I came across an excellent post from one of my former NT teammates Brenda (Boroski) Westwood that I thought was to valuable not to share with you.
Brenda had an astonishing career for the University of Winnipeg Wesmen as she led the team as a setter to 5 CIS national champions, (Player of the Year in 86/87 and 87/88; MVP of the National tournament in 85/86 and 86/87) and
played Jr. National team for 2 summers, Captain in 1985 where the team won Gold at International tournament in Italy… defeating the US in the finals.
Brenda came to the team for the year that I had transitioned to full time setting. In fact, this young "little" feisty setter, who is one of the funniest people I have ever met, taught me a lot about setting and dealing with hitters that no coach would ever teach me!! shhh..and will remain a "setters secret".
Now a successful youth coach, Brenda has many gifts to bring and I am happy that she is letting me share her knowledge here on my blog.
GUEST BLOG: BRENDA WESTWOOD, Winnipeg Manitoba
It's time kids!!... lets talk about Setters!! Yay!
Of course this is my favourite topic because I get a kick (not really) out of talking to coaches about setters. Unless you have set for a long time, it is hard for a coach to understand all the jobs that a setter has to do... besides actually playing!!
- Setters must be able to think on the fly... take a look at the opposition and try to figure out HOW to 'create' then attack the gaps with the best option for the team needs to get a kill with the type of offense they call.
- They need to figure out and deliver the set types and specific location of those sets (ex. push 51, inside high for line shot, backset either inside or at the antenna, if dumping is an option, where the defense on the other side is weak, and what tempo will work best against that specific opposition.
- They need to figure out who likes which set, and give them the highest chance for success, either with the actual set or the combination that creates an open lane for it.
- They need to be aware of the mental makeup of their hitters and what kind of support works best for EACH of them
- They need to do some things early in a match (whether they work or not!!) To establish a certain attack they may not even use in the third set, but have to lead the opposition blockers to believe she might. (These early plays usually cause rookie coaches to lose their minds...)
- They usually have to adjust to middles coming in at all different speeds and angles (even though they shouldn't have to adjust to speed, it should always be superfast) often they must set a middle who hasn't even gotten two steps off the net, but the gap is there and that set needs to be made even forced!
- Setters know that a fast middle sets up everything... combos, isolation, seams etc. This is the 1st ingredient in engaging your setter in a fast, fun, smart and effective attack. (correct me if I'm wrong setters... but a high ball is NOT a challenge, nor is it fun and unless you have an entire stable of horses it usually ends with a Loss) Speed kills. Speed = isolation kills.
- Setters have to read hitters and decide when to release from defense to run in and transition the offense... coaches: this is fun!!... STOP asking your players to dig the friggin' ball into the center of the court!!! all that does is force a high ball attack with two solid closed blockers. Why not expect more? Even my brothers 12U girls are digging the ball to the setting spot... setters job is to get there.
- Setters are usually the liaison between coach and players and have to work together to create a winning offense... Nothing more frustrating than a coach that doesn't understand what a setter needs and wants to do.
- All of this AND setters, please add to that mixture, trying to deceive the opposition blockers by disguising your set using different body and hand position.
- also setters... please do all of this regardless of the quality of the passes or digs.
Not too much to ask, is it? AND this is only 1/4 of the stuff you need to teach and do... there is soooo much more, but you get the picture here.
Coaches: coaching setters is as much or more conversation as it is reps. That is why choosing a setter (and libero, but that's next weeks topic) who is a tactician and loves figuring all of those things out, is crucial. I can guarantee that some coaches will read this and either not understand what I mean, or they will realize that they have some work to do for their teams.
Brenda, intense and confident, as she listens to strategic advice during her 5 years at UW with coach, Mike Burchuk.
Mike was my coach for the 1996 Olympics. He was a great technical coach and improved my setting technique significantly in the 14 months he coached me. Proving you "can teach an old dog new tricks!!"
Brenda (Captain,#3) setting for Canada Junior Team for 2 summers.
Middle player is Kristine Drakich, 2016 CIS Champion coach for University of Toronto and former national team player.
Recently, I came across a couple of facebook posts this past week that really hit home for me. As I am watching the world and local events, a common theme seems to be just below the surface all the time. The theme being, lack of respect for others, entitlement, and just not being kind to each other.
These two articles I would like to share go "beyond the ball" and speak more to "you" as a coach or player.
