In-Depth Blog Post #4

Where am I right now?

From the time between my last blog post and now, I have improved a lot, especially in my serves. My mentor had mentioned that having consistent serves would be very important when playing volleyball, and I think that my serves have gotten very consistent. Now that my basic overhand serves have gotten pretty consistent, I can start thinking about jump serves when the time comes for that. March was the month of setting, and I think that I have improved a decent bit with setting, although not as much as I would like. While practicing setting, I picked up on three main points from either the court or from others:

  1. When receiving the ball from a teammate to set, position yourself under the ball with big steps and confirm your position before setting.
  2. Then, set high with your arms and legs. The power comes from your legs, and the arms should be used to sort of direct the set.
  3. I had some trouble with uneven sets for a while. My sets would either drift too far to the left or right because my left or right hand was touching the ball more than the other. Because of this, I try to focus on setting the ball with all my fingers except for my pinky fingers and to keep them symmetrical, like an isosceles triangle.

I will continue to focus on these points when practicing setting, but since it is now April, it is time for me to focus on bumping/passing. A problem that I always had with passing was that when I would clasp my arms and hands together, they would be uneven so the ball would only come in contact with only one of my arms, sending it in an unwanted direction. I should definitely try to fix this habit first among others this month.

About my mentor

I continue to attend as many practices with Coach James as I can, but I must note that they were paused over spring break. However, they have started to happen again last week. I will try to continue to go to as many of these as possible. Here are my answers to this blog post’s reflection questions.

1. What has been your most difficult mentoring challenge so far?

I would say a challenge that we would be running into would be that when I go to these practices, it can be difficult to always pay attention to myself since there are other people going to the practices as well and that I am not the only one. Of course, this is to be expected, but this encourages more attention to be paid to how I perform with a team rather than individually. Because of this, it can be difficult to give precise help with my performance at all times, but this is why I also look for help from other people, not just Coach James. I actively try to get help from the people around me whenever I make a mistake/or perform poorly.

2. What is working well?

I think that something that is working well is how often I get to meet together with my mentor. Take into consideration that the expected meeting rates are once every two weeks, for one hour. However, I try to meet with my mentor every week, for two hours (how long the practices last). I suppose this makes up for the note discussed in the first reflection question, but I also try to meet up with my mentor as much as possible besides these practices. For example, last week, Coach James was organizing beach volleyball at Lafarge Park (I assume for fun and not for serious practice), and I took that as an opportunity to not only get small bits of advice from him when I get out but also for more volleyball experience in general.

3. What could be working better?

I do not think that there is much that needs to work better or anything that could be improved. I am actually quite satisfied with how the practices work as they allow me to try my best while not under much pressure. I think that I am in an incredibly fortunate position with many opportunities to play volleyball on any day of the week, so I truly think that nothing could be going any better with meetings/drop-in events right now.

Proof that I am making progress

I was not able to take a video for this blog post, but at the very least I took a picture for evidence proving that I actually do go to volleyball practices.

For the next blog post, I will try to take a video of myself playing volleyball, particularly a video of me serving, setting, and receiving a serve.

Issues that I am running into

I am not running into any issues right now besides the uneven setting as covered in the first section of this blog post, but I am already in the works of attempting to fix this problem. Besides that, the uneven arms/hands when bumping/passing is still there, so I will definitely try to fix this problem this month, as mentioned.

Moving forward

As mentioned, April is going to be the month of passing/receiving. Because of this, I will try to take the “libero” position more often and position myself in the back row, in the middle so that I can be more likely to receive the ball. In this time, I hope that I am able to learn to pass the ball to the setter and not just randomly in the air for more efficient playing.