Behind the Game: training athletes in the off season

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WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton trainer Jordan Taylor is helping volleyball players improve their performance through off-court training. Quinn Phillips reports.

It was two years ago when Jordan Taylor realized that volleyball players in Edmonton needed an off season training program.

“If you look at other sports like hockey or football, all those kids are working out at 10, 12-years-old. I kind of figured, why not our sport?” Taylor said. “Our sport has a lot of [athletes] doing all the camps, doing all the practices and all the skill stuff but no one addressed the physical.”

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Volleyball requires specific training because of the high impact jumping.

“You can only get better at jumping, by jumping,” Taylor said. “We do quite a bit of plyometric work. There’s a strength component as well but just because you’re strong in the gym doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to translate to athletic performance or improved performance.

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“So my job as a strength coach is to try to find a way to transfer the work they do in the weight room, whether it’s through contrast training or through speed work.”

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Two years ago Taylor started with one of the youth teams he coached and now has 31 club volleyball teams in the city training at Goliath High Performance.

“We have athletes online too. All across Canada, we’ve got NCAA athletes in the States, in Australia,” said Taylor, who has a Master’s degree in research in strength and conditioning.

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Taylor now runs a facility called The Arena, which houses multiple trainers who, alongside him, work with athletes in a variety of sports like hockey, basketball and water polo.

It’s an industry that has really exploded over the past number of years and it continues to grow.

“I played every sport growing up and lifting weights definitely wasn’t necessarily a thing until at least your senior year of high school,” Taylor said. “I would say every year the intensity ramps up, everyone wants to find that extra per cent to be better than their competition.”