September 6, 2010

College Volleyball Tournaments

First of all, made it through the second weekend of play with no injuries, but a number of really worn out players - Worn out I can manage with rest and rehab.

Worn out also made me think about these early season volleyball tournaments - Why do we play 3 and 4 match weekend tournaments in Division I (and more in Division II/III)? I have come to the conclusion that all we are doing is playing poor volleyball, with tired players and risking injuries in doing so during multiple match weekends.

This past weekend we played 4 matches in 30 hours and this will not happen again with my team. Because of our injuries, I had to run the same players in every match, no matter if we were crushing a team or getting crushed or going the limit in 5. Our last match of the tourney was just sloppy and our risk of injury greatly increased.

I know a few Volleyball coaches who ONLY play one match a day in a tournament, and I am now going in that direction. The basketballs only play one game a day, but we play a bunch. I believe that all these additional matches (versus what basketball does) leads to tendinitis, shin splints, stress fractures, strained shoulders; repetitive stress injuries because of the extreme jumping and swinging involved in Volleyball. Better to play less early, to be healthier later.

Conference games are only one match per day, so why not train the players early in the season to gear up for that one match per day, instead of multiple matches. If the pre-season is to prepare for the conference season, then quality versus quantity is my new focus.

We played a match early on Friday, the gym was empty and ice cold, the wood floor sat on concrete so it was hard as a rock, the officials were half asleep, the stats were all wrong because the normal stat crew could not make it that early, the players were shagging for the other team during warm-ups and I just looked around afterward and thought "this is Division I Volleyball?".

In previous posts, I have referenced the need for our sport to act Big Time and playing multiple matches in a day is not Big Time because those sports that are Big Time don't do it. If Volleyball is a great college sport, then each time a team plays, it should be a feature match, not a throw away match.

I will take it upon myself and my team to act Big Time - Plus, I want to protect my team physically, while playing the highest quality of Volleyball possible.

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