Anatomy of a win

July 14, 2014

“I learned a lot from you this week. We worked really well together because you use statistics and I coach with my gut. I hope we can do this again some time.” – Michael Miller

Coaches and some of the team after the closing ceremony

Coaches and some of the team after the closing ceremony

This was some flattering words from my fellow Victorian U19 men’s team assistant coach as we said our goodbyes at the end of an emotional week at Australian Junior Volleyball Championships. We had both been called in to assist due to the original coaches being called up to coach the Australian Junior Women’s team at the Asian Junior Championships. I would be joining them later and was allowed to stay back till the end of AJVC.

Only a few hours before we had “technically” beaten QLD Maroon for the first time in the state careers of most of the players – a QLD team who had left some emotional scars 2 years ago in an ugly incident that was never truly resolved. The win earned us the Bronze medal. We had actually beaten them 2 days earlier, in 4 sets after siding out on 4 set points to win 28-26 in the last set. We had shaken hands and signed off the score sheet and thought we had conquered some old demons when the QLD coach protested. He had suspected they were out of rotation in the 4th set and had asked several times for the next server but was dismissed by the scorer’s desk.

Turned out the scorers had not entered in the rotation slip correctly. The referee delegate was called who upheld the request. It was determined that the 4th set and game was invalid and we had to replay the 4th set from 5-7. As the referee delegate had “upheld the protest” our head coach and head of delegation were not allowed to appeal. We lost the 4th and 5th sets and in doing so the game. To rub salt in the wound, our opposite hitter, Phil, who had lead our scoring with an average 20 kills a game had his left thumb dislocated blocking in the 4th set.

Our head of delegation appealed later that night and the referee delegate realised he got it wrong. The win was overruled the next day and we awarded the win 25-7 in the 4th set. QLD appealed against the decision and it was decided that the clause in the rules dictated that once a protest was “upheld” no appeal could be made. Everyone knew we had won the game but could not do anything about it. I have never been so disgusted with refereeing in my life.

So it turned out we had to play the same team again for the bronze medal and no one was feeling too good about it. We prepared for the game as clinically as we could by reviewing the statistics and video.

Our team was “small” but had a number of strong receivers (we had 3 Liberos in our roster of 10). QLD had exploited our weak blocking particularly over our short setter, Dan, and one of our outside hitters, Richo. This had been a persistent concern over the months of preparation. Reviewing the video and stats on vbstatshd it turned out that the setter had not been that poorly exploited in the front court as much as we thought. The handful of occasions were annoying but not great in number.

Our stronger blocking outside hitter and captain, Darcy usually started next to the setter and I suggested the radical idea of having him start next to the opposite, and Richo next to the setter. Although not a great blocker or receiver, Richo attacked the ball high and had possibly the fastest armswing in the competition. He had terrorised QLD in our last game hitting 7 kills from 9 attempts in the replayed sets. Andre, one of our spare hitters who had been doing a good job moonlighting as an outside hitter would sub on for Richo in the back court. Instead of spreading our strongest blockers around the rotation, they would all be next to each other and give us 2 formidable blocking rotation but expose us to 2 extremely vulnerable ones.

The risk of putting the 2 weaker blockers next to each other would be mitigated by starting them both in the backcourt to limit their time in the frontcourt and the fact we knew that we had strong side out percentages in those rotations, meaning we should break even in those rotations and pile on the points in the others.

The head coach, Linford also decided that in the frontcourt setter rotations, Dan would occasionally swap into the middle and have the middle blocker blocking outside.  This had worked in the previous match against QLD prompting them to change their offence and use the pipe over Dan in the middle. Our other assistant Michael had a good feel for when to do this and would be calling the plays. When blocking on the outside, Dan would block to the stick to remove the the blocker’s option of playing off the outside hand, and maybe bait the spiker into hitting the antenna. the position 6 defender would also swing to the line side behind the block.

We didn’t worry too much about creating blocking match-ups or particular serving targets. We were not a strong blocking team and needed our best blockers focused on scoring through attack and Linford found it worked better to let players take a bit of risk with the serve.

