A high school coach, who had attended one of our Power Hitting Clinics, recently asked how we deal with middle school or junior high players who commonly: 1) drop their elbow, 2) push the ball and 3) lunge forward when trying to spike a volleyball. The article and video shows how we address these issues.
Change the Words & The Images
Hit Harder by Swinging Harder to Increase Arm Speed
My bias is that young volleyball player's have the wrong thoughts and images in their head's in regards to how they should be trying to increase arm speed. Many if not most of them have heard from coaches that they need to increase arm speed to hit the ball harder. While this is true, it's only part of the story!
You can hit harder by just simply swinging your arm harder and faster, but often times this leads to shoulder pain and worse can lead to injury. Simply swinging the arm harder can put a lot of stress on the small muscles around the hitting arm shoulder. Mechanically, it's just not very well tolerated because the muscles are so small around a middle school or junior high athletes hitting shoulder, especially in young female athletes.
Hit Harder by Creating Arm Whip to Increase Arm Speed
When an athlete learns (FEELS) that they can increase arm speed to hit harder by learning to use the strength of their entire body to WHIP the arm through, they will quickly become much more dynamic, athletic and will not only hit harder but they will protect their hitting shoulder in the process.
Teach Biomechanically Sound Arm MEchanics - The Powercore 360 1, 2, 3's
In our Power Hitting Clinics, we teach young athletes three simple steps to learn how to move their hitting arm with the turn of their body to hit harder and tolerate hitting harder.
- Step 1 - Squeeze Shoulder Blades Together & Draw Arm Back Under Chin
- Step 2 - Externally Rotate the Hitting Shoulder
- Step 3 - Turn the Hips & Chest in Sequence to Whip the Hitting Arm & Hand Through the Ball
Activate & Strengthen the Pects.
The chest muscles can be a great source of power to increase arm speed to hit harder. But to activate and use the pects. (pectoralis major) the movement of the hitting arm (right arm for right handed hitter) needs to move correctly by moving back underneath the chin. When performed correctly, the movement of the upper arm will stretch, activate and strengthen the right pect. muscles and the result will be immediate improvements in observed arm motion, arm speed and ball speed.
We use our Powercore 360 resistance bands and a PC360 Arm Cuff to give the athlete the feel for how to move the hitting arm correctly, to activate the key chest muscles and to strengthen the rotator cuff as the athlete slowly performs the hitting motion.
Blended Hitting Drills
After the activation drills are complete, hitters take the resistance bands off and immediately hit balls into a net or wall to feel how to move their hitting arms correctly as they actually hit balls. Their arms and shoulder will develop the correct muscle memory and their arms will move dynamically, athletically and they will feel immediate increases in arm and ball speed.
After hitting balls on the ground, we will next go into the air to learn to feel how to use the arm in the air.
Powercore 360 Clinics
Powercore 360 Volleyball Power Hitting Clinic information can be found here.