Where am I right now?
At the time of writing this, it has been a little over three-and-a-half hours since I have left the volleyball drop-in at Pinetree Community Centre. At this point, my sets have definitely improved from two weeks ago, but I was not able to properly demonstrate them today as a lot of people had come to the drop-in event today, which lead to longer lines for serving in waves. I have minorly injured myself from taking hits close to the ground, which I think is a good sign as this means I am getting more comfortable with working close to the ground when it is difficult to receive a serve. My serves have also been getting better as I was able to make the majority of the ones that I have done get over the net. I have been having problems with my overhand serves recently, so it is comforting to see a bit of progress on them.
In the schedule I had made for in-depth, I had mentioned that I would be trying to exercise my cardio and vertical jump for the first month. I have made a routine to exercise these after doing a bit of research into effective exercises for these aspects. This is the routine for cardio:
- Run for a total of AT LEAST an hour a week
- Use a training bike for AT LEAST an hour a week
- 3 sets of 15 burpees every day
This is the daily routine for vertical jump (legs):
- 2 minutes straight doing a wall sit
- 1 minute of one-legged wall sits each
- 3 sets of 20 calf raises
- 3 sets of 20 angeled calf raises
I have been trying my best to follow this routine every day, although there is the occasional day when I am unable to do so.
About my mentor
After contacting many different people, I have finally found someone who is able to be my mentor! His name is James Tecson, and he coaches volleyball for various teams and clubs, like the Ducks volleyball club. He is also the founder of Poco Volleyball. As it stands right now, he has agreed to be my mentor and is completing the paperwork necessary. After that, I will be meeting with him any opportunity I can through off-season volleyball practices.
What about this time that I had spent without a mentor? In this time, I had asked my friends for advice on how to get better based on my current habits when playing volleyball. The truth is that there are many aspects of my performance that I can work on. Here are some examples of advice I was given regarding setting:
- You are receiving the ball with your hands extended. Try to receive the ball closer to your face, and then push outwards. This could help when you are carrying the ball.
- Your fingers are very loose. Try to make them more firm so the ball does not fumble around your fingers.
- Right now, you should not be worrying about each player’s individual wants when setting as you are still new to volleyball. For now, just try setting it high so that anyone can get the ball. When you can comfortably set the ball high, then you can start worrying about each player’s individual wants for ball placement.
Besides setting, I was also given a lot of advice about other areas of volleyball, like serving and movement. While I will start meeting with my mentor soon, I will still try to get as much help from my friends as I can when playing volleyball with them.
James was very kind in giving me a detailed explanation of how he got into volleyball. This lets me get a better idea of what is in store for me as I get better.
I started playing recreational volleyball to stay healthy when I was about 43 years old.
I enjoyed it so much but was not very good at it. I found the volleyball community was very clique, meaning most groups or teams were not very welcoming, especially to newcomers who weren’t very good. So I decided to attend all the drop ins available every night of the week so I could get better.
During those times, I noticed 2 things:
1. Good volleyball players did not want to play with the beginners
2. Registering to play volleyball in a recreational center was very difficult and some times disorganized.
So I set out to change that by attending and creating volleyball skills clinics for myself and others to get better at the sport.
Secondly, I convinced the City of Poco to create a competitive drop in and recreational drop in for the different skill levels of players & also stream lines their registration process just for volleyball drop in.
Third, I created a volleyball community through constantly networking and meeting people at the drop ins and called it the Poco Competitive Volleyball Group. We started with 15 people and are now up to 1400 members.
Fourth, I started coaching youth volleyball at my daughter’s school and created a Youth Train & Play volleyball program called the Poco Panthers to train kids who did not make a club team. I also started coaching Club volleyball with the Ducks , Focus and now the Cougar Volleyball Club. I also coached Highschool volleyball for Terry Fox Secondary & Pinetree Secondary.
It’s been a great experience over the last 12 years since I started playing, organizing and coaching volleyball all mostly on a volunteer basis. The most amazing part is from all the people I have met & become friends with along the way from literally all over the world and to see the youth stay active and improve their skills in a sport that I love so much.
I will admit that I empathize with past James’ feelings about the volleyball community. I will admit that I am a bit shy when playing with people I have never met before at drop-ins, which is why I usually go to drop-ins with friends. In fact, in the drop-in that I had attended today, there were some people from Moscrop Secondary School (the school that is known among my friends for having very good volleyball players) who intimidated me. However, this does not mean that the volleyball community is bad at all. Everyone who I play volleyball with is very willing to give advice to help me improve, which I greatly appreciate.
Proof that I am making progress
I had forgotten to take a picture of myself at the drop-in event, so I will settle for a screenshot of me paying the entry fee of the volleyball drop-in.
In the future, I will try to take pictures and videos of me in drop-in events to further demonstrate my efforts.
Besides pictures and videos, I have heard from some of my friends that I have actually gotten a lot better at volleyball, especially with setting. This made me happy as it showed that the work and hours that I was putting into volleyball were beginning to pay off, and it motivated me to put in even more work to improve as much as possible.
Issues that I am running into
I do not really think that I am running into many issues, but I would like if there was someplace I could go with no people there so I could just practice my serving for a while. I would say without a doubt that my serves are the weakest aspect of my volleyball skills (possibly hitting but serving is certainly close), so it would be nice if I could go somewhere alone to just work on my serves for a while. Besides this, I do not think I am running into many problems when practicing.
Next month is the month when I will be focusing primarily on setting. I will try my best to follow the cardio/vertical jump workout I have created, and then I will try my best to improve on actual volleyball technique. As I am writing this, my love for volleyball is only growing and I am trying to attend any drop-in event I can in order to play and get better. My next blog post will be on March 4th, so hopefully, by then I can give another promising progress report based on my performance in the drop-in events I am attending.