By morning of the match, Andre had a fever and could not play, Richo had a sore foot and Phil’s dislocated thumb was still hurting after being re-set. Harry, our 2nd backup libero would play the backcourt rotations for Richo instead of Andre. We let Phil make the call whether he would play with the proviso that if he did, he would be playing 100% and to expect 40+ sets.

The set started slowly with the team tentative. We would need a big game from our opposite Phil, but he had scored 2 from 10 sets with no errors, missing a lot of the pace that made him a problem for opponents. Darcy and Richo had embraced the occasion and were carrying the attack, scoring 9 from 18. Darcy’s job was made the more difficult as the serving target but he responded well passing 15 balls at 2.20. His strong reception and scoring definitely undermined our opponent’s confidence in their gameplan,

During the timeouts and breaks I constantly stressed to Phil and Richo to keep swinging, and that we would rather they got blocked 20 times than get dug 20 times. I instructed Dan to keep setting them with the ratios we had been working with throughout the tournament. By the 2nd set, Phil’s Nurofen had kicked in and Dan feeding him the ball had paid off. Phil would hit 19 kills off 35 sets with 6 errors over the next 3 sets. Dan’s distribution to Phil was equal in backcourt and frontcourt and Phil’s efficiency was consistent in frontcourt and backcourt.

Meanwhile Matt was doing a great job as Libero. He received 18 balls at 2.28 and got 17 digs. More importantly, he organised the receivers to pass at 2.09 in a 2-receiver system, which made it harder for QLD to server Darcy and allowed us to play Richo without exposing the risks to reception.

By the 3rd set I had noticed that QLD was hitting a lot of slower balls. If we could get them to pass at 2.0, we could generally make a dig. I stressed the team to go moderate risk on the serve but stay high risk on the attack.

In addition to calling the blocking plays, Michael was also calling the subs to find opportunities when someone could add value from the bench. We often argued over the subs, but his instinct often prevailed and we got great outcomes. Michael also identified the serving targets.

So did it work? Well, we did win the next 3 sets after dropping the first. Teams in the tournament needed to average hitting 14 kills to win a set and we had scored 18, 17 and 16 in those sets.

Watching the video, in the 4 rotations with the weaker blockers (setter in 1, 2, 3 and 4), QLD scored 17 kills by exploiting one of the blockers. But we managed to sideout 32 times (24 times on the first ball), so we didn’t stay there long and more or less broke even (55 points won, 53 points lost). In the strong blocking rotations (setter in 5 and 6), we did rack up the points (41 points won, 25 points lost).

Sideout Report: Team siding out 24 times in rotations with 1 or both weak blockers (Rotations 1, 4, 5 and 6, or Setter in 1, 4, 3 and 2)

Sideout Report: Team siding out 24 times in rotations with 1 or both weak blockers (Rotations 1, 4, 5 and 6, or Setter in 1, 4, 3 and 2)

Team breaking even in rotations 1, 4, 5 and 6 (Setter in 1, 4, 3 and 2), and winning more points in rotations 2 and 3 (Setter in 6 and 5)

Team breaking even in rotations 1, 4, 5 and 6 (Setter in 1, 4, 3 and 2), and winning more points in rotations 2 and 3 (Setter in 6 and 5)

This was only possible because of the contributions of our unique team: Matt able to run a 2-receiver system and take most of the court so we could put more attacking players on court; Our Middle Blocker Sam Nothnagel scoring 8 from 12 with 1 error – playing next to the setter, he allowed us to sideout in the frontcourt rotations, and being our best server on our team, he burned up most of QLD’s timeouts; Our outside hitters Darcy and Richo attacking out of their skins for a combined 28 kills from 49 balls; Our middle blockers James and Zach sharing the other slot to keep the blockers honest on block, score points and make blocks; Our opposite hitter Phil playing with a dislocated left thumb to kill 50% of the balls he got whether in frontcourt or backcourt at the same volume to win a deserving all-star selection; our backup liberos Harry and Andre playing utility roles as passer hitters with overqualified receiving abilities and a penchant to score points at the right time; and our setter Dan, who although having never played for the first team, more than any other setter I worked with was able to deliver the offensive concept planned in each game he played, and to set the right guy a well set ball when it mattered.

