How to jump higher in volleyball: the best drills

Jumping is essential in volleyball if you want to attack or defend. In offense, it is used to spike and serve higher. In defense, it is mainly used to set a block. Not enough coaches pay attention to this. In this post, we are going to discuss how you can jump higher. This can give you an edge over other players. Let’s dive in.

Jumping vertically: Improve your technique 

Jumping high in the air is all about the right technique. Often 3, 4, or 5 steps are used before you start jumping. The first few steps are often done quite slow. Then a big step is used to improve your speed so that you can jump higher. This allows you to gradually speed up so that you can use all that energy when you push yourself off the ground. This is done with the ball of your foot and not with just your toes as this offers more power. 

The goal is to turn the forward energy into upwards energy. This is done by turning your body, and it is further explained in the video below:

You have to pay attention to your torso, your arms, and the angle that your feet are in if you want to get it completely right. You start by focusing on one of these and then gradually you start adding more and more points. The problem is that a lot of players have is that they focus on too many things at once. Start with improving your steps, then you work on the direction of your feet and it is only at the end that you pay attention to your torso. It can take several weeks before you are able to do everything at the same time. Trust the process and eventually, you will be able to do everything at the same time. This can be challenging as you have to think about a lot of things at the same time but after a while, you will get the hang of it. 

Landing is essential in volleyball as well as you need to be able to take part in the game again as soon as possible. This is done by bending your knees and using your hands to reduce the impact. This is also something that you have to train to make sure that you get this right. 

You should work on this every week so that you can jump higher after a while. Filming yourself can help you with this as you can slow down the images and rewatch them. This will allow you to see what you are doing right and wrong. You can discuss this with your coach to see what you can improve.

Increase your strength with jump training

There are several ways to increase your strength. You can jump on a trampoline and also use ankle weights when you jump. This will strengthen your legs and allow them to push harder.  You have to build this up gradually and don’t force things. It can take weeks or even months before you see results from this. Some drills are explained in the following video. Always check with your coach before doing this. You also have to make sure that you don’t lose agility when you work on this part. 

Professional volleyball players are realizing the importance of this and are using these types of drills more often than before. Volleyball is not a contact sport and this type of training was therefore often neglected in the past. There are tools that allow them to track their progress. For example, you can hit poles with your hand to see how high you can jump. It is possible to keep track of this over time to see the progress that you are making. This is essential because what gets tracked also gets improved. 

In beach volleyball, these drills are even more important as it can be quite difficult to jump in the sand, especially after it has rained. Therefore these players spend a lot of time perfecting their jumping skills.

Get the timing right: get a high vertical jump

If you don’t get the timing right, you can jump too early or too late. 

You have to anticipate how the other team is going to act if you want to find the extract time to jump in defense. This can be very challenging. Therefore it is essential that you can start playing again soon after you land. This makes sure that you can participate in the rally even if your block didn’t stop the ball. It has to be noted that you are not allowed to touch the net. If you don’t get your timing right, you might end up in the net so be careful that you don’t jump too late. 

This is further explained in the following video by Olympic medal winner Rachael Adams: 

In offense, you also need to get your timing right. With the advent of jump serves, jumping has become an integral part of a serve. If you jump too early, you might get the ball in the net as you don’t have enough power to get it over the net. Given that you throw the ball yourself, this is easier to time.

When it comes to a spike, you have to communicate with the setter to make sure that you will get the ball in the right position and at the moment that you want it. This will make it easier to time your jump. 

Highest vertical jump volleyball

Wilfredo Leon is often credited with the highest vertical jump in volleyball. With over 12 feet in height, he easily got above the net. This player measures over 6 foot 5 himself but he is almost able to double this by jumping vertically in the air. This outside hitter was able to jump very high when he served. Doing this on a consistent basis showed that his technique was really good. Players often can jump very high when they jump serve as they can control the pace of their movements. When they have to hit, it is not always possible to do this as you have to adjust to the pass that you are receiving. This is why players can jump very high when they serve. They are also able to practice a lot. Wilfredo is currently playing in Italy so it is possible that he can increase his jump in the coming years.

This jump allows him to a add a lot of power to the ball. You have to believe that you can do it as you need to throw the ball in the air when you jump serve to be able to push it over the net. Doing this during a training session is one thing but during a match is another. If you miss the serve, you coach is going to be upset. Therefore it requires a lot of practice and hand-eye coordination to get this right. A lot of players can do this once or twice but doing this consistently is a big challange and shows the talents of professional players. Let’s take a look at his actions below:

To conclude, we can state that jumping higher is a lot about having the right technique, timing, and making sure that you have the optimal strength. It can take several weeks or even months before you get there. Don’t get discouraged and keep practicing. This will really improve your block, serves, and spikes.