By Evan Midford, Website & Social Media Coordinator

As volleyball season is quickly approaching, training sessions and practices have begun. It is important for volleyball athletes to be aware of the most common injuries that can occur during play or practice, including rolled ankles, jumpers knee, and rotator cuff injuries.

Dr. Gail Sawa, a physician at the Sport Manitoba Clinic, stresses that providing volleyball athletes with knowledgeable injury prevention techniques and tactics will allow them to protect their bodies accordingly.


Proper Warm-up/Cooldown


Performing a proper warm-up is not only critical in volleyball but in any type of exercise. Warming-up prepares your body for activity by raising your body temperature and increasing blood flow to your muscles. Warm-ups and stretching assist in injury prevention by loosening your joints and, as mentioned, improving the blood flow to your muscles, making it more difficult for them to tear or rip by falls or awkward landings. Stretching is important before practices or games because it keeps your muscles flexible and strong to sustain a proper range of motion within the joints. Sport Manitoba Performance provides an excellent resource explaining why we should warm-up.  

Click here for some dynamic (movement) warm-up ideas from Sport Manitoba.



Many athletes neglect this critical part of recovery and injury prevention. Performing a cooldown after a game, practice or training session allows for your heart rate and blood pressure to moderately return to their pre-exercise or competition levels. A cooldown can involve a series of light exercises including an easy jog and stretching activities. 

In terms of injury prevention, cooldowns are just as important as the warm-up. Stopping an activity without cooling down can cause harmful compounds and lactic acid to build up in the muscles, which can cause discomfort and stiffness the next day; this can limit movement and be highly uncomfortable. 

Check out some 10-minute cooldown ideas here.



Proper Plyometric Training

Dr. Sawa recommends plyometric training to assist in preventing knee injuries. Plyometric training, often known as jump training, consists of strength-building exercises that require muscles to produce maximum force in the shortest amount of time. Although these motions are mostly employed in athlete training, they can be beneficial to anyone.

Plyometrics is a type of exercise that involves lengthening/decelerating (eccentric) muscular contractions to aid in the development of explosive power for sports. This movement is particularly common in volleyball players, and therefore, can aid in injury prevention if done appropriately.

The majority of acute injuries are caused by landing rather than jumping. This may seem foolish, but athletes must train with precise alignment and landing placement in order to be prepared for uncomfortable landings in the future. For further information and exercises on plyometric training, click here to see Sport Manitoba Performance break it down in detail.


Flexibility in Joints

Volleyball includes an array of high-impact movements such as jumping, landing, cutting, and planting. By performing these bodily movements repetitively, the protective muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the joints can temporarily weaken.

Incorporating flexibility movements into training helps muscles reduce the stress on joints and ligaments. Flexibility promotes range of motion, technique, and the ability to exert more force. As a result, implementing a volleyball-specific strength, conditioning, and flexibility program greatly aids in injury prevention.

Click here to view three of the greatest volleyball stretches that will help you improve your game and prevent injury.


Shoulder Stability and Rotator Cuff Strength

One of the most crucial components of training for a volleyball player is shoulder maintenance, both preventative and post-injury. Because the shoulder is the most movable joint in the body, it relies largely on muscles to keep it stable. To prevent dislocations, the muscles around the shoulder, particularly the rotator cuff, play a critical role in squeezing the head of the humerus into the socket of the glenoid fossa.

Some exercises that Evolution Physical Therapy suggested for volleyball players to help strengthen shoulder stability and rotator cuff strength include:

  • Standing 90/90 External Rotation (2 sets x 15 reps each side)
  • 90/90 Overhead Press (2 sets x 15 reps each side)
  • External Rotation Reaches (2 sets x 5 reps each direction)
  • Prone Y’s, T’s, I’s (2 sets x 10 reps each)

Click here for breakdown videos of each exercise.


For more information regarding injury prevention, contact Sport Manitoba Clinic or Sport Manitoba Performance:

Sport Manitoba Clinic


Sport Manitoba Performance




Sport Medicine Information

Junior Volleyball Association