Tuesday, January 29, 2008

2008 Volleyball Camp Schedule

2008 Volleyball Camp Schedule

Feb 2-3 Irvine, CA $145 University High School, Volleyball Camp

Feb. 15-16 Ventura, CA $140 Buena High School, Volleyball Clinic

March 8-9 Tampa, FL $140 Hillsborough Community College, Volleyball Camp

April 19-20 Phoenix, AZ $145 Kingdom Courts, Volleyball Clinic

May 3-4 Chicago, IL $140 Northside College Prep High, Volleyball Camp

May 10-11 Cleveland, OH $140 Rocky River Rec Center, Volleyball Clinic

May 17-18 Boston, MA $140 Bridgewater State College, Volleyball Camp

June 7-8 Cincinnati, OH $140 McGee's Courts 4 Sports, Volleyball Clinic

June 21-22 St. Louis, MO $140 Parkway West High School, Volleyball Camp

June 28-29 Denville, NJ $150 Powerzone, Volleyball Clinic

July 5-6 Sterling, VA $145 Dulles SportsPlex, Volleyball Camp

July 7-8 Quad Cities, IL $135 Black Hawk College, Volleyball Clinic

July 9-10 Two Rivers, WI $140 Two Rivers High School, Volleyball Camp

July 12-13 Indianapolis, IN $140 Indy Indoor Sports Park, Volleyball Clinic

July 14-15 Pittsburgh, PA $145 Greentree SportsPlex, Volleyball Camp

July 17-18 San Antonio, TX $145 Factory of Champions, Volleyball Camp

July 19-20 Dallas, TX $145 Volleyball Institute of Plano, Volleyball Clinic

July 21-22 Detroit, MI $145 Maxx Play Arena, Volleyball Camp

July 24-25 Kansas City, MO $140 Parkville Athletic Center, Volleyball Clinic

July 26-27 Denver, CO $145 Bladium Sports Club, Volleyball Camp

August 2-3 Phoenix, AZ $145 Kingdom Courts, Volleyball Clinic

August 5-6 San Diego, CA $145 Fairground Volleyball CTR, Volleyball Camp

August 9-10 San Francisco, CA $145 Payes Place, Volleyball Clinic

August 11-12 Seattle, WA $135 Kent Commons, Volleyball Camp

August 16-17 Irvine, CA $145 University High School, Volleyball Clinic

Nov. 1-2 Sterling, VA $145 Dulles Sports Plex, Volleyball Camp

Nov. 15-16 Pleasant Prairie, WI $140 LakeView RecPlex, Volleyball Clinic

Nov. 17-18 Canton, OH (Evenings) $140 Elite Sports Ohio, Volleyball Camp

Nov. 22-23 Minneapolis, MN $140 Ralia Sports Center, Volleyball Clinic

Dec. 13-14 Seattle, WA $135 Kent Commons, Volleyball Camp

Dec. 20-21 Cherry Hill , NJ $145 International Sports Center, Volleyball Camp

Volleyball Camps & Volleyball Clinics for Adults and Junior (Ages 12-18)across the US for 2008!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Serving in the Wind!

Living in Southern California has it's advantages. One of them is the fact that we enjoy two seasons out here: Nice and really nice. When we have a high pressure build-up to the east of us, we get a weather condition known as a "Santa Ana." This condition is responsible for the fires that received widespread attention. It also produces some great summer days right in the middle of winter for the rest of the country. SoCalis get a kick out of calling/e-mailing our friends to the east of us and telling them about how "Nice" it is here.....

Well.......I was at the beach last Wednesday at Moonlight playing our usual "Old Man" King of the Court Game, when the wind suddenly shifted from a slight Santa Ana to a 15-20 MPH onshore wind (Opposite direction.) To say siding-out was a chore, would be an understatement. For one thing, nobody could serve the ball in the court. Until, I reminded myself to do exactly what I teach at my clinics: Do not throw the toss high out of your hand.

One of the mistakes I see young players do is to toss the ball too high. You lose control when you do this. You have to hit the ball in the "Sweet Spot" when serving to insure you indent the ball. In the wind, this can be a big problem as even if you throw the ball up 12 inches, you are going to have the wind move the ball before you contact it. You will miss waaaaay too many serves.

Toss the ball low in the wind!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Keys to Setting

Setting: The Basics, the Good and the Great

Setting is a challenge to teach at a clinic due to the physical nature of the skill. Strong fingers and wrists are a must, and strength must be developed through weeks and months of pushing physical limits. Setting a basketball for five minutes a day and doing push-ups on your fingers are a couple of ways to gain the required strength. The issue I have at my clinics is that I can teach only technique―not strength―and players' fingers only get weaker as the day progresses.

