To Lift Weights or Not to Lift Weights?

Coach Houser examines the importance of strength-training for volleyball players

I received this yesterday from a coaching friend of mine. 

"Our team will be doing strength training at his facilty three days per week through the summer. I'm expecting to have 15-20 high school and junior high players going through the training. 
I'm really excited about it and hope it goes well. We have always been behind our rivals with our physical strength and I think this will go along way toward closing that gap." 
This is my answer:
Sure, this strength training is nice to have; but, always remember in volleyball, tennis and golf: strengh training is the A-1 sauce. It's not the meat & potatoes. 
The team I just coached finished 2nd in our region--one win from qualifying for nationals--and we did no weight training at all. 
I expected/asked my girls to do it on their own time. Because if we can't serve receive, set, serve, play our offense/defense correctly, and don't bond as a team, well, our strength will mean nothing. 
Of course being stronger, jumping higher is useful; but we're not coaching football or basketball or wrestling. 

Final Thoughts:

Some think I'm all wrong with this advice. But I've said it 100 times, have seen it 500 times, and my recent teams have proven it: Strength no more wins volleyball games than height does. 
Both help make the game a little easier, but they are keys to victory in about 0.01% of cases. 
Your serve receive is your No.1 priority. In the matches that you lose, you will probably get out-passed in 85 percent of them. You will get outserved in about 70 percent of them. If your team's defense looks like a fire drill, then it must be addressed. 
Do your setters make you cringe? Is your team not a bonded, tight pack of girls? 
If these areas aren't addressed successfully, then you have no chance of being successful, even if everyone on your team can bench 120 and all your front row players are 6'2.
AND the younger your team is, the LESS important height and strength are in winning.

Coach Tom Houser is director of STAR Volleyball Camps as well as author of the "I Can't Wait" Drill Collection and Ebooks. For more info check out

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