January 19, 2011

College Volleyball Recruiting Opening Weekend Observations

Made it through the first weekend of recruiting with flying colors and sore legs (it is amazing how tired and sore your legs can become from standing on concrete). A few observations to share:

1. Club coaches are way, way, way too worried about winning, especially this early in the season. National Qualifier tourneys to secure a bid to Nationals? OK, then I can understand the crazy face, but not now!

2. As junior volleyball specific venues become more commonly built, please design extra room around the perimeter of the courts. The great news is that the club players have friends and family attending in bunches which attests to support but also means the sidelines are packed. It is a challenge to navigate from court to court, to find somewhere safe for Granny to sit, and also to have space for the next round players to start movin' and groovin'.

3. Small Ball - Early in the season, but small things need to be done better on the court by the older players. This is one area where the older age group club coaches should be more attuned to than winning. Free ball passes to the 10' line do not work, rotating into a free ball position before the free ball is actually sent over the net is usually a good thing, making more than two serves in a row should be the norm, getting off the net for a transition approach needs to happen all the time, etc.

4. Just because Great Program One and Great Program Two is recruiting your daughter does not provide carte blanch for her to be selfish and arrogant and for you to to allow it to continue.

5. As a player, keep working to get better by developing your skill sets. Early in the season you can start in your comfort zone since all the crazy me's are watching you, but the sooner you move into trying to apply your improved skill sets in a competition environment, the better you will become. Don't stay focused on strengths; look toward tightening up those weak elements in your game.

6. Smile - Could have been pressure of the college coaching crowd, but I did not see a lot of smiles on the court. You can still be focused and intense while smiling and having fun. My theory is that those who play with joy, play great. Enjoying what you are doing and having fun with it, can still be achieved within a focused environment. Players don't have to have scowls on their faces, they don't have to emotionless robots until the mandatory rah-rah at the end of a good play.

7. If you are a player, DO NOT stand on the sideline in the middle of a game, waving to get your parent's attention while at the same time shaking an empty water bottle in your other hand! You can go thirsty for the 10 minutes remaining in the game. Parents, DO NOT get up to fill your daughter's bottle in the middle or the game or for that matter at anytime - She is a big girl and she can get her water bottle filled on her own.

8. Everyone needs to forget about the referees - The reality is that the new rules have mandated that everything is legal; nets, double hits, throws, under the center line, white after Labor Day, red wine with cream sauce, swimming immediately after eating Thanksgiving Dinner, etc. The referees are just there to blow the whistle to serve, look at the linespeople for in/out or touches, then blow the whistle to signal who got the point. It is not their fault that they have been marginalized, so don't get mad at them.

9. It is nice to see good volleyball after the down time post college volleyball season. Nothing better than players playing with positive passion, long rallies, support from coaches, high fives, hugs and cheers from family.

I sincerely hope that your Opening Weekend was safe and entertaining!

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