The other day I was asked by a reporter after our latest match whether I was worried along the way that it would be a repeat of the prior one.
If you haven’t been following my Coaching Log entries, then I should tell you in the prior match we went up 2-0 fairly comfortably and had late leads in both the 3rd and 4th sets before losing. To my mind, a big reason for that was playing not to lose rather than continuing to play to win. In the most recent match, we again won the first two sets fairly comfortably, but then got blown out in the 3rd and had to fight to win the 4th, pulling away late.
I told the guy that while I did wonder to myself at one point whether I should be worried about a repeat performance, I’d rejected that idea as soon as it appeared in my head.
The third set was once of those fluky things that happens in volleyball sometimes. Could be a lack of focus. Could be the other team gets a motivational boost coming out of the 10 minute break. Who knows?
The fourth set was nip and tuck most of the way. We didn’t have a late lead that we conceded, as happened in the prior match. In fact, looking at where we were in the rotation, I was confident we were going to win once we got our nose ahead late.
So no. At that time I wasn’t worried that we were replaying the script from the prior match. Are there things we need to iron out in that 3rd set? For sure. But they are just part of the overall developmental process for what is still early in the season with a team largely biased toward the younger side of the age spectrum.