Courtney Hott

Chris Shaffer is uniquely qualified to instruct strength and conditioning to supplement high level
volleyball competition. He has a long background in the sport, and an intimate understanding of the
physical demands of playing at any level.

I was first coached by Chris over 10 years ago playing on RVC’s 17 national team which went on to place 3rd at Junior Nationals. He was a volunteer assistant at VCU as I transitioned to playing at the Division 1 collegiate level.

Following my college career he was instrumental in returning me to playing in high level adult competition following my ACL surgery in 2012. He has been a coach and mentor of mine as a volleyball coach, strength and conditioning coach, and a Crossfit coach.

As a physical therapist, I will not work with a strength and conditioning coach who does not
place technique and safety above all else. Chris has developed a program for young athletes which
focuses on improving functional movement patterns, developing technique, injury prevention, core
stabilization and strengthening around the shoulders, knees, and ankles.

Participation in his strength and conditioning program poses no more risk of injury than participation in any sport would, including volleyball. I would not hesitate recommending Chris to young volleyball players interested in preventing injury, becoming a more well-rounded athlete, or taking their game to the collegiate level.
Courtney Hott PT, DPT

Aubrey Bailey

I have been a Physical Therapist for the past 17 years and formerly held a personal trainer certification through the American College of Sports Medicine. I am also a current client of Chris Shaffer and have been coached by him for the past 12 months.

Throughout my physical therapy career, I have treated many adolescent athletes with overuse injuries. The primary underlying cause of these injuries was muscle imbalance — overuse of sports-specific muscles and weakness in the opposing muscle groups. In volleyball players, this typically shows up as rotator cuff injuries. Many of these injuries can be prevented with regular participation in a strength and conditioning program that includes scapular stabilization exercises (such as “Y-T-A’s” with resistance tubing).

In addition to shoulder injuries, volleyball players are also at risk for back (and other) injuries.

In a research article “Overuse in Volleyball Training/Practice: A Review on Shoulder and Spine-Related Injuries” published in the European Journal of Sports Science that specifically discusses these issues. Here are a few highlights:

“The stresses that result from frequent spiking and jump serving, make low back and shoulder frequently prone to overuse problems. Both actions are characterised by simultaneous forceful hyperextension and rotation of the low back, as well as extreme shoulder external rotation (150 deg in spike/ serve), (Bahr & Reeser, 2003; Reeser, Fleisig, Cools, Yount, & Magnes, 2013).”

“Each body segment accelerates sequentially, transferring force and energy to the next segments, and imparting maximum velocity to the ball.”

“Developing trunk muscle motor control, kinesthetic awareness, endurance, and coordination is more important than developing absolute strength-power, particularly for female volleyball players. However, having an adequate trunk muscle strength-power reserve is needed for unpredictable events such as the quick, unanticipated movements that routinely occur with athletic activities such as volleyball.” 

This article clearly demonstrates the importance of whole-body functional strength and conditioning, specifically for injury prevention in volleyball players. Core strengthening and endurance exercises for the abdominals and back muscles (such as supermans and hollow holds) are a crucial component of a well-rounded conditioning program. Functional movement training such as squats and jump-training strengthen the posterior chain — power muscles along the spine and back of the legs. These same muscles are responsible for providing a stable base for arm movements, helping to reduce risk of shoulder injury.

Jumping technique training is a particularly important component of conditioning, particularly for female athletes. This population in particular is at a higher risk of ACL ligament tears in the knee. Another article that emphasizes the importance of this type of training – “Jumping and Landing Techniques in Elite Women’s Volleyball” published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. Here are a couple of highlights from that article:

Physical training (relative to strength and technique) may be the most practical and effective modality for preventing injuries related to landing from a jump.

Researchers, physicians, therapists, trainers, coaches, and athletes should focus on factors that are controllable in an effort to reduce injuries in volleyball. The most promising possibilities appear to be increasing strength, improving conditioning, and modifying jump-landing techniques. 

Chris Shaffer’s strength and conditioning programs address all of the areas discussed above. He provides biomechanically-sound programming to condition the athlete as a whole person, not just focusing on a specific muscle group. I highly recommend his program not only for athletes looking to improve their sports performance, but for anyone looking to improve their overall health and quality of life.


Dr. Aubrey Bailey, PT, DPT, CHT
Doctor of Physical Therapy, Certified Hand Therapist

Clay Steadman

Coach Shaffer  understands the body and athletics at such a high level because he never stops growing his knowledge. I have learned a great deal from Coach Shaffer on proper form. I trust him with teaching me how the body should move to maximize athletic performance.



2X Division I Wrestling Team National Champion Pen State

2X Big Ten Team Champion

Leadership Award for National Championship Team

Rachel Stanford

I started working out at Shaffer Strength & Conditioning at the
beginning of this summer.  Just in these past few months I saw a big
change in my physical and mental strength.  I can honestly say I am in the
best shape of my life right now.  And I wouldn’t have been able to
accomplish this without the help of Chris Shaffer and his Athlete Training
Program.  He pushes you to your limits while encouraging you along the
way.  I feel very prepared and confident in myself going into my next
volleyball season at Catawba College.  If I could change one thing it
would be to start working out with Chris earlier.