The Basics
When talking about passing or setting, knowledge of the “Rule of Ball Control” is crucial. Coaches have different ways of describing this phenomenon. I explain it to the participants at my clinic as an integral element of many skills; passing, setting and digging are the most common. The Rule of Ball Control implies that when the ball is either 30 feet or one-and-a-half seconds away from your body (whichever comes first), you do not move your arms or hands in relation to your body. Period. Many coaches call this a quiet platform when applying this rule to passing. Your body can move (very quickly, I hope) but your hands don’t move when you set and your arms don’t move when you pass or dig. There are two reasons good players do this. The first is that you set and pass better. How much better? In some cases, there's a one hundred percent improvement. The second and less obvious reason is that we tell the next person where the ball is going without saying a word. When hitting, a good player can look at the hands of the setter and know exactly where to line up his approach. They unconsciously read the hands of the setter. In sports, we call this nonverbal communication. How cool is it to be able to look at your teammates and know where the ball will be before they ever touch it? Many teams refer to this phenomenon as teamwork.

The number-one factor in teaching setting is to have players stagger their feet to increase power and control. Crossing the feet is a very common mistake that novice setters make. Setters running a normal offense always put their right foot forward for two reasons: It enables them to see the court with their peripheral vision, and if they do make a mistake, they are more apt to set the ball off the net instead of over the net—it is where their shoulders are facing. This is an issue young setters need to deal with when backsetting, as their shoulders are facing over the net and should be realigned to achieve proper placement of the ball. If you set the ball over the net, check your feet; chances are you have the wrong foot forward. When setting outside to the left side, the right foot goes forward; when setting to the right side, the left foot is forward.

Every player has a responsibility to make each contact better than the one before. This is the essence of what great setters do—they make their hitters better. Setters have a responsibility to control two aspects of the hitter. The first is to keep the hitter's approach always going into the cross-court. We have all dealt with sets that are set outside of our approach; the result is the ball location hangs you out to dry with a loss in power and efficiency. No matter where you start your approach from, the setter should be able to “see” the hitter and adjust the depth of the set accordingly. To find the second aspect of a good set, you have to ask yourself a question: “When hitting the hardest ball you have ever hit, you are slightly…?” Answer: You are slightly late to the ball. When you are late to a set, you accelerate through your approach, jump high and hit hard. The trick to setting is to always make your hitters slightly late into the cross-court shot. Simple to explain, but challenging to do. To sum this up in a single thought: Set the hitter―not the ball!

The Good
Setting is a matter of timing a hitter’s approach. What do good setters do? To answer this question, you have to ask yourself: Who watches the setter? The answer: the blockers―specifically the middle blocker. Again, good players don’t react to the ball in sports; what they react to are the bodies of other players. This is what we call anticipation. Middle blockers anticipate setters so intently that they watch them during warm-ups for any pattern of setting. Typically, setters will push out from their elbows when setting outside. They will elevate their hands when setting the quick, and they will arch their backs when setting behind them. To counter this, good setters need to learn how to set only from their wrists. This again takes an even greater amount of strength. By avoiding the use of the elbows when you set, you give the opposing middles less to watch on the release of the ball.

The Great
As part of their training, advanced setters learn how to set the ball past the apex of their jump. Jump setting is a skill that is mastered at advanced levels. However, what great setters learn how to do is set the ball not at the top of their jump, but just as they are going down. This enables them to hold on to the ball and hold the middle blockers for a split second longer. If you want to see two excellent setters who set from the wrist past the apex of their jump, watch a replay of the 2007 NCAA women’s finals and keep an eye on Stanford’s Bryn Kehoe and Penn State’s Alisha Glass.

The last article I wrote dealt with passing the ball low and to the net. Good players do not jump up from their legs to pass the ball. In fact, we do everything we can to keep the ball low. When you pass a ball low, you give the setter added peripheral vision. When you give the setter peripheral vision, they can time the approach of the hitters. The added value of passing a ball low is that you give your setter the ability to watch the block. Great setters learn how to split objects; what they look at and what they think about are two different things. After a ball is passed, great setters learn how to look between the ball and the block. They use this information to catch the middle blockers out of position and “set against the flow.” Setting against the flow is nothing more than seeing the blocker lean or step one way while the setter sets the other way. It is one more way the setter makes the hitters hit better by creating space between the middle blocker and the outside blocker.

Next Up: A Simple Drill to Learn an Arm Swing!