April 6, 2011

College Volleyball Questions!

I have fallen a bit behind in getting answers up and out to questions which I have received; time to knock out quite a few now.  Just a reminder to all VolleyFolks, please submit your questions via  collegevolleyballcoach@gmail.com instead of through the Comments section. 

Hi Coach,

Our culture in general is so fixated on the need to be a star (or live vicariously through their child-star) that folks will take extraordinary measures. I'm not even sure that kids want it initially, but as the attention gets lavished, the kid gets into the entitlement mentality and starts suffering from "specialitis." In the end they become potential fodder for the "one and done" (good article) type of school. Their need to be recognized as Giant State U material (by volley-people who will forget them completely in a few years, or maybe even months after high school graduation) outweighs their ability to see the forest for the trees in terms of  seeking a full educational and volleyball experience for their daughter.
Keep hammering away at people to let them know they are not doing kids any favors and may be setting them up for a lot of disappointment.  A. 
I wanted to wait just a bit before getting this comment out on the web from a long time reader.  A. brings up a great point about short term attention mentality of way too many VolleyFolks, and how all of us fall prey to the moment.  Even though it may feel like a crazy contest, College Volleyball recruiting should not be a competition; maybe a challenge is a better phrase.

The challenge is for the player to healthily improve their Volleyball abilities per their age group and the challenge for the college coaches is to recruit steadily better players to their program.  When we all lose track of this concept is when we all lose balance.  A 5'8" outside hitter is not going to Nebraska on a scholarship no matter how many speed training sessions they attend, and my program is not going to out-recruit Nebraska for their top PSA. 


My name is Mercedes and I am a senior in high school. I play volleyball. What muscles are used when spiking the volleyball? I recently heard that your abs play a huge part in spiking the volleyball. How do your abs help in spiking the ball and how can I use them? I feel as if I am just using my arm, rather than using my core to control the ball.

Also, I am tall, about 6'2''.  I would like learn how to hit at angles and find open spots on the court. How can I develop peripheral vision when spiking the ball? I jump so high, I feel as if I should literally oversee the opponent's court. I'm not satisfied with just wacking the ball anywhere on the court.

Mercedes, first of all let me congratulate you for working in the word 'wacking' into your question.  Wacking is a fun word and one I like to use when talking about Volleyball!

To answer your questions:

1.  When you attack/spike the volleyball you use numerous muscles; just think about the fact you jump to attack the ball. Much of generating power behind an attack involves using a broad jump on your approach which is all legs.  You do indeed use your abdominals and this is called 'piking' when you attack; you crunch up your stomach muscles as you swing (the knees come up towards your chest and your shoulders come down towards your knees).  The core of our body (stomach and lower back muscles) is central to Volleyball success.  When blocking, hitting, passing, diving, etc., we are always twisting and turning and this is accomplished by our abs.  When you attack, it should be a complete use of the torso from the waist up.  Your off shoulder initially moves forward, your attack shoulder loads back to get ready to attack and then moves forward rapidly, your pectoral and abdominal muscles start to contract and the back muscles fire to slow down the swing after contact.  The biggest thing I can say is to feel your whole body when attacking and to do lots of crunches; my College Volleyball team does 1,000's a week.

2.  Peripheral vision is only going to help against the block; our eyes are not built to see the ball and deep into the opponent's court.  I would rather you practice hitting into spots on the other side (mark them w/cones or a shoe) and just track the ball and see where it lands.  Put the markers in the deep corners and just alternate hitting towards each corner and see where the ball lands.  All hitters like to bounce the ball and hit straight down because it looks cool and everyone goes 'wow'!  But, the best spots are the corners because the defense usually does not play there and you can go over the block.  You can't "oversee" the opponent's court, but you should be able to know by just playing Volleyball where the defense usually plays and to attack into those empty zones.

Don't forget this tidbit....The new rule, which is NCAA rule 2009-47-B, went into effect as of Aug. 1 of 2010. It states that a prospect can not be given a written scholarship offer until Aug. 1 of his senior year in high school.  Via Comments section about this post.

I will need to check this submitted information because I vaguely remember the rule, but so many of us College Volleyball coaches just verbally offer scholarships today.  I would think this rule reference is probably correct because as representatives of colleges, a written offer from a college coach can be legally interpreted as a contract between player and institution, and thus valid even if a coach vacates their job. 

Here is some homework for the VolleyFolks.....please look up this rule on the ncaa.org site by referencing the rule number. I would be curious to see the exact wording of this rule, as it seems a bit contradictory; far be it from the NCAA to make a confusing or illogical rule!

Coach, I have a question you probably don't get very often.

I've noticed that most OH's and MB's in Division I and II are at least 5'11+.
  When have you noticed that most volleyball girls stop growing? I'm currently a 5'9 8th grader (14 yrs old)My dad's 6'5 and my mom's about 5'5. Do most girls continue to grow through high school?

Thanks, M.

Not only is this a question I do not get very often, this is the first question I have ever received about when most Volleyball girls stop growing.

My completely non-medical observation says that the end of the sophomore year is the end of the rapid growth for females.  At that time, the physical stature starts to fill out (not taller, just stronger).  

PSA's may well have another inch of growth left between their sophomore to senior year of high school, but I do feel what I am looking at in 16's club will just about be what I will see height wise as an 18's player.  The post 16's growth which will become apparent is the 'filling out' of the frame - PSA's which were thin and lanky will start to look strong and sturdy.

I will sound like some old person here, but I am amazed by how fast kids are physically maturing today.  I would not have answered this question the same way 5 years ago; maybe this is one reason every College Volleyball coach and their pda is camping out at the 16's courts in tournaments!

My daughter is in her final year of high school in Canada.  She is a setter with above average skill.  We got a very late start on the recruiting process.  With the lack of opportunity presented and her desire to focus on her academics she has decided to look at the 2012 recruiting year instead of the 2011.  I have spoke with the NCAA Eligibility Centre to confirm how we keep her NCAA Div 1 status and she can meet those requirements.  My question to you is how is this viewed by coaches and how should we approach this?  J.B. 

Good job on getting with the NCAA on this - They have done a better job recently of being accessible to families.  With the new eligibility clock rules, she will be just fine because of the one year window after graduation before she automatically starts using eligibility.
I don't see this being a negative, with her pushing off to 2012.  If anything, it could be a positive because she can physically and emotionally mature one more year, but still be considered a freshman.
As long as you communicate with college coaches and express that this decision was based on a late recruiting start and not being located in the United States, coaches won't be concerned.  We focus upon talent and attitude; as long as college coaches know the delay was not because of academics, then there is no issue.
Just keep up your great efforts and keep communicating!

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