Todd Rogers stands as one of the most accomplished professional beach volleyball players of all time. With longtime partner Phil Dalhausser, the defensive specialist won the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics and has amassed 54 Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) tournament victories. (Rogers has 72 total tournament victories).
In the following Q&A, Rogers details his extensive training routine, the future of the AVP and why he’ll be traveling more than usual in 2011.
What types of training activities do you do on the beach?
I do the usual volleyball stuff, passing, setting, hitting, etc. I also do a one-day-a-week plyometric workout on the beach once the season starts. That workout includes dragging 50 pounds on a rope 40 yards twice, putting a 20-pound vest on and doing 20 10-yard sprints and doing 15 burpees with a jump with the 20-pound weight vest, as well as other exercises.
What types of training activities do you do off the beach? Where do you do them?
I train three times a week in the weight room when I don't have a tournament and twice a week when I do have a tournament. Before the season starts, I also train at the Santa Barbara City College track. This includes a bunch of 400- and 300-yard sprints, a jump, medicine ball, sit-up workout and ends with a stadium workout, which is just this side of hell -- but barely. I also do one stair climber workout for a little under an hour and take one hard jog for five miles every week.
How is the mentality different when you’re in the gym compared to when you’re on the beach?
I am usually working out by myself in the gym. I mean, I don't have a workout partner. When I am at the beach, I am usually there with Phil or someone else. I have to push myself in the weight room. I don't have someone watching me and pushing me like Phil and I do to one another at the beach.
Your partner Phil Dalhausser is the primary blocker on your team. How does that impact your training and the types of exercises/training you do?
We do all the same jumping stuff. Some of the stuff in the weight room changes based on blocker or defender roles. Obviously, we play our roles when we are training on the beach.
How would you train differently if you did more blocking?
I don't think I would, other than the actual beach drills where I don't work on blocking now but would work on it if I did.
What exercises are important for improving your offensive skills?
Repetition, and making every movement the same until the very last second. If the other team doesn't know what you are doing until you do it, then it is very hard to stop. If a player gives it away by turning their body or something like that, then it becomes easy to read.
What exercises are important for improving your defensive skills?
It’s mostly a mental thing. Don't give up on the ball. I see defenders at the highest level not go for balls because they don't think they can get to them. You never know if you don't try.
How do you get the explosion necessary to get digs?
All the weightlifting and plyometric training is designed to convert strength into power and or explosion.
What do you eat and drink – and not eat and drink – while training?
I usually drink only water while I train. No food. Sometimes a Red Bull, of course.
How does your diet impact your training?
I watch what I eat to a point and try to supplement when necessary. When I am home, I am pretty good to go because I eat good, consistent meals. On the road, I supplement quite a bit more to make sure I am getting everything I need.
Indoors is much more specialized. On the beach, you have to be able to do every skill pretty well.
How do you sustain your strength and fitness throughout the season?
It’s tough to do. It becomes more mental. You are tired from a long tournament and have just flown from Poland to Austria and the last thing you really want to do is go to the gym. You have to make yourself get in and do your workout. Then, you have to supplement well with whey protein and vitamins and minerals to make sure your body is getting everything it needs.
How do you approach playing beach volleyball indoors verses playing it outdoors?
Indoors is much more specialized. On the beach, you have to be able to do every skill pretty well. You have to pass, set, hit etc., and there are only two of you to cover the court, verses six on the indoor court. If you can’t set, your partner is in for a long match, as he will get served every ball and he will have to deal with your terrible setting.
How is training for beach volleyball different from playing six-on-six volleyball indoors?
You can train with two people pretty effectively on the beach. At least Phil and I do. Indoors, to scrimmage you need 12 people, verses beach, you need four.
The AVP canceled the end of its 2010 season. What is the future of the association?
The AVP looks to be dead. We shall see what arises from its ashes.
How does the AVP shutting down impact you? Will you be participating in more FIVB tournaments?
We will be focused on the international FIVB Tour this year since the domestic scene looks to be little-to-no tournaments. It means a lot more travel for us. I would prefer to play more in the states, but we gotta do what we gotta do.
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