The video speaks about being respectful and not entitled. My generation of athletes grew up this way, we respected the game/coaches/country and especially our parents. If young athletes are not learning how to be respectful at home, then it is up to coaches to teach them (and if the coaches haven't learned it... GET ON IT!! you may be part of the problem). Here in this video, a college team coach educates his players on "who earned the right to sit on the "chairs". well worth the watch.
This next article is fantastic. I know club volleyball is very different than when I played. My coach picked a few of us up at home and back for practice and tournaments. We raised money for travel by working at the bingo hall (this was when smoking was allowed indoors and the room was half filled with unbearable smoke). We travelled in the team van together, ate together, bunked together.. and to this day I am still in contact with many of my former teammates. This type of bond/friendship is one of the main reasons for playing team sports.
Here is an excellent article on what you are actually paying for when you pay for your child's club fees.
This article by Jeffrey Kearns was so well said I will just paste it in its entirety:
To My Daughter Allie,
Why I don’t Pay for Club Volleyball:
During a recent dinner one of my friends asked, "Why do you pay so much for club volleyball?, Below is a summary of my answer, I wanted you to know what I really “pay” for and what I hope you gain from these experiences. The truth is I never intend to pay for club volleyball.
I pay to assure that you pushed beyond your perceived limits. I pay professional coaches to challenge you at every practice and match. I pay them to push and challenge you to the point where you might want to quit because it is so tough. I pay them to build up your confidence at the same time so you don’t. I pay them to coach you in volleyball because I understand that your self-assurance on the court transcends to your everyday life. I pay for you to learn how to set goals and chase down dreams. I pay your coaches to help install a high level of self-confidence that you can and will accomplish the goals you set for yourself. I pay so you have more caring and responsible adults involved in your life. I pay for the days when you arrive at home exhausted from school and you don’t really want to go to position training/weights/plyo-metics, but you do it anyway. I pay for the life lessons that losses, frustrations, and disappointment from competition can provide. I pay for life lessons, victories, and personal/team accomplishments that competition can provide. I pay for these opportunities because I do not have to push or force you to play volleyball, rather your desire to play is unequivocally intrinsic.
I pay for you to have opportunities to take pride in your actions on and off the court. I pay for you to be accountable to others (coaches, teammates, club directors) and to help you understand that you are not the center of the universe. I pay for the opportunity for you to honor your teammates and coaches by always giving your best effort on and off the court. I pay for you to have the leadership opportunities volleyball offers. I pay to provide opportunities for you to help everyone around you improve as a person and teammate. I pay for you to understand that you will forever be surrounded by more talented people and less talented people, and that a true leader has the humility and patience to work with both. I pay for you, my daughter, to learn that it is the accumulation of hours upon hours of practice combined with numerous personal sacrifices to be an overnight success.
No it is not club volleyball that I am paying for, I am paying for the time and conversation with a teenage girl on the way to and from practice. I pay for the smiles and sense of purpose that playing club volleyball provides you. I pay to provide lifelong memories from traveling and going to new places with me. I pay for you to experience new cultures, foods, and cities that we experience by traveling to tournaments. I pay because its clear that volleyball sparks your life, passion, and sense of pride. I pay for help in guiding you down the right path. I pay because club volleyball reinforces the life lessons about hope, compassion, hard work, and commitment to yourself and others, that your mom and I have taught you, and continue to model for you.
Most importantly I pay for the bridge of understanding that volleyball provides a father and daughter.
- inspired by posting from Shad Martin
You can reach the author of this article at Jeffreyskerns@aol.com
Well what do you think??
It's time to get your PanAM Volleyball tickets!!
Canada is doing great this year on the international circuit...from Beach medals to World League!!!
Come out and cheer them on on their home court!!.. Let's show up with our Canada jerseys and help them get to the medals!!!
Click on the picture on the right for tickets.
Hope to see you there!!
Coaches, athletes, and parents... this is a great opportunity to take part in a wonderful sporting festival!!.. Who knows when we will see such a sight again in Toronto!!
The 2015 Toronto PanAM Games have launched their torch relay runner signups.. It is hitting many parts of Ontario and various cities across Canada.
I encourage you strongly to put your name forward to run the 200metres!! You will have the experience of a lifetime!
I ran the Olympic torch for the Calgary 1988 games.. drove from Regina to Brandon Manitoba to do so in the middle of January!!!... It is one of the highlights of my career!!
