January 21, 2013

College Volleyball and Random Thoughts, Part I

Random "Don't Like" College Volleyball thoughts which have to get out of my head:

1.  15 substitutions - I guess the players were getting really tired having to play six rotations in a row?  With this many subs, the player who spends the most time on the floor is now the Libero!  Who would have thought?  Now, I am hearing that USA college players are not as valued professionally because they can't play effectively all around, which is still a tenant of the international game.

I was at a Boy's Club tournament last week, and the games are played under FIVB rules.  These matches flowed much better, were not constantly being stopped for subs, and somehow they were still competitive and entertaining!

2.  More and more teams are running an Inverted 6-2 Offense (don't know if that really is the term, but it is mine now!).  2 setters and 2 opposite players are switching in and out every three rotations because of the 15 subs.  Two things; I find it hard as a fan because I can't follow the critical player (the setter), and as a setter, I could not have imagined playing three rotations and coming out, especially in a 25 point rally score game (warming up is more taxing than playing the match!).

3.  I have tremendous respect for Nebraska Volleyball - A steady presence in the Top 5 rankings.  But, they have got to get some better uniforms!  Adidas must make a simpler, more attractive uniform that what they are wearing?  Maybe it was just the couple of matches I saw on TV, or maybe it was laundry day?  

4.  This will be the 52nd time I have reference this topic on the site and in my book (Inside College Volleyball), but it is time to talk about it again.......Poorly dressed head coaches drive me bonkers!!!  And what drives me even more bonkers (ultra bonkers?) is these coaches can afford to dress better.  It does nothing for the professionalism and image of our sport, when head coaches are wearing polo shirts in the NCAA tournament!  If our sport is to be taken seriously, then those who coach in our sport need to look serious.  Football coaching standing in the grit and grime of the sideline look better dressed than the volleyball coaches.  I think the AVCA should hold a mandatory webinar for all NCAA Division I Head Coaches called "What Not to Wear for Head Coaches" - Stacy and Clinton could put a coach or two into the 360 degree booth to illustrate their fashion shortcomings.

5.  Maybe the Head Coaches are not concerned with their image because so many of the stands are empty?  No matter what scoring format we use, no matter how many times we change the ball contact rules, no matter the endless changes, popularity of volleyball is dependent upon the support of each individual athletic department.  I poke serious fun at poorly dressed head coaches, but it is disheartening to see empty stands in NCAA tournament matches and in conference matches.  For every Hawaii and Nebraska for attendance, there are 50 schools where the stands just have the family watching and the lost couple of students.

6.  The PTB (powers that be) need to go back to a white ball for television matches.  A multi colored ball is harder to track on television because when it spins, the darker panels dominate and this is especially so if the camera is at a distant angle.  Softball uses a bright yellow ball, which is easy to track on television.  If we are concerned about being on TV, then let's make it easy to view the ball!  I recently saw a match on TV where the white ball was used, and it was very easy to follow, no matter how fast or redirected the ball traveled.

7.  With the 15 subs and Inverted 6-2, college volleyball offenses has degenerated back to North/South, and I find it BORING!!!  High balls to each antenna and wow, the middle ran a 3-1!  Slides are dying because there is always a right side hitter, combinations have disappeared (I have not seen a left side crossing play since gas was under $2.50 a gallon) and the biggest wow factor (ode to Storage Wars) is a back row attack!

Part II will be published next!!!!


  1. Matt - Come coach in England. FIVB all the way! Granted, the level of play at the university level ain't quite the same, but it offers the opportunity to actually coach toward player development and not just strategy/tactics.

  2. Good morning Coach, many girls in our region are playing up this year because many clubs did not have enough players on make a 17 and 18's team. What do you think if a sophomore setter playing up on the 17s instead of her age group 16s. As far as skill development goes will it hurt her or harm her as a setter.

    Thank You.

    1. I'm not Matt, but my 2 cents anyway:

      playing up CAN be a great experience if the player's skills & team is up to the task & they can be competitive...

      on the other hand, if she/the team is not ready for that level, it can be very disheartening & frustrating.. no one likes to continually lose..

      if this is the case, they have to be mentally strong & LEARN from other players & teams at that level of competition... what makes the other players more skilled & teams more successful?... observe & learn...

      if they fall in the middle of the pack, they can be encouraged that they are almost there & should be more observant of better players & teams... some teams run like clockwork.. a pleasure to watch....

  3. Agreed..

    I definitely miss those combo plays...

    “high & outside” all day long puts me to sleep

  4. Come to North Texas, we need a very good setter coach. Not too many true setter coaches here.


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