Friday, April 18, 2014

Two-Time AVCA Coach of the Year Shares NCAA Championship Prep Secrets

by Andor Gyulai, Founder and Owner of Volleyball 1 on 1

This week we want to share some practice insights from one of the most successful coaches in club and college recent history. Bill Ferguson is 2 Time AVCA Coach of the Year for DI NCAA Men’s Volleyball and his volleyball club SCVC is one of the most successful volleyball clubs ever, having won over 31 USA Volleyball Medals. On top of this he is the current coach to the USA Junior National Team.

In this video viewers will get an insider look at one of Bill Ferguson NCAA championship prep secrets as well as other powerful insights on coaching and more. Bill Ferguson picked up this secret from the recent Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl winning coach and former USC Football coach Pete Carroll. 



This is just 1 of 120 videos Volleyball1on1 filmed with Bill Ferguson Coaching. Others videos in the series include:
- Two Full USC Men’s Volleyball Practices
- SCVC Junior Club Practice (2013 USA Club Champs U15 Division)
- Conversations from the office on practice, coaching and more
- Advice on New Ways to Run the Bic Set and Offense
- Full tour of the campus offering insights on the volleyball program
- Plus much more…

Volleyball1on1 produced and filmed these videos with Bill Ferguson to gain new insights on volleyball coaching and hear what top coaches do to be successful. Visit Volleyball1on1.com to access their full library of almost 2000 volleyball coaching videos, drills and practice plans for beach and indoor volleyball. Also contact Andor Gyulai directly if you are interested in filming videos and drills for the AVCA with Volleyball1on1.com – andor@volleyball1on1.com

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Improving Early Recruitment



by Mitch Kallick, Assistant Coach - Central Michigan

Early recruitment.  Two words that either rub you the wrong way or make you shrug your shoulders.  Either way, the overall reaction to early recruitment has been reluctant acceptance.  When you speak to college coaches regarding it, the response you hear most is, “Not a fan/hate it but we have to.”
           

Regardless of your feelings concerning the collegiate recruitment of players prior to their junior year of high school, the reality is it is here to stay.  The schools at the top conferences are more and more receiving commitments from players prior to September 1st of their junior year – the date which the NCAA deems it legal to begin contacting prospective student athletes through email.  According to RichKern.com, there are already 51 total players committed for 2016 and 2017 commitments (I’m sure there are more than a few that have yet to be announced).  Over 80% of these players are going to a member school of the top-10 volleyball conferences in the country.  To get these commitments, college coaches have to use alternate routes to communicate and recruit the prospective student-athletes.  Normally, this means employing an intermediary to allow communication to happen.  Sounds a little circumspect?  Most would agree with you.  The big question is, what can be done to make this reality less, well, unsavory. 
            
One of the first solutions would be, as in most cases, to cut out the middle man.  Currently, schools have to contact high school or club coaches/directors/recruiting coordinators to express their interest in a player prior to the September 1st date mentioned earlier.  This puts way too much of an onus onto the club coach/director’s hands in the players’ recruitment – not to mention taxing their time and resources.  The majority of people in these positions are working on a part-time or voluntary basis.  This makes it pretty difficult to stay on top of all the correspondence that currently flows between full-time college coaches and recruiters.  

The simple solution to this is by moving up the September 1st date.  Rather than have it at the beginning of their junior year, let’s move it to the beginning of their Sophomore year.  Or possibly to New Year’s Day or Martin Luther King day of their Sophomore year.  Either way, this allows the college coaches direct email communication with a player they are interested in rather than having to go through someone else.  Also, this puts the prospective student-athlete in more control of their recruitment.  Rather than having to rely on someone else to relay messages for them, they can have direct contact with the schools they are interested in and let other schools know they are not interested – saving everyone that valuable commodity of time.  It’s really that simple.

The NCAA has been toying with some ideas to increase communication with prospective student athletes.  There are currently discussions allowing all forms of communication beginning on the current September 1st date. If this proposal passes, it will allow phone calls on this date but will also allow text messaging, snap chats, tweets, and all other forms of electronic information.  Though this is an interesting first step, I do not believe it will have the intended effect.

Like an earlier proposal a few years ago, this proposal is well intended but misguided.  I do not believe it is ethical or appropriate for me as a college coach to be allowed to text or Snapchat a recruit.  There is something about engaging in those activities within the recruiting process that I do not believe grown adults should be initiating or participating in with teenagers – regardless of gender.


The good thing about this proposal is the NCAA is listening and understands that early recruitment is here to stay.  Absolutely there are other steps that can be taken to help the overall recruiting process.  I believe moving the electronic correspondence date up one year is the most appropriate, important, and relevant first step.
 
