Developing skills is an important factor in volleyball skills. Just as important is the development of muscle. There are many conditioning drills for the lower body, but strengthening wrist muscles is a necessary part of training also. Your players will use their wrists as much as their arms and legs, so they need to be conditioned also. Fortunately, there are some good volleyball drills that will help with these often overlooked areas of the body.
Working with a medicine ball can greatly strengthen the muscles in the wrists. Use the medicine ball much as you would a normal ball in other volleyball drills. Have your players stand, holding the medicine ball in there hands above their head. Use the wrists to toss the ball straight up about 2 inches or so then catch it again with both hands together. Repeating this 10 times will give your players a good set. A good variation of this is to have the players sitting with their arms over their head. A teammate drops the ball onto their hands, so the sitting player catches it with their hands, working the wrists. Have the dropping player vary the height by small increments to increase the resistance required on the wrist.
Using free-weights can be a good source of developing muscle tone for the wrists also. Have your players stand with their arms over a bench, positioned so that only their elbows rest on the bench. They will hold a barbell in position that places the bar straight in front of them, but parallel to the ground. Slowly, have your players roll their wrists downward, allowing gravity to pull the bar down. When the bar has reached the bottom of this arc, have your players then slowly bring it back to the upright position. This should be repeated 10 to 15 times in a row.
Using dumbbells can help with wrist strength also. Using hammer curls is a great way to develop wrist and forearm strength at the same time. You accomplish this by having your players stand with their hands lowered at their side, holding onto a dumbbell. While keeping the upper arms pinned in contact with the payers’ chest, slowly lower the dumbbell like they were swinging a hammer. Using the same dumbbell, you can intermix other exercises into you routine of volleyball drills, during down times. You can have the players roll he dumbbell up and down, similar to the way they would roll a full-sized barbell. Another great wrist strengthener is to have your players hold their hands over their heads yet behind them, holding the dumbbell with both hands. Slowly have them straighten out their arms, causing the dumbbell to be lifted over the height of their head, then lower it again. All of these dumbbell exercises should be repeated 10 times each.
Using these exercises between some of your volleyball drills will help develop the wrist muscles of your entire team. You will see the difference after one or two sessions. The players’ hits will become more powerful and the ball will start to travel faster, as the muscles in this small group become stronger and more flexible. A strong wrist is essential in volleyball, whether running volleyball drills or in a real life game. When you see the score at the end of the game, you will realize that all of the hard work was worth it.