In-Depth Blog Post #6

Where am I right now?

In the time period between this blog post and the previous blog post, I think that one of the biggest factors that has improved is simply my overall game awareness and ability in the game. I had talked with a lot of my friends asking how I could improve at volleyball, and a lot of them thought that a major factor holding me back was not technique, but rather experience. While this is not to say that my technique is perfect, I understand that just playing more volleyball (not necessarily focusing on a singular field) will definitely help me and my ability in the sport.

I will now use these next two paragraphs to gush about a particular play that I had made at a Pinetree drop-in that had surprised everyone watching. We were running 4v4 waves where there are four people on each side of the court (one front-row as a setter, and three back-row as receivers/hitters), and I was the setter on the receiving side. My job as the setter was to get the second touch of the ball and set it to a position so that the attacker could comfortably hit it into the enemy side of the court. As the opponent’s server was serving, someone on our side was ready to receive the ball and received it. However, he did not get it directly to me and got it a few meters away from me. In the time that the ball was still in the air, I ran towards it and jumped. In the air, I had set it to the hitter (who was behind me) and they had hit it directly into the enemy court.

Note that the hitter was the supervisor who always attends these drop-in events. Setting in the middle of the air is a common move in volleyball known as “jump sets,” and setting to someone behind you is known as a “back set.” These moves are not particularly rare as people who are good at volleyball pull them off pretty frequently. However, I am still practicing volleyball and that set was easily the best play I have made so far in my career. Even the supervisor (who had been to all the drop-ins I have been to and who seems to be watching my growth closely) had mentioned that that was the best set he had seen from me ever, and the best set that he had gotten in the past two weeks. Unfortunately, the friend that I had brought to the drop-in (Lucas) was getting ready to serve and did not see my set…

This set has given me a great gauge of my comfort on a volleyball court and I think that, after pulling that move off, I got the best idea of my general skill level I could possibly get. I truly think that if I practice hard enough over the summer I may be able to join the senior boy’s volleyball team next year for the school.

In other news, May is supposed to be the month of serving. I have gotten my friend Lucas to take videos of me serving (which will be shown in the “proof I am making progress” section of the blog post), and I also got a video of me setting Lucas. I genuinely think that I am improving and I am very happy with my progress. Also, I have been doing many leg exercises recently to try to get my vertical jump higher. I did not have it measured in a very reliable way, but from what I can tell, my vertical jump has gotten at least an inch higher than before.

About my mentor / In-Depth night

I am continuing to spend time playing volleyball with my mentor. However, now that summer is coming up, there are going to be fewer indoor practices and more outdoor beach volleyball sessions will be held. I will try to attend as many of these as possible as they tend to be held directly after school hours (many of them have been held at 4 PM), which is a great opportunity for me to get some food and go to play with them.

Regarding the upcoming In-Depth night, I may do one of two ideas: I will either set up a net in the field and demonstrate my abilities there (serving, setting, receiving) or I will set up a net in the gym and do the same thing there. If I want to set up a net in the gym (which would be favourable as the weather is unpredictable), I will have to talk with a P.E. teacher to see if I can get permission to do that. If not, I will see if I can borrow a net from a friend to set up in the field. I do think that it may be a bit difficult as I will be the only one there actually playing. Of course, if anyone who would like to see my progress has volleyball experience, we could try playing together to demonstrate my abilities.

Proof that I am making progress

First, here is a video of me serving a volleyball over the net.

That was a normal serve. In this next video, I toss the ball a bit differently and hit it with different momentum.

Finally, here is a video of me setting someone (so I am not the one hitting, I am the one standing beside the net).

Issues that I am running into

I am still not running into any issues, whether it is with my technique or being able to practice enough. I am currently satisfied.

Moving forward

I will continue practicing volleyball as much as possible by attending volleyball drop-ins and practices, as well as beach volleyball sessions when the weather is good.