Had we won the first game against QLD we could have made the Gold medal match, although i’m skeptical SA would have dropped the game we needed them to against VIC white on the last day if they knew they weren’t a game clear. After winning the Bronze, the sting from the game earlier in the week had gone. It was a good way to finish the tournament!

** All statistics, videos and charts generated using VBstatsHD, an app that costs $30 on iTunes. 

 

Giving feedback on failure

June 24, 2014

Carol Dweck’s work is just amazing and I keep finding pearls of wisdom and stuff useful to coaching all the time.

In particular is a scenario presented in Mindset about “Elizabeth”, a child who competes in a gymnastics meet and is disappointed  to not win a single prize at the event. The scenario gives the reader 5 possible things Elizabeth’s father can say to Elizabeth and asks them which they would pick:

  • Tell Elizabeth you thought she was the best
  • Tell her she was robbed of a ribbon that was rightfully hers
  • Reassure her that gymnastics is not that important
  • Tell her that she has the ability and will surely win the next time
  • Tell her she didn’t deserve to win

Interestingly (and disturbingly), the options are all common things parents, peers, teammates and coaches say.

The best and worst responses aren’t immediately obvious:

  • Tell Elizabeth you thought she was the best – Insincere. She was not the best—you know it, and she does, too. This offers her no recipe for how to recover or improve
  • Tell her she was robbed of a ribbon that was rightfully hers – Places blame on others, when in fact the problem was mostly with her performance, not the judges. Do you want her to grow up blaming others for her deficiencies?
  • Reassure her that gymnastics is not that important – Teaches her to devalue something if she doesn’t do well in it right away.
  • Tell her that she has the ability and will surely win the next time – May be most dangerous message of all. Does ability automatically take you where you want to go? If Elizabeth didn’t win this meet, why should she win the next one?
  • Tell her she didn’t deserve to win – Sounds hardhearted but correct. This is what he actually said: “Elizabeth, I know how you feel. It’s so disappointing to have your hopes up and to perform your best but not to win. But you know, you haven’t really earned it yet. There were many girls there who’ve been in gymnastics longer than you and who’ve worked a lot harder than you. If this is something you really want, then it’s something you’ll really have to work for.” He Also let Elizabeth know that if she wanted to do gymnastics purely for fun, that was fine. But if she wanted to excel in the competitions, more was required.

So don’t tell a losing team that you thought they were the better team, don’t bitch about the referees, don’t tell them “it’s just a game”, or that “we’ll get the next one”. While these sentiments may not be entirely inaccurate, they do little to help the team succeed.

Speed and perfection is the enemy of difficult learning

June 23, 2014

…is a phrase that really stuck with me from Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset.

In it, she states that praising people (children in particular) on how effortlessly they accomplish easy tasks promotes the Fixed Mindset.

How does this relate to volleyball. Getting good at volleyball takes years of difficult learning in mastering “open” skills such as spiking, blocking and receiving serve. But in the beginning, winning requires being good at a relatively easy “closed” skill – serving.

We praise children for serving in, and/or scoring aces against low-skilled players on a low net. We celebrate how many points they win in a row, how quickly they won the set or how few errors they make. Sometimes I hear coaches excitedly telling me how their team went and hear things like “Jill served 13-in-a-row to close out the set and we won it in 15 minutes.” In essence praising them on speed and perfection. By doing this, we may be getting the “quick wins” we think we need to keep people engaged in the sport but risk creating the wrong expectations in players’ minds and the wrong mindset to succeed.  With the best intentions we are ruining our athletes. I was guilty of this for years.

To promote the Growth Mindset, Dweck suggests denying praise in these situations, and instead making the focus on harder challenges they could learn from.

With the last group of U15s I coached, I made very little emphasis on serving and winning lots of points on serving. Of course we won many of our points on serving but we never commented on it. We commented on how well they executed putting float on the ball and pushed them to jump serve. Instead all the praise went to the “difficult learning” skills – Receiving serve, lateral passing, spiking with a max jump and big swing.  In the end we made it to the gold medal match where we lost because of terrible serving to a team that served great. Losing a gold medal match sucks. But it definitely doesn’t feel as bad as knowing you have ruined a group of players.

No way out

March 29, 2014

 

image found via google on tmmorris1.blogspot.com

Admittedly, Cortes’s conquest is a cringeworthy moment in human history. It does however, illustrate how having “no way out” can motivate people to be truly committed.

