Thursday, April 06, 2006

Volleyball Games 1 and 2

I didn't get anything posted about our first volleyball game last week so I'll catch up this evening. Last thursday was our first game. We started out playing against a team that is coached by some old playing partners of mine. Just luck of the draw our opponents had a couple beginners on their team. My girls had not been serving well in the one practice that we had. But they really stepped up once the game started.

The youngest player on my team had never before served from the back line on the court. She had missed our first and only practice so I hadn't had the opportunity to work with her at all. I managed to spend about 2 minutes with her during our warmups. I really overloaded her. I was trying to switch her footwork around, straighen her elbow, lower the ball at impact, straighten her back, keep her focus on the ball and increase her back swing and follow through. She needed a lot of work. She was nervous when the game started but when it came her time to serve she was spectacular. She had 5 service attempts. She was successful with 4 of them. The one miss was close. She caught the tape but the ball just wouldn't dribble over.

We won the first two games of the match 25-18 and 25-20. Once the match was over we played a third practice game. My girls had a let down in the practice game and we lost it.

In the match we only had one really good bump-set-spike combination. But it was a beauty. I also had two other girls who hit pretty good second or over set spikes.

Tonight was our second game. We were facing a team that had two of my 8th graders from my school team. My daughter was a little aprehensive about playing against her two best friends. I tried to tell her that the next best thing to playing volleyball with your friends is playing volleyball against your friends. But I don't think she believed me. We started out a little slow exchanging points with our opponents for the first four service rotations. Then my daughter got her turn to serve. She rattled off five great serves. We rotated due to the leagues 5 serve maximum per player rule and picked up another point. They got one serve and then our next player rattled off another 5 consecutive serves. Two rotations later and we had our third 5 service rotation. We won the first game 25-12. It was a slow start but a really strong finish.

Unfortunately we really slowed down in the second game. We only had two girls get all five serves in. But it was nice to see that one of those 5 service runs was by an underhanded server. She isn't comfortable with overhand serving yet, but she has a wicked underhand serve. Fortunately the other team also slowed down some this game also. We won it 25-16. Then in what is becoming a team tradition we lost the practice game that we played after the match was over.

I'm already putting together next Monday's practice plan. I've been pushing them pretty hard on court movement and hitting. But I think I'm going to take a step back and spend most of our hour on basics. I saw a lot of sloppy play and I think they really need a basics refresher. So Monday is going to be an hour of passing and serving.

One funny incident happened in the second game. Our opponents ran a great pass-set-spike combo with one of my school players hitting the spike. I was so excited that I yelled "Great Spike Katie." When she hit the ball. At this point I happened to see the Katie who plays on my team standing in the middle of the court looking at me like I had lost my mind. Her facial expression had "But I didn't even touch the ball" written all over it.

After the match several of my school players were all gathered around visiting. That is when they discovered the only time I will allow them to do any trash talking. The losers tonght were trash talking the winners, in a self deprecating way. But it was friendly and everyone was laughing. They proved to themselves what I had been trying to tell them earlier in the evening. When you play against your friends you get the chance to whoop up on each other and when you are done everyone is still friends.

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