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’d never actually attended one before. That probably sounds a bit pathetic. In my defense, I’d watched professional matches in Germany, had 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’d 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.

Long Beach State at the Pyramid

Take a look at the crazy number of guys on the Long Beach bench!

2016-02-19 19.18.23

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’d 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.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

    3 replies to "Guys, I’m not impressed"

    • Kelly Daniels

      The purpose of this activity is to enjoy hitting warm ups. Plain and simple! If it happens to intimidate the opponent, which never does, then that’s a bonus. If the block gets fooled that happens ever so often then one may ‘bounce’ the ball.
      In my defense of such action back in my playing days, I would try to bounce the ball off the top of the opponent’s head. You know how they say block with your head up? Well after getting ‘tagged’ by me blockers would duck their head to prevent from getting ‘faced’. I then have the advantage of getting by the block. Never did I try to injure anyone. Just make it known I can bounce it off your head.

      Kelly D.

      • markleb

        Trying to bounce is fine and great for the reasons you mention. But hitting the net is hitting the net. And it doesn’t matter how high you make it bounce, if you touch the net it doesn’t count 😉

      • John Forman

        Kelly – Your comment about enjoying hitting warm-ups begs the question what’s the point of hitting warm-ups? If it’s to have a laugh and goof around, then so be it. Do what you like. If it’s actually to prepare for hitting in a match …

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