Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Movement Sciences

Committee Director

Hunter J. Bennett

Committee Member

Stacie Ringleb

Committee Member

Stephen Cain


Volleyball is an explosive, dynamic sport popular around the globe. The volleyball attack is the predominant point-scoring avenue and the point of interest for many coaches and players. As this motion is repeated many times throughout the course of a match, it is linked to overuse injuries at the shoulder. The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate methodological approaches for research in this movement as well as establishing mechanisms for improving performance and the health of the volleyball players’ shoulder.

For the first study, a systematic review of published literature was performed to ascertain training protocols beneficial to volleyball players’ shoulders; findings suggested kinetic chain training protocols may influence stability during this movement. However, when reviewing the current research, it was clear an established methodology for calculating kinematic variables at the shoulder when performing the attack was missing in the literature. For the second study, twenty-two healthy, experienced volleyball players completed volleyball attacks off a stationary volleyball using marker-based 3D motion capture. Six rotation sequences commonly utilized to calculate shoulder kinematics were compared for anatomical understanding and accuracy. The YXY and XYZ sequences were found to be the most reliable and should be employed in future research. Following the establishment of the importance of rotation sequences in calculations, data collections were brought into the field to evaluate the influence of the kinetic chain on performance. For the final study, thirty experienced players were recruited to perform 14 attacks while wearing inertial measurements on a sand volleyball court. Sex was found to be the most predictive variable of ball velocity in both the line and cross-court directions, with peak trunk rotational velocity as a second significant measure. These results suggest a greater reliance on trunk motion when performing the attack in the sand, as our results contrast with those reported in the literature on hard-court. Coaches and players should place an emphasis on increasing the velocity of their trunk rotation when attacking to improve ball velocity.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).