December 7, 2011

Q and A time!

Before you jump down to the Q/A, if any VolleyFolk have a link to or know the TV information for any of the upcoming NCAA Tournament matches, please email me at  I had thought that the Regional Finals would be televised, but I have not been able to find anything specific.  Just wanted to get something posted on Thursday morning, along with some comments about the tourney so far!



My daughter is now in her 3rd year of volleyball (and high school...she is a junior) playing outside hitter (won a starting spot by year end) in Illinois. She has come a long way since she started playing as a freshman and we've been learning the ropes about her playing in college. Does the statement you had in your book about outside hitters that can pass well being the golden goose of college volleyball still hold true?

My daughter is 5'10", getting stronger, and, based on your book, going to focus on perfecting passing during club season.

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


Absolutely, the Outside Hitters which can truly pass (hold their zones, in addition to transitioning to attack) are prized by college coaches.  Rally score has boiled Volleyball down to the most basic level; winning the serve pass battle.  If you can effectively pass, then you can run the middle and right side, which opens up the offense completely.

Even with 12 subs and the specialization of the Libero, OH's that can pass are extremely important because it 'saves' a coach having to use sub on their position or having to create an in-balance in the serve receive pattern (hiding a hitter who can't pass).

As coaches (college and club) have realized that rally score placed a great emphasis on tall, athletic OH's, more and more Middle Hitters have moved to the OH position because of height.  But, Middles usually don't learn to pass as 8th/9th/10th graders and they absolutely don't learn it in college.  This has created some big hitters who can't hold their own in serve receive, and thus creates a weakness which must be managed.

To have that OH who can pass and play defense, in addition to being successful as an attacker is a very attractive recruit to college coaches.

Yes, keep her working on her passing and defense, in addition to her front row skills.  Front row is fun and club coaches find it easy to practice hitting rather than defense/serve receive.  Encourage her to make sure she focuses on all the skill sets to be a complete OH.

Hello.  There is a high school player in our city that is a left-handed setter.  One of the weapons she has is that she can hit off a pass to her (vs set it to one of the hitters).  She is very good at disguising this so it is effective. 

Question:  Who’s to say a right handed setter cannot position themselves on the left side of the court (opposite side than normal) and have the passers go to her over there?  T(he setter would be facing the other way……and back set would be the strong side hitter technically).  But if she set herself up over there…….then a good, right handed setter who is also a good hitter – now has the same hitting option as any left handed setter/hitter  does.  

Makes too much common sense to be right?  Or am I missing something here.  Some rule that says the setter has to go to that ‘setters spot’ on the court .  If so, why don’t teams use this approach?  S.A.

Funny coincidence - The softball coach at my school (now disavowed), who is a Volleyball fan, asked me the same type of question the other day about right handed setters attacking like left handed setters do.

There is no rule saying the setting area is the right front part of the net, and it would make sense for the right handed setters (of which a majority of setters are) to be on the left front part of the net to attack the ball with their dominant hand.  But because a majority of hitters are also right handed, is the reason teams don't move their offensive starting positions to the left front part of the net. 

It is easier for Middle attackers to hit the ball coming from their right side with their right arm, than to hit it coming from their left, all the way across their body and that does not even take into account the slide footwork which would not be possible to the left antennae.

This same philosophy of the right handed players wanted to hit the ball coming from their right side also applies to the OH players. 

That was the best answer I could give my softball coach.

Interestingly enough, I did know of one adult level team which tried to move their offense to the left front side because the had a right handed setter but 3 or 4 left handed hitters, so logically this was the system to use.  But, it did not work because these players had been taught and played under the traditional alignments for so long that they could not adjust!

Hi Coach,

I was reading a past blog of yours (I thought it was in the Walk-on section or Red-shirt section but now I can’t find it)…… any way….. You said that PSAs don’t have to apply to the colleges because even if it’s at the last minute the coach can get them into the school.  Is this true? 

What if the PSA doesn’t meet the academic requirements?I’m a little confused by this answer?  Can you elaborate on this a little bit? Thanks.  T.B.

Everything I write is true, except when it is not!!

A PSA will eventually need to apply to a school, even if a coach gets them in last minute, just because the Admission's Department needs the paperwork for their files.  What I was refering to, is that for DI/DII schools which may dictate an application deadline on the Admission's website, coaches can get players into the school, even if the deadline passes.  I believe I had a question from a PSA who was considering a few schools in a walk-on situation and wanted to know if she should apply to each and every school; maybe this was the post you read.

In terms of academic requirements, the general rule is that if a PSA is NCAA eligible, then they can be admitted to the school (by an admission waiver, special admit, cash money, etc).  Please know that NCAA Division II does not use the sliding scale (gpa and ACT/SAT score relationship), but rather has a floor of eligiblity based upon the ACT/SAT scores and as such, DII can be tougher to gain academic eligiblity than DI (can someone say football and basketball money influence?). 

A few NCAA DI schools will have a floor on their admission standard and sometimes this floor will be above the NCAA minimum for academics.  Think about a school like Stanford or UC Berkeley.

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