Evaluation Of Strength And Conditioning With On-court Success In Division I Collegiate Volleyball: A Retrospective Study

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Strength, fitness, and athleticism are often emphasized in sport, but there is little evidence addressing the relationship of these variables to performance.
PURPOSE: To assess relationships between strength and conditioning (SC) measures and game performance in Division I volleyball.
METHODS: Five years of data, were collected from one women’s Division I collegiate team, n = 76. All game and SC stats were normalized to z-scores. SC measures included: T-drill, 18.3 m sprint, squat, hang clean, sprint recovery test, vertical jump, and broad jump. ANOVA was used to assess performance differences by position, and multiple stepwise regression was used to assess relationships between game and SC stats.
RESULTS: There was a significant difference by position for broad jump (p =.002), 18.3 m sprint (p =.036), vertical (p < .001), and total strength (p =.019). Overall, there was a significant correlation between on-court performance and SC measures (r = .439, p <.001). Significant position-specific correlations (p < .05) are as follows: defensive specialist, total strength with digs (r =.798); setters, hang cleans with assists (r =.818) and digs (r =.886), broad jump with block assists (r =.846) and total game performance (r =.801); outside hitters, vertical with digs (r =.444) and total game success (r =.529), and total strength with kills (r =.660) and errors (r =.577); middle blockers, broad jump with kills (r =.694), errors (r =.736), block assists (r =.705), block solos (r =.691), and total game success (r =.594).
CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that some SC measures correlate well with on-court performance and are specific by position. A prudent training approach may be for SC coaches to focus on improving specific measures by position, which could then translate to improved game performance.
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