Late last year at the Australian Junior Women Development Camp, we were fortunate to be visited by Australian beach Volleyball team coach Mick Nelson and player Louise Bawden, who spent 3 days helping us with the beach component of the camp. Mick spent a lot of time talking to the coaches, and the one thing I took away was what he said about creating situations for athletes where there is no way out.

Enjoying a high standard of living, Australians are not as often exposed to the same “no way out” situations as some of their competitors overseas. Nevertheless, Mick described ways that he could create “no way out” situations that motivated them to find solutions and accomplish more than they would have thought possible. This could be as simple as not letting up on players when they are struggling to finish a drill.

As a coach that wants to address a list of stuff in a given training, I’m in the bad habit of moving on when things don’t go well to get to the next thing. Recently, I tried the “no way out” approach with a serving drill for beginners and while we didn’t spend too much longer on the drill, the players did improve a lot more than they would have originally thought themselves capable of doing.

The Most Important Coaching Research Ever II

February 24, 2014

The title for this post comes from a post Mark Lebedew wrote a few years ago about the Hawthorne Effect. Indeed, the studies of Elton Mayo & Co formed the cornerstone of modern motivation theory in the workplace replacing the medieval notions of financial reward and punishment. However, I recently read a book which would have to be up there in significance. I would go as far as to say if you only read one book about coaching, it should be Mindset by Carol Dweck.

For the last 30 odd years psychologist Dweck has dedicated her life researching how a simple idea in our minds can profoundly influence the way we approach challenges and adversity that appear along the road to success. In short, Dweck describes two types of mindsets: The “Fixed Mindset” where a person believes their talent, intelligence and character are innate and unchangeable; and the “Growth Mindset” where a person believes their talent, intelligence and character can be cultivated through effort.

For fixed mindset people there is an urgency to prove and validate themselves over and over again (and avoid situations that might disprove their talent or intelligence); for growth mindset people, there is a need to continue improving and getting better at things.

In one famous test (see video above), a group of children are given a math puzzle to solve. Afterwards, half are praised on their intelligence (promoting a fixed mindset) and half are paused on their effort (promoting a fixed mindset). The kids are then given a harder puzzle – the kids praised on their intelligence give up earlier, want to go back to the easier puzzles or lose interest completely; the kids praised on their effort try for longer and are keen for harder challenges. Afterwards the kids are asked to write about their experiences to students at the next school and give their results. The kids praised on their intelligence lie about their results and always in the same direction (upwards). Just by giving a kind of feedback was enough to change a group of students into liars.

Mindset gives plenty of insights and advice into how to promote the growth mindset in educational, parenting, sports and professional contexts. Some stuff I thought was useful:

Fixed Mindset Growth Mindset
In one world—the world of fixed traits—success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself. In the other—the world of changing qualities—it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself
Failure is about having a setback. Getting a bad grade. Losing a tournament. Getting fired. Getting rejected. It means you’re not smart or talented. Failure is about not growing. Not reaching for the things you value. It means you’re not fulfilling your potential.
Effort is a bad thing. Like failure, it means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. Effort is what makes you smart or talented

On stories like “The hare and the Tortoise” and “The Little Engine that Could”

The problem was that these stories (The Hare and the Tortoise) made it into an either—or. Either you have ability or you expend effort. And this is part of the fixed mindset. Effort is for those who don’t have the ability. People with the fixed mindset tell us, ‘If you have to work at something, you must not be good at it.’ They add, ‘Things come easily to people who are true geniuses.’

Dweck suggests praising people on successfully completing things quickly and without error is a bad idea:

Speed and perfection are the enemy of difficult learning: “If you think I’m smart when I’m fast and perfect, I’d better not take on anything challenging”

Instead it is better to deny praise and apologise for wasting their time on something too easy.

Dweck’s research is important in that everything seems to point to it. It’s cited in “The Talent Code”, “The Goldmine Effect” and works by Gladwell (she’s just the kind of character who’s spent her life  researching a counter-intuitive niche concept that always pops up in his writing). After years of academic research, Mindset was written as the kind of New York Times bestseller list book that could be accessible to a broad base of readers. The book was on the required reading list for the USA women’s team under Hugh McCutcheon and the Arizona State University Sun Devils volleyball team.

