Manny Johnson: Blog 16 at 2008 HP Youth Holiday Camp

Jan. 21, 2009, 5:23 p.m. (ET)

Day 8 session 2

After our pre-practice routine today we did one way pepper and warmed up our arms by jump serving.  Before we started play we went over the whiteboard where Neil had written the following:

  • Left side rhythm
  • More blockers is better than less
  • Triple block invites tip, be ready
  • Middles more slides
  • Setters play it safe focus on location first
  • Lots of quicks in transition
  • Right side blockers see a fast set to the pin expect a line shot
• Angry middles


Left side rhythm means we want the outsides hitting a first or even second step set on the left side.  More blockers means we want at least two blockers on every swing, three on high balls to the outside and middle.  We want the middles running more sets behind the setter off one foot.  Location for setters is of paramount importance, give the hitter a ball in the same spot every time and watch them rack up the kills.  Angry middles means we want them to be aggressive and intimidating.  When talking about sets and timing we are referring to the hitters approach in relationship to when the ball is set.  Outside hitters are usually on the first step of their four step approach when the ball is set; for a go they can be on their second step when the ball is set leading to a faster offense.  Middles usually run a third or fourth step set depending on the set they are hitting and the pass the setter was given.

Armed with these cues the girls went into playing volleyball.  We started with the USA wash drill then went into MVP and finished with a baseball game.  Throughout play coaches kept reminding players about the ball hitter ball setter sequence.  Ball- see the pass, Setter- dump? quick? Ball- what does the set tell you, Hitter- can she score/hit at me?  Compared to where we started a week ago these players have made great strides towards becoming better more complete volleyball players.  They all came in with great skill and athleticism but now they are much more technically sound and as a result more efficient in their movements.  They are also seeing the game a lot better making it easier for them to play.  When we watched the Men's Olympic final we pointed out to the players that it only looks slow and effortless on tv, in person the ball is moving very fast.  The reason it looks slow and effortless is that all the players are seeing the game and reacting accordingly so they are rarely out of position.