The Recipe to Win (Part 2)

For the past couple of years the FIVB has analyzed nearly every major volleyball competition in the world and created video compilations of each tournament. While browsing this amazing archive of volleyball clips, I noticed the length of the long rallies, especially with the men. The longest rally team USA had in the 2008 Olympics was only 16 seconds! The women averaged around 20 seconds. This realization led me to think about our body’s energy systems.


Here’s a “long rally” video for those who want to watch:

Now, check out this table about energy systems in regards to training.


While I watched more professional and collegiate volleyball I saw that most plays are 5-8 seconds with 20-30 seconds of rest. The rest is even longer for players not involved on the preceding play. Based on looking at the table, what energy systems do we use primarily? (Ignore the color and size bias I threw into the table :-))


We have established that volleyball is a phosphagen sport, while occasionally dabbling with fast glycolysis.


Let’s apply this knowledge to training. Often times people are not training the right energy system for their sport. It is illogical for an olympic weight lifter to train by running 2 miles. While training should vary depending on the proximity to the competition period, the energy demands of volleyball will not change and should always be kept in mind.


Often times when working in the phosphagen energy cycle, like in a volleyball game, the athlete is not experiencing the grueling pain of lactic acid build up that would normally occur in long intense activities. This brings me back to last week’s post – volleyball players don’t have to work so hard that they collapse on the floor after each in-practice punishment or training session. Even if you train with such intensity that you can’t walk the next day, it won’t necessarily translate into success on the court. Training must be methodical and purposeful.

What energy systems are you training in?

Comments and questions are encouraged!

Train smarter to play harder


Austin Einhorn, CSCS

-Volleyball skills & conditioning specialist.

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