Cultivating Champions: How I Trained the C2 Volleyball Team

TAGS: C2 Volleyball, volleyball athlete, Caitlyn Vann, Head Volleyball Coach, female volleyball team, John Dettman, Tanks Training Facility, Chris Janek

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After my final year of football at Wisconsin, I worked with our strength coach John Dettman in the weight room. I did this for a few months until I left to continue playing football in the now-defunct Arena Football League. While working in the weight room I was able to watch and learn a lot from not only football athletes but also how athletes of other sports train. I saw a lot of the female volleyball team and got some insight on what to do. Fast forward to today, 17 years later. I was approached by the Gateway Academy Director and Head Volleyball Coach Caitlyn Vann on possibly training the C2 (Cultivating Champions) volleyball team. All of these volleyball athletes are from overseas and come to the United States to get a better chance at receiving a collegiate scholarship. All of them are in the age range of 15 to 19 years of age. They are from Brazil, Serbia, and Greece. The head coach, Vann, has an insane background both as a player and coach.


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To begin, I met with them and talked to her about how I could improve her athletes. After showing my ideas hands-on and talking with her about my plan, she bought in. The only negative factor was that the school year was almost over and we only had five weeks to install and improve them the best I could with that time frame. Any coach knows that a lot can be done in five weeks, but a lot more time would help. We went with a three-day per week setup, which helps some with the shortened time frame. The first several training sessions were very slow and involved a lot of teaching. With the team only consisting of 10 athletes, it helped me do more teaching and slowing some stuff down. Most of the athletes had some sort of training, which helped, but they hadn’t been pushed as hard as the way I train athletes.

I had very good feedback from the team and know that next school year with more time we can make even greater strides. All of the girls improved over the five weeks and all indicated certain issues and injuries improved or became non-existent. There were a lot of shoulder issues from overuse of hitting the ball. We hammered a lot of internal-external rotations for this, and also had them all spend some time with our in-house massage therapist Tyler Thomas. At Tank’s Training Facility we do a lot of general athletic improvement work with our athletes. We try to fix what is broken and complement what isn’t. Here is a breakdown and sample of one week of the program, which includes three sessions.

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Sample Week 

Tuesday

Pre-Lift:

  • Dynamic Warm-Up x 6-8 minutes
  • Hurdle Mobility (Under/Over) x 5
  • Mobility Work x 5 minutes

Lift:

  • SS Yoke Bar Good Mornings — 5x5
  • Dumbbell RDL— 5x5
  • Dumbbell Lateral Lunge — 5x5
  • Jump Machine (Speed and Height Focus) — 5x5
  • Quad Fall-Outs superset with Backwards Sled Pull — Timed
  • Rotational Movements, Midsection Work
  • Stretch, Ankle Walks, Foam Roll

Thursday

Pre-Lift:

  • Dynamic Warm-Up x 6-8 minutes
  • Mobility Work x 5 minutes
  • Internal/External Rotations (Bands) x 20

Lift:

  • Overhead Press — 5x5
  • Pull-Ups superset with Broad Jump — 5x5
  • Inclined Push-Ups superset with Band Pull-Aparts — Timed
  • Barbell Curls superset with Lateral Raise —Timed
  • Heavy Ab Movements
  • Prowler Conditioning — Race Pace
  • Stretch, Ankle Walks, Foam Roll

Saturday

Pre-Lift:

  • Dynamic Warm-Up x 6-8 minutes
  • Mobility Work

Lift:

  • Deadlift superset with Box Jumps — 5 x 3 (deadlift), 1 (jump)
  • Various Depth Jumps and Hurdle Hops — 6-8 minutes
  • Nordic Curls — 5x8
  • Face-Pulls superset with Band Pressdowns — Timed
  • Midsection Work and Abs — 5-10 minutes
  • Sprints
  • Stretch, Ankle Walks, Foam Roll

This three-day per week setup was very effective in improving them in their sport. We really stressed proper form in every facet. Look out for these girls next season — they will be a force to be reckoned with. We also stressed proper nutrition and hydration, which is a very simple but not always followed rule for athletes at this age. If you are anywhere near the Saint Louis, Missouri area and are looking to better your volleyball athlete, check out Tank’s Training Facility and C2 Volleyball. Caitlyn Vann, founder of C2 Volleyball, launched the academy after her playing career for Munciana, one of the top volleyball clubs in the nation. From a young age she had exposure to elite training and coaching, which laid the foundation for her successful career as both a player and coach. For more information on Vann or C2 Volleyball, you can contact her at:

Cultivating Champions

2620 Indiana Avenue

St. Louis, Missouri 63118

312-972-0934

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