Warm Up Songs for Practice and Competition

July 05, 2014, 1:18 p.m. (ET)

In the van ride to the competition venue last month at the Sitting Volleyball World Championships, music from Poland’s airwaves would reverberate as we wove our way thru Elblag (founded in 1237) traffic.  One song that was a hit that I had never heard was Fly Project’s “Toca Toca,” a fun one in Spanish. Then at the competition hall, music would blare out that I either recognized, or had never heard and had to ask what the lyrics were saying.  Add in the beating of big drums and horns (I bought one to bring home that is powered by mouth and emblazoned “Polska” on the side) and you have the place rocking.

Sven, one of my fellow jury members was saying how much he dislikes loud music – except when it is used to warm up/power up for practice or competition. I simply love music, loud or not, especially when I watch an act perform their acquired motor skills live in front of an audience. I have over 100 music DVDs of artists performing their craft live, while also appreciating the creativity found in most single song videos an artist produces.

So symbolically, the best group I learned about here was played in the technical staff room by Jenny, a delightful classifier from Australia. Sidebar: Some classifier humor that you will need to search for yourself – what is the name of the dangling part of your skin at the elbow?  I think you will find it a good chuckle as you keep becoming a lifelong learner, both on and off the court.  

The name of the group Jenny was listening to is the Great Big Sea  – and thus as a World Championships and the invention of the Wright brothers and so many other tweaks to a principle of flight allow us to gather together from afar – I am thankful for my volleyball family friends who gathered from all over the world to compete, and the music they share with me.

Great Big Sea is a Canadian group who have been singing folk songs for over a decade, and yet I have never heard of them. So I went to YouTube, searched for them and using snipmp3.com started listening to their most popular songs – my favorites are “My Apology” and  “Consequence Free” and if you like full on Irish, go for “Lukey." If you like Irish songs, accapella, and fun lyrics, you will enjoy them too.  They remind me of one of my family’s favorite groups, Carbon Leaf, another one of those niche bands you likely have not heard of, but should know about.  In my ride to Red Rocks to see Sara McLachlan music topics had the McShanes adding the group Vertical Horizon to this group, starting with the song “Everything You Want.”

Music is such a great way to connect players and the volleyball family from a world of national differences.  The diversity of cultures, languages and teams at an event like this always amazes me. The gentle giant from Kazakhstan whose head rises above the net, to his ever smiling libero double AK (above the knee amputee) teammate. The joy of being in a new “classroom’ for 1,500 elementary school kids, who know enough about the game to draw pictures like these and more, as they rock out to the music of the venue disk jockey’s song selection.

I am a World ParaVolley board member, and at this event we fiscally assisted the VolleySLIDE group, our “Level Zero Educational Group” to collect and share player blogs, videos and much more.  I gave them my radar gun to record top spike/serve speeds. The group recorded hours of net cam videos, including one I asked for showing from ground level (aka a duck’s eye view) the dance that happens in the sitting game as the legs from both sides pass on, off and UNDER the net, one of the four major rule differences between the Olympic and Paralympic version of the game. As no one is jumping in the sitting game, going under the net is allowed, and I look forward to getting this dance shared for anyone interested in this choice of playing the sport – whether you are disabled or not. Click www.volleyslide.net and see the great stuff collected and shared from this year’s World Championships.

Gordon Neale, one of my fellow jury members, retired at this event after over 30 years of supporting and growing the sitting game around the world. I hope to see him this fall at the Invictus Games in London that Prince Harry created, but in case I couldn’t, I asked Gordon about how music impacted his life. Gordon grew up with a father in the British military, and when we were talking about whole vs part training, he told the story of how he learned to swim when he was young and living in Egypt. His father one day took off Gordon’s floating ring and tossed him into the Suez Canal and said swim…. He spoke of two songs, the first was burned into his brain when after six months of being stationed in an Indonesian jungle outpost, the helicopters that came to take them home were blaring the Animals song “We Gotta Get Outta this Place.”  His favorite warm up song was “SunChyme" by Dario G, which has a very unique humans as African animals video you can see while listening to the song HERE

So in the interests of collaboration and learning from one another, would you please share below in the comments, the YouTube link or just the name of your favorite songs to warm up to. If you know the group name/version you like most, please share that as well. Thanks yet again for your part in growing the game together and I look forward to learning new great warm up tunes from your contributions.