Beavers Focus On Strength And Conditioning In The Winter

Feb. 25, 2003

February is not the time of year when the average person thinks about volleyball. But for the Oregon State volleyball team, the winter is one of the most important training periods during the year from a strength and conditioning standpoint. Although the NCAA restricts the number of hours of training to eight hours per week during this time, the team takes full of advantage of the time they have and commit to a strenuous ten-week program under the direction of volleyball strength coach, Andy Dendas MS, ATC, CSCS. Andy is in his fourth year as a full-time member of the OSU strength and conditioning staff and completing his first full year with the volleyball program.

Following is a brief interview with Oregon State volleyball strength coach Andy Dendas:

When developing the team's winter program this year, what goals did you have in mind?

After meeting with the coaching staff and athletic trainer Kim Frostad, we developed individual goals for each player with the emphasis on increasing strength, flexibility, endurance and speed. We wanted the off season to be about players' strengths and weaknesses, so that each player's program would best provide them with opportunities to improve in needed areas.

What would be an example of that?

Well, for instance, some players, especially our freshmen, needed to focus on making strength gains. Their programs are designed differently versus a senior middle blocker whose individual goals were to make big gains in flexibility and quickness. At the same time every player has to make gains in power, strength, speed, and agility during our ten-week off-season training cycle.

How do you know where each athlete needs to improve?

Again, the coaches, trainer, and I talk about which areas of the game they believe the athlete is excelling in, and where they need to improve. The athletes also give us feedback. We all have to work closely together to create the optimal training program for each athlete and OSU Volleyball Program

How is the program moving the athletes toward their goals?

The results have been good so far. They are making good strength gains and we can all see them popping off the floor better during individual workouts. Our volume of conditioning has increased each week and I feel good about their level of conditioning right now. I'm excited to test their power gains with a max vertical jump and in the power clean, strength gains in the back squat and bench press, flexibility in the sit and reach test at the end of this winter term. During this time we have also increased our anaerobic endurance, speed, and quickness. But the most important test will come from the coaches and the improvements they see during the individual gym sessions. That's when I know what we are doing is working.

How will your philosophy change when the team resumes team training in April?

We'll ease into a progression from our off-season training to our pre-season training to prepare for the 2003 competitive season. The training phases within a calendar year are always in place - establish a training base by building a foundation and then transitioning that to peak power, so we our physically and mentally ready for our competitive season. During spring quarter, when the squad resumes on-court training as a team again, we will work to maintain the strength gains from the winter term, so that the progression into our power phase during the summer is a forward progression without taking any steps backward. The volume of conditioning is decreased, because the volleyball training provides the conditioning element. We'll keep working on our quickness with our plyometric training and agility workouts.

What's the best part about working with the OSU Volleyball team?

The best part is definitely working with a coaching staff, trainer, and players that are committed to working hard and improving everyday. It makes my job so much easier and much more enjoyable to work with individuals who push to the limit every time we condition and lift. I truly believe the harder you work the better your opportunities. Only good things can come from this successful off-season.

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