Introduction to Fitness Testing for Volleyball

Volleyball is a sport in which both skill and fitness play a very significant part. There would be different fitness demands whether playing indoor or beach volleyball, though this discussion is about fitness testing for volleyball in general. Listed below are some suggested tests, there are many other tests that you could use (see the complete List of Fitness Tests). See also an example of tests that are used for the recruiting volleyball players for the AIS eTID program.

Fitness Tests for Volleyball

Though there are different fitness requirements for the different playing positions, all players on a volleyball team need to be able to play in all positions at some time, so all the following fitness tests would be relevant.

Fitness Component example tests comments
Strength and Power Explosive leg power is very important for vertical jumping and speed of movement around the court. Strength and power tests should also be done to determine initial levels and to monitor strength changes in conjunction with training programs. Core stability and abdominal function is important in agility and balance, and in the controlling of movement and execution of skills.
Speed and agility
  • Acceleration tests over a short distance is appropriate. See the description of the Sprint test.
  • The 505 agility testmeasures the ability to change direction 180 degrees. A smaller degree turn test would probably be more appropriate for volleyball as most movements incorporate only a small change of direction. The ability to turn to both the left and right direction may be different and should also be assessed.
  • You may also want to do a volleyball specific agility test, which can incorporate movements around the court to simulate actual movements that my be encountered during games.
Acceleration and agility are very important in volleyball, for moving with balance quickly around the court. 
Aerobic Fitness
  • To test large groups of athletes at once, the maximum effort shuttle run (beep) test would be appropriate.
  • You can find information on other aerobic tests here.
Aerobic fitness is not of great importance for volleyball. Having a high level will reduce the effect of fatigue during long periods of play or over a tournament week. Aerobic fitness training may be used in the off season to keep body weight in check, and testing can be used for motivation during these periods.
Flexibility The flexibility tests should be specific to the actions of volleyball. Being flexible enables greater range of movement in the execution of spiking, and movements around the court may be easier. Good flexibility may also reduce the incidence of injury in the long term.
Body Size
  • Being tall is a great advantage in volleyball. Body size measurements such as height and arm span are important to measure.
With junior athletes, these measures can be used for talent identification. More about anthropometry and volleyball.
Body Fat Excess body fat would affect the volleyballer's ability to move freely around the court, and it would also increase fatigue during training and games as the excess weight does not benefit the sport. 

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