Friday, September 29, 2006

A Good Volleyball Afternoon

Thursday afternoon was a good volleyball afternoon. Everything started off with a 6th grade only practice. This was the first chance that I have had this year to spend any time with just the 6th grade players. We worked on passing, serving and spiking. I think it was a pretty good practice. But it will be a week or so to see if anything we were working on stays with them.

After practice I had an eighth grade game against one of Murray Middle School’s teams, followed by a 7th grade game against one of Monroe Middle School’s 7th grade teams.

I decided to take a chance and start two of my 6th grade players on the 8th grade team. I only have four 8th grade athletes so I usually have a couple 7th graders play with them. But I see a huge possibility of needing a couple 6th grade players to play with either the 7th or 8th grade teams next month during the two tournaments we have on our schedule.

The 8th grade game started a little slow. But eventually the two 6th grade players settled down and stopped worrying about messing up and started just playing volleyball. In the first game my team completed 11 three hit (pass-set-spike) combinations for scores. That means they scored almost half their points playing good volleyball. There were a couple one-hit returns and a couple 2nd hit spikes. But in most cases I didn’t see a problem with them. Most of them were the result of a slightly miscalculated serve receive or a spike of opportunity. Total for the match (2 games and a practice third) my team ran 23 three hit offensive series.

The best statistic I have from that match though is that all six players on the court scored at least one kill each. A kill is a spike that scores a point. Admittedly my players weren’t bruising the floor with any of their spikes. But at least they were hitting them. It was getting a little close near the end. One of my setters who had most of the assists that day hadn’t gotten her kill yet. I had to tell the two 6th grade players who were setting in that third game to set only her until she scored one. She got two before the game ended. It was the best I’ve seen one of my teams play this year – so far.

The seventh grade team dominated their match. But they did it with serving and passing. They had some three hit offensive series but not as many I would like to see.

The best part of this match was the attitude of our opponents. The match started with the players being pretty upbeat and confident and their classmates in stands cheering them, and jeering us. By the middle of the second game it was pretty quiet in the gym. Our opponents coach had to remind his students to cheer his team and not to be bad sports jeering us. Unfortunately for them there wasn't much for them to cheer about.

Usually if a match ends in two games the losing team is willing to play a third practice game. After this match I approached the other coach to see if they wanted to play the third game. I asked my question and when he turned to see if his players were interested, every single one of them shook their heads “No!”

I wanted to play a third game. I was going to substitute in the two sixth graders who were still sitting around watching to get them some experience with the seventh grade team. Oh well there will be other games on other days.

It was a good volleyball afternoon.

No comments: