July 6, 2012

ACL surgery and Volleyball recovery

First, I would like to say I absolutely love your site and my family and I found it very useful to help my brother get recruited to his perfect school. Now, I ,being the younger brother, would love to follow into his footsteps and play collegiately also.

I am a class of 2014 setter now entering my junior year in high school. Unfortunately, at a national bid qualifying tournament, I tore my acl completely, I had surgery on June 11th and am now about to start physical therapy to regain my range of motion. The doctor says it'll about 6 months until I play volleyball again. Now, 6 months is a long time to be out and have to come back entering the most important club season for recruiting. In the months of January and February my team will play in atleast 2 if not 3 national bid tournaments, what can I do so I will be able to bounce back from this injury to be able to impress coaches at these qualifiers?

 The second part of my recovery is regaining quad strength, so thankfully, at the time I return I will be in better shape then I was when I got hurt. This will help in that I will be physically able to play more frequently, which I plan to do, using every opportunity I have to play to make up for the court time I missed while being hurt. But is there anything else I could do before returning besides set the ball in my bed that will help keep some of my touch when setting on a court in 6 months time?

Thank you for your time, and again for creating this website that has helped so many.  


Sometimes it is just simply bad luck. But, it could be worse; you could be entering your Senior year trying to come back from an ACL surgery.

Having had a few players go through this surgery, the MOST important thing you can do is not rush your physical recovery.  I know you are anxious to get on the court, and I know you feel pressure because of the recruiting cycle, but because the men's game is so physical, you MUST make sure when you return to the court in competition, you have regained or surpassed your previous physicality.

I caution you because when I have had athletes push hard to get back onto the court around that 6 month window, often times they only hit about 80% of their physicality and then have side effects like constant soreness/pain, limited strength range, they seem a bit gimpy in their movements.  Even though they are "back" they are not back to where they need to be.

Conversely, those athletes which have not pushed back too quickly and taken a slow/steady path to regaining their strength, may return more around the 12 month mark, but they seem to be in a better physical position with less residual side effects.

I am talking broad generalities, but my point is to focus on a steady, consistent recovery process with a long term goal of increasing your physicality. 

There is not too much you can do other than simple set repetitions to yourself, or against the wall.  You won't 'forget' how to set, you will just be rusty.  You will knock the rust of and get back to your skill sets quickly; that process won't be multi-month, bur rather, multi week.

Again, focus on your rehab and be steady in your gains.

Coach Matt Sonnichsen

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