyball endurance closer to the season should be very different from traditional cardio training. We are arguing traditional cardio is not the most beneficial because you are not training with the energy systems and heart rates needed in volleyball. In volleyball heart rate is not up constantly. You have 5-10 second bursts, following with a little break. Plus you have timeouts and breaks between the games.

Therefore we believe plyometrics, suicides, footwork or circuit type of training fits better for volleyball endurance. Any workout, which make you work for 5-10 seconds, then having a little break, then working again for 5-10 seconds, etc. is good for the volleyball specific conditioning.

Low Impact Plyometrics as Endurance Training

Low impact plyometrics is one example of volleyball conditioning, which developes endurance, but also works on quickness and footwork. Again, you make athletes work on 5-15 second bursts and allow only a little rest between the sets - to imitate the volleyball match.  Players repeat various sets after another. For example "ladder drills" or "dot drills" are good examples of low impact plyometrics.

You should include several sets of low impact plyometric exercises into each training session.  For example low impact jumps, various footwork drills such as ladder drills, dot drill, etc.  Look at "Other Endurance Drills" below for more examples.

Allow couple of minutes rest between those different sets - it imitates the break between the sets in the volleyball match.  This training could last anything from 30 min to more than one hour - depending on intensity.

Volleyball Off-Season Training - Endurance Training Examples

Volleyball Suicides

Running suicides between volleyball court lines. Coach could divide the area between back line and 10 foot (3 meter) line to half – to have equal 10 feet (3 meter) distance between each line. Keep the running phases relatively short, for example up to 10-20 seconds. Let players have a little rest between each set before going again.

Shuffle Between the Lines

One modification of suicides would be to shuffle back and forth between center line and 10 foot line. Again keep the work out phase relatively short, for example 8-15 seconds. Then repeat again after a little rest.

Other Endurance Drills

Instead of running/sprints you can use various footwork drills (shuffling) for endurance training.


An athlete jumps low jumps over the line (or imaginary line) with the fast tempo. The athlete starts from the right side of the line, jumps to the left side, back to the right side, back to the left side, etc.

You can perform several other drills on the line:

  • facing left or facing right when jumping over the line, or

  • jumping over the line with one foot only, or

  • tapping “left foot- right foot – left foot” as fast as you can the left side of the line. Then moving over the line and tapping “right foot- left foot- right foot” as fast as you can the right side of the line. Keep repeating this cycle. (Basically you touch three times each side of the line with your feet as quickly as you can).
    • you can do it also by facing left or facing right

  • Touching left side of the line with both feet (left-right), then touching right side of the line with both feet (right-left). You do touches unsimultaneously quickly after each other.

Real Volleyball Off-Season Training Starts after Transition Period

After transition period, athletes suppose to start more sports specific off-season training, which prepares athletes to the on-season competition.

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