Manny Johnson: Blog 17 at 2008 HP Youth Holiday Camp

Jan. 21, 2009, 5:24 p.m. (ET)

Day 9 sessions one, two, and three

The day started with a visit from Bruce Powers for a review of goal setting and a discussion of how it was working for them.  Bruce talked about the way goals can help players bounce back from adversity.  He used the school of hard knocks as an example; he told the story of a high school player who was cut from her high school team because injuries prevented her from having a good tryout.  Instead of pouting and complaining that she was unfairly cut the player set some goals to prove the coaches wrong.  It worked out well for her as she made the team the next season.  Bruce finished by saying the school of hard knocks is always in session, are you going to graduate?

When we went back in the gym, we scaled back on the 6v6 and focused on small group games, 3v3, 4v4 etc.  We did our pre-practice routine followed by 6 touch pepper and setter tutoring/serve pass.  We then did coach on 3 and a butterfly.  After serving we did 3 rounds of doghouse.  First round the ball was entered via a free ball, second round was a 2nd ball bounce that had to be set to a pin hitter, third round we added a middle blocker and the first ball had to be set to the middle.  All balls in all rounds were entered to the non-doghouse side forcing the team in the doghouse to get out by playing defense.  Going back to small group games forces the players to think and move more.  It also reviews all the basic skills the girls have been working on throughout the week.  Most importantly, it makes all the players more complete and well rounded.  We want the girls to get away from the mentality that they only play one position; we want them to be volleyball players, not middles, setters, liberos, or outsides.

We came back in the gym for one more session after dinner.  During this last session we did the drill that may have won a national championship for Penn State; 5v5 no middles.  In this drill we have the girls set up into two teams of five, with no middles.  Setters can be front or back row.  This drill works on one on one blocking for the pin blockers and can help with triple blocking because on predictable balls both front row players should block.  The drill also works on defense, transition footwork, hitting (hitters can run different types of sets they may not normally run), and good old fashioned ball control.  After a few rounds of 5v5 no middles we went into a final round of MVP.  Camp closed with some inspired volleyball.