You love a bench press.
You love a back squat.
You love to play sport.
Could the first two be hurting the third?
"Go on," I hear you think.
The short term responses and long term adaptations, if left un-offset, will cause, contribute or complicate your ability to move well, move often and move fast.
"Be specific," I hear you think.
You bench so much that you have great bulk and tone in your pecs and anterior deltoid. Looks great, feels great. Except that tone creates an internal rotation at the glenohumeral joint. If the pec minor is tonic as well (and it will be), it creates anterior tilt and/or protraction at the scapulo-thoracic joint.
So what, I hear you think?
Well, the now what is that now you can't externally rotate your shoulder enough to get under the bar comfortably in a back squat, particularly a low-bar back squat. Let me keep going before you feel the need for another "so what". So now you have to find another way to get your hands on the bar and you need more spine extension. Well, that weighted bar on your spine has been pushing your spinous processes down towards each other and they've responded and adapted to rest in an extended position so much that you are already extended at the thoracic spine. Plus, you remember you should lock your lumbar spine into extension when you squat heavy, so you do, and that means you also anterior tilt your pelvis. So now you go into loaded hip flexion where the hip was already pushed into flexion by the anterior pelvic tilt, and you load your quads, because, well, it's squat day and big quads matter, and that rectus femoris tone develops, and the deepest tendon attachment of the rectus femoris attaches at the ilium, across the hip joint, creating more hip flexion tone and hip extension restriction.
So, now you're accelerating running, lack hip extension even though you've been training your glutes in the squat rack, lack shoulder extension because of the bench adaptations, and your quads are highly tonic. The leg swing is propelled by passive elastic tension in the quads and your hamstrings have to brake the tibia that is swung forward by a rampantly elastic set of hip flexors and quads. Ping. Hamstring tear. So, do more nordics, that'll fix it.
Plus, as you swing the leg through, the opposite leg can't express hip extension range, because, (well, see above re effect of rectus femoris and anterior pelvic tilt and lumbar extension and restricted thorax and big chest), and so your ability to separate legs in acceleration is limited, and you're just not accelerating fast enough, despite doing "all the right strength training" and not enough of the offset training.
Right. Ahhhh. So, what's the offset training?
Come on, weigh in, you're better than that. You come up with training, based on revealed limitations, to improve movement where you don't have it. Being strong matters, but how strong is strong enough and what are you doing to offset the negative adaptations?
The racecar driver says, "I can’t go around those left turns very well."
The mechanic reveals that there’s a kinetic chain issue from steering column to wheel, so either,
a) There is a part that is broken,
b) There is a part that is restricted,
c) The parts move but but there’s a hydraulics leakage or an electrical signal issue from steering.
The car is the volleyball players body. The driver is their will.
The broken parts are bad energy - pain, toxins, inflammation and similar.
The restricted parts are blocked energy - mobility restrictions.
The hydraulics and electrical issues are leaked energy - stability and motor control issues.
The role of the mechanic is to give the driver access to all the cars movements that they want to race how they want.
So, the role of the sports physio in volleyball is to give athletes access to all the movements their coaches want.
Don't jump the gun just yet. Your athletes will mostly ask you to help them get out of pain.
Sometimes they’ll ask you for exercises to help them do something better.
To advance your sports physio career in volleyball, your unique selling position is to NOT miss what you need to find when they come to you for help, from a movement perspective. Plugging a leak doesn't guarantee the steering works. Unblocking hydraulics or spraying a nut with lubricant doesn't guarantee they can go around the bend.
The final point is to be accountable to help your athletes win the race and put your hand up when you're missing something. I'll help you find it, like so many of my teaching colleagues. Here to help, comment if you want to know more. And if you don't want to ask for help yet, check out my articles page for examples and deeper explanations of being a sports physio in volleyball.