Ankle Strengthening for Volleyball Players

We’ve been here before. Our coaches and athletic trainers told us, but you thought it wouldn’t happen to you. You just rolled your ankle and now you’re wondering do I have to wear ankle braces for life when I play volleyball? Yes and no.

Ankle braces are a wonderful way to protect yourself from this horrible injury. If you talk to your coach, doctor or athletic trainer, they will recommend ankle braces when practicing and playing on the court. Active Ankle and Mizuno Ankle Braces are the top-rated and most commonly used braces around. You can find great deals on both here. However, there are several simple exercises that you can do additionally to strengthen and prevent. Thanks to, we have listed a few. Perform these after your warm-up and stretching routine to gain the most benefit.

Balance Training:

Standing on one leg: Hold for 30 seconds, working up to one minute per leg.

Balance and catch: Standing on one leg, catch and throw a ball with a partner. Make certain to throw the ball right, left, high, low. Perform three sets of 30.

One leg mini squats: On one leg do a half squat with the opposite leg out front for 10 reps, out to the side for 10 reps and behind for 10 reps. Repeat three times.

Strengthening: The ankle can be strengthened in several ways. The first exercise uses thera-band for resisted range of motion. Thera-band can be purchased at a medical supply store. When performing the following exercises, place the band around the top of the foot and curl the toes at the end of the movement to work the internal muscles of the foot. Perform three sets of 20 in each direction.

Calf Raises: Calf raises should be done both seated and standing to strengthen both calf muscles and the Achilles tendon. Perform 3 sets of 20.

Scissor hops: Begin in a lunge position. Jump and switch feet in mid-air landing with the opposite foot forward.

Standing squat jumps: Begin in a quarter squat position. Jump from that position and land softly.

Bounding: On the toes, take large bounding steps in at about 50 percent of running maximum speed. One repetition should be about 50 feet.

1st Place Volleyball Blog: Warm it Up with Professional Trainer, Barry Lovelace

1st Place Volleyball brings you the best way to WARM IT UP with Sports Specific Trainer, Barry Lovelace, in this week’s Drills and Skills.

Pre-game is an exciting time for athletes and coaches alike. It’s the time when we finalize mental preparations, team build and prepare our bodies for the physical demands to come. Before your team hits the court it’s important to warm up our muscles. We spoke with sports performance specialist, Barry Lovelace with Athlete Training Academy, and asked his take on this subject. This is what he had to say:

Warming up is very important. Often coaches and players alike don’t like to take the time to warm up and I can’t stress enough how much I disagree with that. Entering a volleyball game with warm, flexible muscles is not only important for injury prevention but it’s also a  way of alerting our bodies that there is work ahead.

The following is a simple and highly effective way to warm up your team that is also very time efficient. Go from one exercise to the next with no break in between.

1) Jog – Start out with a nice, easy jog. Keep with this for about 2 minutes.

2) High Knee Skip- Skip forward and as you do, drive your knee upward toward your chest with each skip. Use a full-range, exaggerated arm action; the opposite arm comes forward and up with each skip. Keep with this for a minute or two.

3) Butt Kick – Run forward and attempt to touch your butt with your heels. Thighs should be perpendicular to the floor. Lean your upper body slightly forward.

4) Lateral Shuffle – Move laterally (sideways) to the right by stepping out to the side with your right foot and then bringing your left foot to meet your right foot without crossing your feet. Keep your body square and do not twist. Upper body should lean slightly forward. Move to the right for ten shuffles and then to the left for 10 shuffles. Repeat 4-5 times.

5) Lateral Lunge – Take a big step out to the right side, lowering your hips and bending your right knee until the thigh is near parallel to the floor. Keep the left leg as straight as possible. Step your left leg in to meet your right leg. That is 1 lateral lunge. Do 10 to the right and 10 to the left.

6) Shoulders Front Raise – Stand with feet hip distance apart holding volleyball in both hands, arms straight down, ball against thighs. Use your shoulders to raise the ball to just above forehead height keeping the arms straight the entire time. Lower back down to starting position. Do 20 repetitions.

7) Raise and Slam – Perform shoulder raise as above. Begin to move arms back down and when arms are just past hip height release ball to the ground. Do 12 at half speed (simply releasing the ball down to the ground) and 12 at full speed (slamming the ball to the ground).

There you have it. A complete and total body warm-up that will prepare your volleyball player for the game ahead.

For more information on Barry Lovelace and Sport Specific Training, email him directly at