Read it. You won’t regret it

 

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Running DataVolley on an Apple

February 23, 2014

I’m a big fan of DataVolley/DataVideo, but one of the things that sucks about it is there’s no OSX version. I’m partial to my Apple MacBook and take it wherever I go. Which means I’ve had to take both my MacBook and Windows laptop the last few times I’ve travelled (one of my “first-world problems” is having to take out my laptop at the security queue of the airport, so 2 laptops sucks).

The IT organisation I work for focuses on consolidating our IT infrastructure from 240 server rooms with a lot of hardware to cloud-based shared services  on virtualised services. So with that I tried installing DataVolley and DataProject on a virtual machine on my MacBook. With a bit of fiddling, I got it to work. A friend laughed that it wasn’t anything new and plenty of people have been doing it for years. Since I couldn’t find any articles about it online, I thought I’d post my solution on this blog.

  • Virtual Machine software: Oracle VirtualBox (the good thing about VirtualBox is you can set a size limit of the VM, but the space is allocated. So what hard drive space you don’t use stays on OSX)
  • OS: Windows 7
  • Also need to add the dongle as a USB device in the settings.
  • After that, I still had issues getting the VM to recognise the dongle, so tried running VBoxWindowsAdditions, and installed  Eutron InfoSecurity SmartKey update. I’m not sure why it worked but it did.
  • It’s also worth changing the keyboard preferences to set all the F1, F2…F12 keys as standard function keys without having to press the Fn key in tandem, and giving the trackpad a “right click” function. there’s no “Page down” or “Page up” key so you have to use Fn + cursor to navigate down the codes.

Looking forward to carry one less laptop in my bag when I travel next!

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 10.14.58 pm

Setter Following the Receiver

February 23, 2014

Commonly, most teams play now with the setter following the middle blocker in the rotation (the middle is clockwise to the setter). It’s considered common wisdom this is the way to play that we assumed everyone always played this way. Having the setter following the receiver is often considered a bad idea – the setter has to run a long distance on reception when in 5 behind a receiver; it’s hard for the middle to run an attack on reception when the setter is in 1; you need a receiver who can hit from the right side.

Curiously, watching the USA Men’s team play in the Olympics in ’84, ’88 and ’92 on youtube, the team always played with the setter following the receiver. The obvious benefit being that in their 2 receiver system, 5 out of 6 rotations, the receivers passed on the same sides (a left side receiver and a right side receiver).

I spent quite some time in the AVL season last year scouting a team that ran this lineup. One thing I noticed is they scored a lot of middle attacks. The obvious reason was two of their strongest attackers were the middles. Looking at it more closely, in most of the rotations it’s a lot easier for the middles to run an attack on reception (not much lateral movement manoeuvring around other players) – and in more rotations, the setter can see the middle in front of them before setting. Maybe sometimes it’s not such a bad idea.

Lost Months: Part 5, Women’s AVL (5 Oct 2013 – 10 Nov 2013)

January 22, 2014

I try to write a post a month. That went well for about 4 years straight, until July this year. I was busy. Turns out being an amateur volleyball performance analyst is quite time consuming. It’s no excuse, but thought I’d fill in what I’ve been up to….

First round v Monash/Melbourne University Blues

First round v Monash/Melbourne University Blues

I got involved with the Canberra Heat team in the Women’s Australian Volleyball League last year. There’s a strong commitment to play AVL in ACT from both the men’s and women’s teams given the low level of competition in the Capital Volleyball League and peoples’ desire to play at a good level.

As such, we started training in February – nearly 7 months before the first match. The format this year was home and away (last few years has seen a Grand Prix format), with match ups consisting of a Saturday game and Sunday game at the same location between any two given opponents.

