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Volleyball was created in the United States 1896 and now more than 460,000 high school students play each year. It has become the third-most popular sport for high school girls. Luckily, the risk of severe injury is lower in volleyball than in other sports: volleyball players face mostly minor and overuse injuries.


Get Fit Tips from the NEBH Sports Performance Team

Volleyball uses a combination of both upper- and lower-body movements for jumping, changing direction, hitting, and setting the ball. In order to improve performance in the sport, you will need to increase muscular strength and power, as well as speed and agility. A well-balanced workout plan incorporating shoulder and leg exercises, footwork drills, and stretching should help you achieve your volleyball goals.

A warm-up is always a great way to start your workout. Try a light five-minute jog, before switching to side-shuffling in a low stance, eventually integrating a faster forward jog or skips.

Don’t forget to stretch! Now that your muscles are loose after a warm-up, it is a great time to stretch them out. Staying flexible should increase your performance and decrease risk of sports injuries.

Consider an agility ladder to improve footwork. Try not to step on the lines while running through, touching one foot down in each square. No ladder? Tape on a gym floor or even chalk outside will work.

Sprinting is a great way to work on speed. Changing direction during sprints and using cones as markers will make your workout more sport-specific.

To improve vertical height, try squats holding a kettlebell to strengthen the quadriceps and glutes. Box jumping is a great plyometric exercise to increase lower-body strength for volleyball players.

Your shoulders should be strong to help with hitting, blocking, and setting the ball. Overhead press targets the shoulders and upper arms, while bench press targets the chest musculature.

Increasing strength happens over time, so don’t give up if you aren’t seeing immediate results.

Preventing Injuries

To help prevent injury, make sure you practice these general safety tips:

  • Have a physical examination at the start of the season to make sure you’re healthy to play.
  • Ensure your equipment, such as your shoes and knee pads, fits properly.
  • Warm up and stretch before you play and cool down afterwards.
  • Participate in a conditioning course to strengthen your muscles, particularly ones statistically prone to injury.
  • Consult with your coach or athletic trainer about ways to prevent overuse injuries like tendonitis.
  • After an injury, only return to playing with permission from a medical professional.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Consider using support like an ankle brace to help prevent sprains, particularly if you have previously injured your ankle.
  • “Call” the ball to reduce chances of colliding with another player.

Common Injuries


Back, Neck, & Spine

Hand & Wrist

  • Tendon & ligament tears

Foot & Ankle

Injury Statistics

The overall injury rate in NCAA women’s volleyball is 4.3 per 1,000 athlete exposures (games and practices combined).

The injury percentage breakdown is:

Concussions (4.1%)

Head, face and neck (2.3%)

Upper limb (21.3%)

Torso and pelvis (13.8%)

Lower limb (51.1%)

Other (7.4%)


Remember to always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you have any type of persistent pain, be sure to see a doctor.


1 Statistics according to Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention
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