The genie of early recruitment is out of the bottle.  So let’s take steps to make the process more transparent and open rather than continuing down its current path of ambiguity.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Vinnie's Top-5 Previews + Predictions


by Vinnie Lopes, editor of Off the Block that focuses on men's volleyball news and analysis.  He will be blogging for us all season previewing and predicting the top matches each week. For continued updates and analysis of the men's game, visit his website at offtheblockblog.com and follow him on Twitter @offtheblock11 and @vinnielopes.


The postseason is here. Even for the majority of conferences that haven't started their conference tournaments yet, there will be a postseason feeling to this weekend's matches to close out the regular season.

Check out what to know and the predictions for the top college men's volleyball matches to follow this weekend.

UCLA Athletics
No. 3 BYU (18-6, 18-4 MPSF) vs. No. 10 UCLA (17-10, 14-9 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. Saturday in Los Angeles
What to know: Everything is on the line for the Bruins in their season finale. UCLA faces a virtual must-win situation to avoid missing the MPSF Tournament for the first time in its program history as it plays host to first-place BYU. The Bruins enter the weekend tied for sixth place in the conference, but a loss could drop the team into ninth place and out of the eight-team MPSF Tournament. After climbing to No. 1 in the national coaches poll in early February, UCLA has gone 4-6 in the final two months of the regular season. However, the team picked up back-to-back victories in its last two matches, including a five-game upset victory against No. 7 Long Beach State last week. This match will also feature the top servers in the conference and potential front-runners for the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year. UCLA outside attacker Gonzalo Quiroga leads the conference with 49 aces and a 0.49 aces per game average, while BYU outside attacker Taylor Sander is second in the MPSF with a 0.42 aces per game average. BYU despite its two road losses last week to No. 10 Hawai'i has already clinched the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage throughout the upcoming MPSF Tournament.

Prediction: BYU def. UCLA in five games

No. 1 Loyola (23-1, 13-0 MIVA) vs. Ohio State (11-14, 6-7 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. Friday in Columbus, Ohio
What to know: Loyola in its regular season-finale against Ohio State has a chance to do something no MIVA team has accomplished in more than 30 years. The Ramblers with a victory will finish the MIVA regular season undefeated -- becoming the first MIVA team to have a perfect conference season consisting of at least 10 matches since Ball State in 1979.  Outside attacker Thomas Jaeschke leads Loyola and is among the conference leaders with a 3.62 kills per game average, including having 10 kills and 10 digs in a sweep against the Buckeyes earlier this season. Ohio State has clinched the No. 5 seed for the upcoming MIVA Tournament. This is also the first time since 1962 that the Buckeyes will not be a top-four seed in the MIVA Tournament.  Freshman middle attacker Driss Guessous, though, is second in the conference with a .450 attack percentage and has double-digit kills in the last three matches.

Prediction: Loyola def. Ohio State in four games

UCI Athletics
No. 4 Stanford (18-7, 15-7 MPSF) vs. No. 6 UC Irvine (17-9, 14-8 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Irvine, Calif.
What to know: As unlikely as it may have seemed midway through the season, UC Irvine and Stanford will play each with both teams needing a victory to get a home match for the upcoming MPSF Tournament. The Cardinal and the Anteaters started the season in the bottom half of the MPSF, but recovered in the final two months to move into the conference's top five. Stanford enters its weekend road trip on a conference-best nine-match winning streak, while UC Irvine has won eight of its last nine matches. In addition, the Cardinal is second in the nation with a .336 attack percentage and has hit at least .300 in its last five matches. Outside attacker Brian Cook is also in the nation's top 20 with a 3.63 kills per game average. UC Irvine outside attacker Zack La Cavara leads the team and is among the conference leaders with a 3.15 kills per game average.

Prediction: Stanford def. UC Irvine in five games

Hawai'i Athletics
No. 2 Pepperdine (16-6, 16-6 MPSF) vs. No. 9 Hawai'i (15-10, 14-9 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Malibu, Calif.
What to know: If Hawai'i is going to earn a spot in the MPSF Tournament it will have to overcome its biggest challenge all season by winning on the road. Hawai'i opens a two-match road series against Pepperdine in eighth place in the MPSF and must win at least one of the two matches to be have a chance for a spot in the postseason. The Rainbow Warriors are 4-6 on the road this season and have not won a road match against the Waves since 2010. Hawai'i kept its postseason hopes alive last week with two home victories against first-place BYU. Outside attacker Sinisa Zarkovic had a team-high 34 combined kills in the two wins and was named the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week. Pepperdine enters this series needing one win to be assured it will earn a home match of the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals and can lock-up the No. 2 seed with a series sweep.

