Monday, September 19, 2011

What I learned from my experience this summer

Well it's been just about a month since I returned from adventures with the FISU Games Team and I have tried to use that time to really put my experiences in perspective. I have learned so much from this summer and gained so much largely because I was open to what the experience could possibly teach me. Afterall, it's not every day you work with some of the top athletes in the CIS let alone the player of the year. Add to that being mentored by two coaches whose programs have consistently been in the top 10 over the past couple of years and I knew that I'd come out of the summer having gained a wealth of knowledge. Now it's up to me to filter all that I learned and use what is appropriate to the current team. So much from the summer would have been awesome with my team last year because they were seasoned vets, I didn't have to start from scratch. Now it's about slowly teaching this new class of athletes what the Gaels volleyball program is about while taking some of the most important pieces from the summer puzzle and applying them here. Some of the lessons were personal, but most were volleyball related so I will share the volleyball lessons with you here.
So without further ado some of the lessons I took away from the summer were:
1. Midline, midline, midline - the best in the world work hard to pass balls in their midline, they shuffle and get their bodies behind the ball by understanding their space and knowing what their strengths are for movement - do I move faster forward or back, right to left or vice versa - this sets up how they stand on serve receive so that they can play to their strengths first. They use their arms only when they need to angle balls that are outside their midline.
2. A great player is a great player regardless of size. Brazil won with a 5'10" OH who had a fantastic arm swing and could hit any angle she wanted. She dominated the match. The same went for the 5'10" OH who played for China in the Gold medal match - also very dominant.
3. Jump float serves are performed by 90% of the teams now. Very few spin servers were seen and those who did spin had an alarming accuracy in respect to where they could place the ball.
4. Ball control and the execution of a solid pass is vital to success - every one of the teams in the top 4 had exceptional ball control. Almost every serve receive or defensive pass were perfect and every freeball was perfect so that they could run their offense.
5. Setters come with all different techniques, but the one that I really liked was the fast release using the wrists and hands instead of the arms to get the ball to the antenna. It takes a lot of training and time but the setters that used that method showed greater efficiency overall.
Well, that's my top 5 volleyball related lessons. I'm really glad I had the opportunity to be a part of the FISU program this summer and look forward to applying what I've learned with the team here at Queen's.