Rachel Stanford

Melanie Snyder

I had the best experience with the Athlete Training Program (ATP) at Shaffer Strength & Conditioning. I learned so much about my body, and what it is capable of doing. I never realized how hard I could push myself until my first “Day 2”. I loved how much individual attention I received, and how every workout was clearly explained with the correct technique.  All the instructors cared about the safety and improvement of the athletes, and also provided flexible hours for the hectic schedules of athletes. I felt so motivated every single day thanks to the constant encouragement that everyone gave me. This helped me push my body past my comfort zone. I feel as if I am in the best shape I have ever been, and I feel fully prepared to begin my pre-season as a D1 athlete. I cannot wait until I am home on break to resume my training with Shaffer Strength & Conditioning!

-Melanie Snyder

Marist College


Maddie French

Although I knew about Chris’s incredible volleyball IQ coming into his gym, I believe that every athlete who wants to get better at their sport should work out at Shaffer Strength and Conditioning. Working out with Chris is the best thing any athlete could do for him or herself because Chris knows exactly how to push athletes to their limits, and then some. Chris has made me exceed expectations I had of myself again and again, which has made me more confident in myself as an upcoming collegiate athlete. Working out with Chris gives athletes the most preparation available when transitioning to the next level. Not only has Chris prepared me for being a collegiate athlete physically, but his outstanding positivity and support inside the gym makes me crave to chase my goals for my upcoming volleyball season at Mason, and my long term goals for my volleyball career all together.

Maddie French
Atlee Volleyball State Champion 2013
George Mason University

Hudson Bates

I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing tutelage under Chris Shaffer since I was 16 years old. He was my first great volleyball coach and he incorporated some great mobility and strength training exercises to my training sessions.
From an athletic standpoint he understands what it takes to achieve the highest level of physical strength for many different sports.
At the same time, he is the kind of instructor/coach that you want to work hard for and he makes working hard fun!
I always look back fondly and look forward to my next fitness adventures with this premier trainer in my home town of Richmond, Va. Thanks for everything you have done for me Chris, keep up the great work, God bless.

Hudson Bates
Men’s Head Coach
Marymount University
George Mason 2005-2008
Three-time EIVA All-East selection
EIVA Newcomer of the year 2005
USA National Team 2008-2010
Puerto Rican Superior League and Qatar National League 2008-2012
Ranked in the top-25 of the USA Volleyball Beach Player Rankings in 2014, Bates currently sits at 24th. He won the AVP U26 Tour and was one of four members of the USA Beach National Team in 2010.

Kristin Carpenter

As a young athlete, there were always older players in the area that I looked up to. I was fortunate enough to be trained by one of those players. I laugh because it was so long ago but learning the basics is the foundation of how you’re going to continue to grow your skills. Because of learning the basics so well from Chris Shaffer, I’ve gotten to compete at the highest collegiate level and continue my career as a professional volleyball player. There’s no one in the business who knows more about volleyball and what volleyball players need to strengthen their bodies. Not only is he a knowledgeable coach, but his way of motivating is unmatched. He truly cares about each person and cares about their bettering their story.

Kristin Carpenter
2x Division 1 National Champion
3x Big Ten Champion
MVP Swedish Women’s Elite Series
Current Pro Volleyball Player in Greece
Setter . O. Markopoulo, Greece
Bachelor of Science | Kinesiology
The Pennsylvania State University | 2013

Robert Chilcoat

When I was 15, Chris began working with me to improve my strength and agility to help me get ready for my high school and club volleyball seasons. He always showed up to my workouts with a positive attitude and found a way to get me to push my limits to places I didn’t know I could go. As an NCAA Division I volleyball player, his training and expertise greatly helped me transition into the college game. When I come home during Christmas breaks, instead of going to a gym, I go to Chris because he has the knowledge, skills, and positive atmosphere at his gym to help push me and improve my game.

Robert Chilcoat
Loyola University Chicago
Men’s Volleyball National Champion ‘15

Mariel Fry

Chris was one of my coaches when I played volleyball for VCU. After I graduated, I also played with and against him at many adult tournaments. After he started as one of my coaches, It didn’t take long for me to realize how much he knew about the game, and how much he could help me improve. I was excited to have practices when he was there because he would give me specific feedback about my technique and he always motivated and encouraged me to push myself harder. I wouldn’t be the volleyball player and coach that I am today without his influence. You will not be disappointed if you decide to train with him!

Mariel Fry

Played middle, right side and outside at VCU from 2007-2011, VCU captain 2009-2011, VCU graduate assistant 2011-2012, coached club volleyball at MAVC and RVC for 5 years and Husky Volleyball for 1 year. Coach Glastonbury High School Girl’s volleyball team 2013-present with a record of 27-1 in conference and 44-10 overall. 

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