Prediction: Hawai'i def. Pepperdine in five games

Pfeiffer (13-11, 10-4 CC) vs. Mount Olive (14-11, 10-4 CC)
Mount Olive Athletics

Match vitals: 3 p.m. Saturday in Misenheimer, N.C.
What to know: The two teams that won the last four Conference Carolinas Tournament championships will now meet for a spot in the title match and to be a step closer to a NCAA Tournament berth. The No. 2 seed Pfeiffer following its first-round bye will play host the No. 3 seed Mount Olive in the Conference Carolinas Tournament semifinals. Mount Olive defeated Lees-McRae in four games in the quarterfinals. The Trojans had three players finish with double-digit kills in the victory, including outside attacker Steven Cruse who had a match-high 21 kills. In addition, Mount Olive outside attacker Angel Dache was named the 2014 Conference Carolinas Player of the Year after leading the conference with a 4.11 kills per game average during the regular season. Pfeiffer, the two-time defending conference champions, earned a top-two seed for the conference tournament ahead of Mount Olive because it held the head-to-head tiebreaker. In addition, Pfeiffer had two players earn First-Team All-Conference honors earlier this week -- outside attacker Sonny Hirini and setter David Specian.

Prediction: Mount Olive def. Pfeiffer in five games

Sunday, April 6, 2014

New Vision Tips to Help Read the Game, Slow the Game Down, and Get in the Zone Faster

by Andor Gyulai, Founder and Owner of Volleyball 1 on 1

This week, Andor Gyulai, Owner of Volleyball1on1.com, shares some new ideas building on Karch Kiraly, Hugh McCutcheon, and Tom Black ideas as it relates to reading the game in volleyball. The video includes advice Andor researched with Dr. Bill Harrison as it relates to vision that will help your players get in the zone faster as well as slow the game down when playing volleyball.



This video describes some simple concepts from a series of over 50 videos, drills and exercises we filmed as it relates to vision, reading the game and improving athletic performance. Other videos in the series include:
- Important concepts learned from other sports like baseball / football / Ice Hockey to help improve on the court athletic performance
- Understanding how a breakdown in vision is the most common mistake in volleyball
- 20 Indoor drills to improve Vision / reading the game
- 20 Beach drills / Full vision beach volleyball practice to improve vision and reading the game in beach volleyball.
- Drills to increase and improve visual switching (Critical for Reading the Game!)
- Drills to increase improve visual acuity (Critical for Reading the Game!)
- Plus much more…

Volleyball1on1 produced and filmed videos with Bill Harrison to introduce new concepts as it relates to vision and reading the game. Dr Bill Harrison has over 40 Years of work in the field of Athletic Performance and Vision. He has worked with Hall of Famers in the sports of volleyball, baseball, ice hockey, and football.

Visit Volleyball1on1.com to access their full library of almost 2000 volleyball coaching skill videos, drills and practice plans for beach and indoor volleyball. Also contact Andor Gyulai directly if you are interested in filming videos and drills for the AVCA with Volleyball1on1.com – andor@volleyball1on1.com

Friday, April 4, 2014

Vinnie's Top-5 Previews + Predictions

by Vinnie Lopes, editor of Off the Block that focuses on men's volleyball news and analysis.  He will be blogging for us all season previewing and predicting the top matches each week. For continued updates and analysis of the men's game, visit his website at offtheblockblog.com and follow him on Twitter @offtheblock11 and @vinnielopes.



No. 2 BYU and No. 10 Hawai'i two-match conference series highlights this weekend's slate of matches. In addition out in the East Coast, Penn State and Harvard will meet in a battle for first place in the EIVA.

Check out what to know and the predictions for the top college men's volleyball matches this weekend.

TO KNOW
Player: Geoff Powell, Lewis -- Powell had a career-high 32 kills to lead Lewis from a two-game
Coach: Derek Schmitt, Erskine -- Schmitt in his second season with Erskine led the Fleet to the Conference Carolinas regular season championship for the first time in program history. Erskine will also be the No. 1 seed for the upcoming Conference Carolinas Tournament.
What to know: The No. 1 seeds for three of the four conference tournaments have been set with two weeks remaining in the regular season. The EIVA is the only conference yet to have have a team clinch the No. 1 seed. 


