One Friday during the 2016 season, I went to watch my first ever NCAA men’s volleyball match. I’ve watched them on TV, but I’ve never actually attended one before. That probably sounds a bit pathetic. In my defense, I’ve watched professional matches in Germany, have been to the CEV Champions League Final Four, and went to Poland to watch some of the 2014 World Championships. So it’s not like I’ve never seen high level men’s volleyball in person. And of course I coached the University of Exeter men.
Conveniently, I was hanging out in Long Beach, which was the home of the then #1 ranked Long Beach State (CSULB) team. They hosted a pair of matches that week, with the one on Friday being against #11 UC Irvine. I’d been to the Pyramid before for a Long Beach State women’s alumni match when I was visiting back in 2013. This was a better production in terms of the game day experience, which probably isn’t a surprise.
Take a look at the crazy number of guys on the Long Beach bench!
Between set warm-ups
I was a bit late arriving to the match because of a late start to dinner beforehand. As a result, I missed warm-ups. Between sets, though, the non-starters came out on the court hitting (which I’ve never seen before). In a typical display of male whatever, the setters put the ball on – or even over – the net and the guys saw how high they could bounce the ball. There was no concern about hitting the net.
This is not the first time I’ve seen this sort of thing. I’m sure it won’t be the last. I wanted to say to the players, “Guys, I’m not impressed.”
What’s the point of this? You will never do this sort of thing in match situation.
It reminded me of things I’ve written about before in terms of warm-ups with respect to throwing the ball and slamming the ball off the floor the way many players do. Needless to say, I’m not a fan.