New Mexico Beach Volleyball Videos

Aspen Battle, 2007 Part I Part II

Saturday, March 18, 2006

One more practice...

We got out for one more practice today before we head to California next week. It was a cool and very, very windy day in Albuquerque. Our friends Rob, Jorge and Matt J. came out to play with us. While we all struggled with the gusty wind (probably up to 35 mph or so), we still had some good rallies and decent games. The best part about playing in the wind is coming back another day when there's no wind, makes the game seem so much more simple. I guess out here it's a bit different from ocean breezes that are a little more consistent, so adjustments are easier. Anyhow, Loric and I ran a coupl of drills afterwards, and I suppose we're ready for the trip. I've been hearing the weather hasn't been great in CA, so not a lot of folks have been playing. We're hoping for warmth and sunshine.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Season's First Tournament!

It's set and confirmed! We're heading to the Mecca, Southern California, to start the season off. We'll be out playing the California Beach Volleyball Association (CBVA) tourneys on 3/25 and 3/26 at Dockweiler. We'll be driving out on the 24th, and heading to Loric's in-law's home. The 25th is a AA event and the 26th is an open. We're excited because the competition is guaranteed to be very strong. This is a great way to start the season and help us to gauge and focus for the rest of the year. Of course, us desert dwellers are always stoked for the opportunity to get near the ocean, especially after a winter as dry as the one we had here. We're looking to a good time and some good volleyball! We'll let you know how it turns out. Wish us luck!

Back in the Sand

Allright, it's still winter, technically, but the month of March started off with some pretty nice and warm weather, so we were able to get out and play in the sand a couple of times. We hit the usual stomping ground of High Desert courts in Albuquerque. With a couple of our friends (Rob & Matt G.) and Loric's dad (who's been keeping in great shape) we had two weekends of playing. Things always wind up a little rough at the beginning, but I'm kind of happy with the level Loric and I are starting at. The ball control was pretty good, and Loric seems to be jumping even higher this year, which will amaze anyone who saw him play last year. I felt good on the ball control side, passing and setting were pretty smooth. Movement wasn't all that bad either. I had a hard time with timing and pulling myself out of the sand. I guess my legs were still feeling heavy from all the lifting in the winter. All in all, I think we're starting close to where we ended last season.
Since we last got out there a couple of weekends ago, I've been doing a lot more plyometric, cardio and quickness training. I've been able to get out in the sand here, by myself and with my friend Steph. Movement drills that simulate game situations, like blocking, approaches, dropping off the net, and sprints are an accelerated way to help get sand legs. I also have a rope I tie between the net poles, since there is no permanent net. Typically I set the rope a little above knee height and do bunny hops across, back and forth 4-6 times. Then I'll do one leg sticks, pushing off one leg over the rope and landing on the opposite leg, holding for a couple of seconds, then repeating. I'll finish the rope work with some quick bunny hops, lowering the rope down to about my shins. This works on quickness and explosiveness. The idea is to move like the ground is really hot, or lava or something and minimize contact time, emphasizing quickness over height. I'll also do "star sprints", 15 ft forward, backpeddal, 15 ft left, back to center, 15 ft back, sprint to center, 15 ft right, back to center, sprint forward. Gotta get those lungs going. I'll then end with some depth jumps in a deep spot in the sand. I've got a 13 lb weight belt I strap on, go into full squat, then try to get maximum height. 10 to 15 of those, 3 times and I'm good.

In the gym, I've been lightening the loads, doing more compound exercises, stability and core work. One of my 3 days includes plyo work, depth jumps and related drills. I think the quickness is coming back.

Even though it snowed last weekend, this weekend is supposed to be a little nicer, although it may be windy. We're planning on getting out there with a few guys, so I'll see if that training's going to pay off.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Winter Volleyball Training