Here is the link:
Here is another out of the gym exercise that young athletes can do to improve their overall fundamentals with speed and agility.
Please leave a comment, would love to hear if you have used, are attempting or introducing these games to your kids!!!
Here is another video in my series of playing "kids games" in my youth and how it can help your volleyball skill development. This video works on your jumping skills (we used to call it "jumpsies" back in the day).
Chinese Jump Rope - works on your jumping skills, timing and as you get better you move through it quicker.
Mom's out there teach your girls about jumpsies with elastics (collected from the postman) or your mom!!!
Would love to hear any feedback if you remember this game as well...
Episode 2 features a variety of activities that you can do at home. In speaking with many coaches over the summer and various camps and clinics, and what I have personally seen... our young athletes are having great difficulty in the concept of "moving their feet"...
In every "field-played" sport, from soccer to badminton to basketball to tennis, the primary movement is with the feet.
Volleyball is no different!!... even though we play the balls with our arms and hands and jump in the air... without moving our feet to the ball first, it makes anything after that more difficult.
There are many varieties of footwork and passing drills out there.. I am showing a few in the following video...
the key is to PRACTICE THIS AT HOME... the coaches do not have time in practice time to work on improving your own footwork.. You need to take your own responsibility to do exercises that will improve your quickness, agility and contacts.
Please let me a comment on what your favourite at home drills our... I will add to the "library"...
Enjoy and Dream Big
and how we convert them to volleyball skills!!
For the past month, I have been working summer camps with young volleyball athletes of all ages. The common factor I see with all of these kids is that in general they are pretty good with their volleyball development however somewhat lacking in their footwork and conditioning.
I am working on a series of videos aimed at the young athlete (and for those older athletes who still need to work on faster feet and coordination). In fact I did a lot of these "fun" games at the national team level. As I repeat over and over again in my inspirational messages to kids, volleyball is the same game at every level, it is just the execution that is different.
These are games that I did endlessly as we "played outside"... a concept we need to reintroduce to our youngsters... that I wholeheartedly believe made me an overall highly coordinated athlete.
Please click here for the first episode on "Juggling" (my fav!!).. found on the Youth Skill Development Page
*please note that the first part of the video you can't really here me talk over the dubbing (I think done on my purpose by my young athlete ;) ... I basically explain the above concept..
I would be interested in hearing your comments on this...
Toronto is 1 year away from the biggest sporting event it will have hosted!!!
The PanAm games will bring 10,000 athletes to the GTA next summer in what can be described at the Olympics of North & South America.
I participated in 2 PanAm Games in Caracas in 1983 and Indianapolis in 1987. Many of the top volleyball teams in the world come from the PanAM countries.... Brazil, Cuba, Dominican, Mexico, Argentina and of course our men's and women's team from Canada... both in beach and indoor volleyball.
I strongly urge any young athletes to get involved as a volunteer for these Games... the experience will be one of a lifetime!!... If you can't get into volleyball, try for the many other volunteer positions available... even a dancer in the opening ceremonies!!.. You will never forget it.
It has been 30 years since I participated in the Panam Games and the memories and friendships are still lasting.
I will be at the Countdown at Nathan Phillips Square Friday July 11. You can find me at the sitting volleyball demo at 5:30 and the meet & greet afterwards... please stop and say hello....
If you can't get down tomorrow, on Sunday, Markham will be hosting a street festival from 2-8pm.
CLICK here for the link...
hope to see you with your Canadian colours on!!
The Art of Coaching Clinic in Toronto was a great event with over 220 coaches from grade school to college attending. Russ Rose (Penn State), John Dunning (Stanford) and Terry Liskevych (USA coach while I was playing) brought their vast knowledge of experience to a receptive crowd.
Along with Kristine Drakich (UofT), Dave Preston (Mac), Brenda Willis (Queens), I was brought in to be a guest presenter. Naturally I talked about setting - basics for one session and advanced for the afternoon session. I had a lot of fun doing it and am very grateful for the experience.
If you had a chance to attend, I would love to hear your feedback of the clinic and if you didn't attend you can see the session at the Art of Coaching website. The website is a great resource for all your volleyball needs - from practice planning, to skills, to the mental part of the game from experts from all levels, even including our Canadian team coaches.
As many thoughts of volleyball & my many days of playing come up for me these days, I thought I would share some insights with young & old players, coaches alike!!