While cardiovascular activity is vital to volleyball training, it is simply not enough to meet volleyball's vigorous demands. Therefore, the second kind of endurance needed for volleyball conditioning is
Muscular endurance may be defined as the ability of the muscles to repeatedly apply force (strength and power) or to sustain muscular contractions over an extended period of time. Muscular endurance, or the lack
of it, is easily measured by simply putting the muscles to work at a specific task or activity and then seeing how long they can stay at it.
In volleyball, muscular endurance is most
necessary in the legs to sustain the varied and intense patterns of quick acceleration, quick stops, direction changes, jumps and recovery. Without good muscular endurance, players would
soon tire, movement to play the ball would slow down, and the ability of muscles and muscle groups to perform complex skills would soon diminish, resulting in poor play.
Old training techniques, not only in volleyball
but in all sports, began with endless laps run around gymnasiums and ball fields. This type of training, seen daily on our streets and in our parks, is the now-popular conditioning program
called jogging. This kind of running does accomplish increased cardiovascular endurance by developing good aerobic capacity.
However, volleyball is not played at a jogging pace. Being required to accelerate quickly, in short bursts over short distances repeatedly over the course of a series of volleyball games, demands much more than
cardiovascular fitness. If muscular endurance has not been attained, cardiovascular fitness will simply not be enough to carry a volleyball player through prolonged competition.
Coaches and players soon realize that the muscular endurance needed to play volleyball had to come from activities specifically designed to make the muscles stronger and more
efficient. It was obvious that low or moderate levels of running would not and could not provide the necessary muscular strength and endurance.
The sprint starts, short bursts of speed in all directions, the vertical jumps to spike or block the ball all demand intensive responses to repeated situations. Muscle groups are called on
over and over again to perform short-duration intense activities.
The short duration of the specific intensive activity precludes the demand for oxygen since the action is performed and over with rather quickly. The muscles are energized by the store of
energy in them, provided by carbohydrates, most notably glycogen. This kind of energy formation is called anaerobic, meaning without air or oxygen.
For a further example of how this energy is used, let us look at a 60-yard-dash sprinter. The sprinter completes the race so quickly that it is unnecessary to breathe at all during the event.
Nearly all the energy needed to complete the short dash is stored energy. The cardiovascular endurance factor will come into play, as we shall see later, in the recovery period.
The energy stored in the muscles won't last for more than about two minutes under normal conditions. Muscular endurance training is aimed at conditioning the muscles to
tolerate the conversion process of energy into muscular action and to handle the wastes of that conversion more efficiently. The muscles in turn become stronger and more efficient in
response to intense demand. The more efficient the muscles become in working under anaerobic condition, the greater their tolerance will become for intensive work.
With these basics in mind, it becomes obvious that muscular strength and endurance and cardiovascular endurance provide the player with the capability for performing repeated, intense,
vigorous activities. Cardiovascular endurance provides the overall fitness framework that allows efficient recovery to be made between heavy work demands.