In-Depth Blog Post #3

Where am I right now?

Compared to when I was writing my last blog post, I think that my overhand serves have gotten a lot better. Some of my friends have also told me that I am improving overall in volleyball, which is comforting to me as it shows that the time I am putting into volleyball is working. For overhand serves, I make sure to toss the ball nice and high with some knee movement for more consistent tosses and to follow through when hitting the ball. These tips help a lot for me when serving. Besides my serves, I am realizing that I am more comfortable with setting forwards and backwards rather than my sides, possibly since I do not have to worry about hand symmetry when setting forwards and backwards. I also participated in hitting practices in the practices I attended and realized that my vertical is getting a bit higher, my approach is more calculated and my hit is more powerful as I know how to properly hit the ball now.

Now that it is March, it is time to focus more on my setting in terms of the main aspect of volleyball to practice. In order to work primarily on my setting at the practices I attend, I will:

  1. Try to take the setter position when we are doing hitting lines
  2. Try to stay as the setter when rotating in waves
  3. Volunteer to set when playing scrimmages

Before I play in the practices, I will also make sure to warm up my setting by:

  1. Doing close sets against the wall, and gradually moving farther away until I feel I am ready to comfortably set for that day
  2. Set in the air to myself
  3. Play pepper with another person (pepper is when two players just set or bump the ball to each other to warm up before playing) and focus on primarily setting

If I do these warm-ups at practices and try my best to set as much as possible, I think that I will improve a lot in setting.

About my mentor

I have been attending as many of the off-season practices at Pinetree as I can, and I have gotten a lot of tips about my playing. However, in this section, I will be covering my experiences with my mentor in the practices by answering three questions.

1. What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?

I liked how I was able to get a lot of advice regarding my performance in volleyball. This could just mean that I did not perform very well and I have a lot to work on, but either way, it is good that I have something to work on for the next practice day. What I am looking for in my mentor (and the other people around me in the volleyball practices) is to provide a lot of ways that I am making mistakes in my performance so that I can work on it and improve on it. If there is a flaw in my performance, I want to know so that I can try my best to work on it, like my serving for example. So far, I have not had a problem with this, and I have actually gotten a lot of advice for my playing, which I appreciate.

2. What learning challenges emerged?

Sometimes when I am practicing a certain part of my performance (like hitting/spiking for example), it can be difficult to keep in mind all of the pointers that I was given while I am practicing and I may forget one of them. For example, here are a few pointers I was given about hitting:

  • Start approaching after you pass the ball to the setter
  • When you jump to hit the ball, make sure that you are directly under the ball beforehand
  • Follow through with your hits

These are only a few tips, not to mention a few tips regarding the approach beforehand and footwork. When practicing hitting, it can be difficult to make sure that I am keeping all of these tips in mind and I may forget about one when practicing. Because of this, it is difficult to build a habit. However, I still try my best to keep all these tips in mind by reviewing them before I pass the ball back to the setter so that I have them in my mind for when I hit.

3. What logical challenges affected your communication?

Sometimes when someone would explain a tip to me, I would not be able to understand it fully. Usually, in the practices I attend, we play waves, which is a very fast-paced activity that involves constant rotation. Because playing waves can be such a fast-paced activity, it can be difficult for people new to volleyball since if they have a question, it can be difficult to have the concept well explained to them so that they can understand it in the heat of the moment. Because of this, I would have to wait until I went out and had to go to the end of the line (where I would then have to wait for the other person to get there as well) to clarify what they were talking about. This would make communication a bit difficult when I am trying to learn a concept, but I would always figure it out in the end.

Proof that I am making progress

Since my serves were not very good a few weeks ago, I decided to spend a lot of time on them, as mentioned in my last blog post. Now, I make sure to toss the ball high and follow through with my hit, as mentioned before. I asked one of my friends to take a clip of me serving a ball over the net. Keep in mind that I was having a lot of trouble with getting overhand serves over the net beforehand, and now I am getting more and more comfortable with overhand serving.

I have also gotten a lot of comments from my friends about my improvement, as mentioned before, and I can’t wait to spend more time towards setting as I am planning to be a setter for the school senior team next year (if I practice enough).

Issues that I am running into

I am not running into many issues so far. I am able to practice well at every practice event that I go to and I am content with how I am progressing right now.

Moving forward

This month is the month of setting, so I will be focusing primarily on that aspect of my volleyball gameplay. Since I want to be a setter for next year’s senior volleyball team, I will need to practice a lot in this week so that I can learn a lot about good technique and form.