May 24, 2010

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Tall

I don’t really have a question, just an observation. My daughter started out playing basketball. She is a good dribbler and likes to be in charge but all the coaches she has ever had have the little girls play guard and my daughter play forward/center which I don’t think she really likes. OK—I don’t think basketball is her game anyway. But I see the same thing happening in vball. The coaches have the smaller girls play setter. As I said above, my daughter has good hands and likes to be in charge so I think she might be a good setter. She is going to be 5’11”, 6 feet tall and even I can see the advantage of having a setter of that height. She plays club and school and I will think of a way of suggesting to them that she be given a chance at setter. Maybe a setter camp would be a good idea too. I know coaches are trying to find a position for short girls in sports that have come to be dominated by tall players. But at the same time, it is frustrating when that good intent prevents a tall player from playing that position.

Please keep the blog going as I am sure I will have many more questions, comments and observations as our family travels thru volleyball world.

Thanks, AMC’s mom

I appreciate the kind comments on the blog; I did not include the first paragraph of your e-mail where you positively gush about my contributions to all that is worldly (bit of a stretch?), but your compliments are nice to hear.

So, you have a tall daughter which you think could be a setter? First of all, immediately remove her from any involvement with basketball: 1) It will simply reinforce the status of volleyball coaches as the most hated coaches on a high school campus, 2) The ball is the wrong color(s), 3) If you can't face the basket to play, there is really no use in playing basketball (a bad week of having the wrong side of me towards the basket in high school), 4) You don't want the one hand follow through coming out when she sets the volleyball, 5) As wrong as folks may feel that spandex are, those shin length shorts which basketball players wear are not right, 6) I am sure I could figure out more, but I should answer your question(s).

A few comments on your 'observations':

1. "..good hands and likes to be in charge..." - Sounds like she is well on her way to being a setter; too often I see just the opposite; bad hands and no decision making. You just listed two of the main things which college coaches look for - Technique and leadership.

2. "5'11", 6' tall" - Enjoy being contacted by every Division I volleyball program in the country, if you happen to compete with a recognizable club from a volleyball region.

3. "...I will think of a way of suggesting to them that she be given a chance at setter" - Here is your way, "My daughter wants to set, so please provide her the opportunity to be a setter." If the answer is not what you want to hear, go find a club where she can set.

4. "Maybe a setter camp would be a good idea too." - Yes it would, just make sure there is someone with a setting back ground teaching the setters how to be setters. Sounds silly, but if you attend a college volleyball camp and the coach never played the sport in college or played at all, then the nuances of being a setter may be lost. Do your homework to make sure what your paying for is good.

5. "...a position for short girls in sports..." - That does seem to be the case at times. When the dark ages of volleyball came upon us (Libero, rally score, let serve) of the arguments for the Libero was a position for the smaller players. As it applies to your daughter, height still rules every other position. Just look at the rosters of the top 10 programs and it is amazing how tall players are. Not too long ago, it was uncommon to see anyone taller than 6'3", much less that tall and coordinated. Now, 6'3" is everywhere. With Junior High and High School sports, you may be stuck in the position the coach deems best, but with club, since you pay, you have the right to dictate the position.

Thanks again for the nice compliments on the site and I sincerely wish you many smiles through the journey.


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