USA Volleyball Features A day in the life of...

A day in the life of HPCs

By Karen Patterson (karen.patterson@usav.org) | July 21, 2016, 6:08 p.m. (ET)

HPCsFORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (July 21, 2016) – For the 1,000-plus athletes competing at the 2016 High Performance Championships, much of the day revolves around the 17 courts inside the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale.

But what do the teams do when they’re not competing? Read on to get an inside look at one team’s experience, and find out what position HPC players say they would switch to if given a choice.

RELATED: HPCS HOME | LIVE-STREAMING | TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE | RESULTS

For USA Select A1 Red, HPCs has been a, “fun,” event that “has way more to do than last year.” While Fort Lauderdale and Des Moines, Iowa – the site of the 2015 High Performance Championships – possess different aesthetics (it’s difficult to believe Des Moines is more humid, one player said), the focus is still the same: win the Boys’ International Youth division.

Select A1 Red sits 3-2 heading into the final day of pool play, a record the team is pleased with, considering they’re playing up a division.

“We played freshman in college,” Scott Solan said. “It was fun, but it was awful that we lost against them. I wanted to win!”

The team is made up of 14 and 15-year-old players, facing competition that is largely 17 and 18 years old.

In order to pass time between matches, the team will play bed volleyball, a variation on the sport that involves using two hotel beds, an imaginary net and a mini volleyball.

“We get pretty competitive, but it’s mostly just for fun,” Cole Power said.

Still, it can’t be good for the hotel room’s lamps. “Or paintings!” Ethan Hill added. “But we’re actually very safe. We haven’t broken anything or even hit stuff.”

Other popular activities? Cheering on friends and visiting the hotel pool. James Hartley also takes an ice bath every day to prevent soreness; so far he said it’s working. The team also enjoyed a yacht dinner cruise one night and hopes to spend more time at the beach and hotel pool before the tournament is over. But they’re not forgetting what they’re here to do.

“I went to a college camp and we just did nothing but play volleyball for three days. I thought this would be a lot like that,” Akin Akinwumi said. “It’s been more relaxed, but the competition is still really tough.”

At 3-2, Select A1 Red has two pool play matches left, facing USA Youth Continental Red and KRVA HP Boys (Keystone) on Friday.

“Put me in, Coach!”

If you could switch to any position – regardless of current skill, height or ability – what would you switch to? We asked 170 athletes today and found some interesting trends.

Among girls, particularly in the younger age groups, outside hitter and setter were the most popular desired positions. Many middle blockers, both boys and girls, said they’d most want to switch to opposite.

As for setters and liberos? Those two positions saw the greatest amount of flip-flopping, particularly among boys. But as one coach wryly remarked to a petite libero desiring to be a middle blocker, “Be careful what you wish for. You never know what might happen if there’s an injury…”

See below for the full list of results and check back tomorrow to see the next daily poll!

  Current position:      Position I'd play if I could:   
   Outside hitter - 50    Setter - 46
   Middle blocker - 43    Outside hitter - 41
   Setter - 32    Libero - 33
   Libero - 27    Middle blocker - 27
   Opposite - 18    Opposite - 22
   D/S - 1    D/S - 1