OK, so it's been a dry, warm winter out here in New Mexico. I was hoping to get out and do some snowshoeing to stay in shape. Only problem - no snow. So, it was a winter spent in the gym. Here's how it went:
After loosing third game leads in both Aspen and Phoenix, I was determined to get into much better shape for the next season so as to not have to suffer through those kinds of experiences again. Certainly both teams that beat us in those matches were worthy and played well, but I can't shake the feeling that I was not in as good of a condition as I should be at the end of those tournaments. So, I went on a book buying binge. I got a couple of books by Don Chu dealing with explosive strength and plyometrics, another book on plyomentrics, one on functional training in sports, a book on mental conditioning (Ken Baum's the Mental Edge - I strongly reccomend this one), and a book on tape on sports psychology. Jeeze, guess I was motivated at the end of the season because I tore through all of the books in record time. Most of the plyo ones are good resources for different exercises. Time to turn the book knowledge into something useful.
I started off in late October. I was working on the last 2 phases of the Core Performance program. I had previously worked through the first six weeks, and this was the final six. It's a pretty comprehensive program with a lot of functional training, that is working muscle groupings rather than isolation. It also covers things such as flexibility, elasticity, balance and stability and cardio conditioning. Good stuff. I got through 4 weeks of that before hooking up with my online trainer.
I'll have to find out if she wants to be identified by name, but I connected with a trainer with tons of experience through the AVP forums. I explained my situation, goals and committment and she helped to put together a program. Main thing for me was to build strength. A lot of what I had been reading pointed to increasing vertical jump and explosiveness often begins with increasing your strength base. So, for 8 weeks I worked out 4 to 5 days a week, giving each body part about 4 or 5 days of rest. I worked drop sets 12-10-8-6 with increasing weight. This helped a lot, and I got way stronger. All the benchmarks for strength of an athlete my size were finally starting to add up. I also started gaining weight, setting forth on my goal of gaining 15 lbs. I was able to add about 8 of lean body mass during this phase. The other important part was that I had to focus on my eating habits and increase my protein and caloric intake. I also did no cardio.
OK, week off, then time for the next phase. This one was brutal. Absolutely brutal. It was a 5x5 program. That means 5 sets of 5 reps of the same weight for each exercise, and that weight should be heavy, starting around 80% of a 1rm and increasing each week. Each body part was hit 3 times a week. The program was modified for volleyball, so it had more relevant exercises like squats, deadlifts, BB rows, etc. This was known as a loading phase, where the body was kept in a constant state of fatigue and breakdown. Did I mention I got sick a lot this winter? The worst was during this phase, I guess part of the breakdown inlcuded my immune system. Anyhow, at the end of 4 weeks (3.5 for me actually, my cold forced me to stop short), I went through a deload phase, allowing the body to recover. The end result was my body returned stronger than when it started. Again lots of calories and no cardio. My overall weight went up another 2 pounds.
I took about a week and a half off after that, and boy I needed it. Back to the gym and I'm in my current phase. Right now, 3 days a week working with weights. I'm doing more functional exercises, such as 1 leg roman deadlifts, front squats to press, Bulgarian squats, etc. I've also added complex training, such as doing squat jumps after the squat to press, split jumps after Bulgarian Squats, etc. Plyometrics have entered the picture now, since I have a solid strength foundation and the risk of injury is reduced. I should also mention I've been doing lots of active stretching prior to workouts and static stretching afterwards throughout the training sessions. This is giving me a greater range of motion and I believe will translate well in game situations. I'm also back doing cardio, mostly on the elliptical machine, working interval training. It takes a little while to get your wind when you're starting at 7000 feet elevation, but I'm slowly getting there. As this phase progresses, I'll be doing more plyometrics (Like box jumps), 2-3 times a week and continue with the cardio, flexibility and functional training. I'm really trying to build stabilizer muscles throughout my core, legs and shoulders, since these subtle guys play a huge role. And of course it is getting warm now, so that means some fun stuff in the sand, but we'll save that for another post.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

About Our Team

Loric and Adam first came together during a King of the Beach event in New Mexico, where individual players compete against each other by changing teammates, early in the 2005 season. They tied for first place at that tournament, with equivalent point totals. They decided to team up for the prestigious King of the Mountain event in Vail. With several weeks to train and a strong finish in a local tournament, they placed well in Vail, finishing 9th out of 27. A highlight of the event was nearly upsetting a duo of current USA indoor volleyball national team members. Loric and Adam continued to play events during the season, winning several local events in New Mexico. In September, they teamed to play the challenging Motherlode tournament in Aspen, the nation’s largest pro/am event. The team finished 9th out of a field of 67 in the top division, the highest of any team from New Mexico in the events 33 year history, and coming within points of an even higher placing. The duo won the 10th annual Badass Grass event in Albuquerque. They closed the season with an appearance in the finals at an event in Arizona. Not only did they play well and finish strong in every event, they had a lot of fun doing it! This year, Loric and Adam are setting out to have strong finishes in higher caliber tournaments. They both anxiously await the challenges the new season brings.