No. 2 BYU (18-4, 18-2 MPSF) vs. No. 10 Hawai'i (13-10, 11-9 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Honolulu
What to know: Hawai'i players and fans remember all too well how things ended the last time it played BYU. The Rainbow Warriors and Cougars will open their two-match conference series in the first meeting between the teams since the controversial ending of their postseason match last season. As the No. 8 seed in the 2013 MPSF Tournament quarterfinals, Hawai'i had seemed to fight off a match-point and force a fifth-game overtime against the No. 1 seed BYU. However, the Rainbow Warriors' game-tying kill was overturned because of a back-row attack violation and the Cougars won the match en route to winning the MPSF Tournament. BYU now enters this conference series having already clinched the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage for the upcoming MPSF Tournament. Outside attacker Taylor Sander also had back-to-back matches last weekend with more than 20 kills and was named the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week. Hawai'i with four remaining regular season matches is in ninth place in the MPSF and one-match behind No. 9 UCLA for the final berth to the MPSF Tournament.

Here is that controversial call:



Prediction: BYU def. Hawai'i in five games

PSU Athletics
No. 12 Penn State (17-5, 8-1 EIVA) vs. No. 15 Harvard (12-6, 8-2 EIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. Friday in Cambridge, Mass.
What to know: Coach Mark Pavlik has repeatedly said in recent weeks that outside attacker Aaron Russell is one of the top three outside attackers in the nation. Russell will now have an opportunity further back-up his coach's comments and move Penn State a step closer to an EIVA regular season title as the team travels to Harvard. The all-conference junior enters the weekend leading the EIVA with both a 4.01 kills per game average and a 0.56 aces per game average. In addition, Russell has at least 15 kills in three of the Nittany Lions' last four matches, including a match-high 16 kills in a sweep against George Mason on Saturday. Harvard is in second place and a half-match behind first-place Penn State in the EIVA standings. Middle attacker Caleb Zimmick also is among the conference and national leaders with a 1.11 blocks per game average. In addition, this will be the first meeting between the teams at Harvard since the Crimson upset the Nittany Lions last season. That road loss snapped Penn State's 61-match conference winning streak dating back to 2008.

Prediction: Penn State def. Harvard in four games

No. 3 Pepperdine (15-6, 15-6 MPSF) vs. No. 8 USC (15-9, 14-9 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. Saturday in Malibu, Calif.
What to know: Pepperdine setter Matt West and USC setter Micah Christenson have gotten use to going up against each other. The two All-Americans have spent their careers competing for everything from starting spots on U.S. National teams to now seeding positioning for the upcoming MPSF Tournament. Pepperdine is in second place in the MPSF and a win against the Trojans can help the Waves move a step closer to locking down a possible at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. West is also third in the conference with an 11.33 assists per game average and has guided the Waves offense to a .302 attack percentage this season. USC playing in its regular season finale is in seventh place and can clinch a postseason berth with a victory. In addition, Christenson leads the conference with an 11.74 assists per game average and has helped USC win four of its last five matches.

Prediction: Pepperdine def. USC in five games

No. 6 Long Beach State (16-7, 13-7 MPSF) vs. No. 9 UCLA (15-9, 12-8 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. Saturday in Long Beach, Calif.
What to know: If history is an indication, All-American outside attacker Taylor Crabb should have big offensive performance when Long Beach State travels to UCLA. Crabb has more than 20 kills in each of Long Beach State's last two matches against UCLA, including a season-high 29 kills in a four-game victory against the Bruins in February. The senior has also led the 49ers in kills the last 10 matches and has a nation-best with a 4.80 kills per game average. Long Beach State enters this conference match needing a victory to remain in position for a possible at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and a home match in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals. UCLA is coming off of a four-game road loss to BYU on Saturday to finish March going 2-5 and dropping into eighth place in the MPSF standings.

Prediction: Long Beach State def. UCLA in four games

No. 14 IPFW (17-6, 6-5 MIVA) vs. Ohio State (10-13, 6-6 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. Friday in Columbus, Ohio
What to know: IPFW has a chance to accomplish a feat it hasn't achieved in seven years but will need to get a road victory against Ohio State. With a win, the Mastodons can clinch at least the No. 4 seed for the MIVA Tournament and their first home postseason match since 2007. IPFW enters this road match on a two-match losing streak to drop into fourth place in the conference but defeated Ohio State in five games earlier this season. The team also has not won a road match at Ohio State since upsetting the Buckeyes in the 2007 MIVA Tournament championship match. Ohio State won both of its home matches last week against Lindenwood and Quincy to jump into fifth place and a half-match behind IPFW for fourth place in the MIVA. In addition, Ohio State is attempting to avoid becoming the first Buckeyes team since 1961 to finish outside the top four in the MIVA standings.

Prediction: IPFW def. Ohio State in five games.