I helped out at trainings but my main role was performance analysis (video delay and game/training review video) and scouting. During the competition season, I spent a lot of time on video work. Coding 35 odd games was not an issue during AJVC when I took the whole week off, but doing it around a full time job has it’s challenges. Typically, the schedule to deliver review video and scouting of our opponents was:

  • Saturday: Before Game: Show clips of opponent to team for game plan. During Game: Code match and provide stats to coaches. After Game: Prepare review video
  • Sunday: Before Game: Show review video of team’s performance of previous match. During Game: Code match and provide stats to coaches. After Game: Prepare review video; Export clips of next opponent for coaches to study
  • Monday: Put together attack tendency charts per rotation for coach’s game plan.
  • Tuesday: Before Training: Show team review of Sunday’s match. During and after training: Begin coding video of opponent we will playing after this week’s opponent
  • Wednesday-Friday: Continue coding video of opponent we will playing after this week’s opponent

As a whole coaching and playing group we put in more time and effort into preparing for the games that any of our opponent likely did. However, this was no enough to break our 3 year run of going winless. Fortunately, we ended the year competing in the annual Good Neighbour tournament where we won bronze against one of the Junior Women’s Development Group teams after being 2-0 sets down. On to next year.

Team photo after winning bronze at the Good Neighbour tournament in December

Team photo after winning bronze at the Good Neighbour tournament in December

 

Lost Months: Part 4, BBAS/EIV Camp (20-22 Sept 2013)

January 21, 2014

I try to write a post a month. That went well for about 4 years straight, until July this year. I was busy. Turns out being an amateur volleyball performance analyst is quite time consuming. It’s no excuse, but thought I’d fill in what I’ve been up to….

I was fortunate to be invited by friends to help out at the Bendigo Bank Academy of Sport (BBAS) Volleyball program/Eastern Institute of Volleyball  (EIV) camp, held in Bendigo. The coaches who I worked with at AJVC were head coaches of the respective academies.

The programs have developed several players that have gone on to represent Australia at the  junior or senior level. It was just good to see how they do things and their philosophies. It was also good to see my colleagues in a different setting with players that were less developed than their state teams and needed more specific instruction with technique. Definitely picked up some good cues and teaching techniques.

Toddy using lengths of elastics tied from blocker's hands to defenders to show seams and areas of defensive responsibility (1)

Toddy using lengths of elastics tied from blocker’s hands to defenders to show seams and areas of defensive responsibility (1)

Toddy using lengths of elastics tied from blocker's hands to defenders to show seams and areas of defensive responsibility (2)

Toddy using lengths of elastics tied from blocker’s hands to defenders to show seams and areas of defensive responsibility (2)

Toddy using lengths of elastics tied from blocker's hands to defenders to show seams and areas of defensive responsibility (3)

Toddy using lengths of elastics tied from blocker’s hands to defenders to show seams and areas of defensive responsibility (3)

Lost Months: Part 3, CVL finals (15 Sept 2013)

January 19, 2014

I try to write a post a month. That went well for about 4 years straight, until July this year. I was busy. Turns out being an amateur volleyball performance analyst is quite time consuming. It’s no excuse, but thought I’d fill in what I’ve been up to….

The Capital Volleyball League in Canberra is unusual in that it plays Wednesday nights but has its medal matches on a Sunday at the AIS. Wednesday nights works in ACT because people tend to go away on weekends, but there is the downside that people have to rush from work to get to the game and try to leave as early as they can because they have work the next day. So playing on the final on the weekend is cool – you get to make a day out of it and you get crowds and players stick around or come earlier to watch, and bring their friends and families.

This year I coached 2 teams for ANU (Australian National University): a “Premier” and “Division 1″ womens team. It was a set-up that I think works well – having 2 teams that compete but are effectively 1 in training letting us do a lot of 6-on-6 stuff. My methodology this year was to make everything in training a 6-on-6 situation whether we were working on technique, tactics, warming up etc.

The players were great and came from all over Australia and the world. Turnover of the players is quite significant year to year as people come to study and only stay for a  year or 2. I think they got a long quite well due to their willingness to pack up and make a new life somewhere else translated to a willingness to make things work with new people.

Both teams did quite well and finished 2nd in their divisions. Going into the final the Premier team had won the first 2 regular season games against their opponent but lost the next 2; the Division 1 team had not beaten their opponent (who had not dropped a set all season). I spent quite a lot of time gathering scoresheets, video and breaking down opponent tendencies for both teams in semis and finals. We guessed their starting rotations and practiced the tactics we would use in the month leading up to the final. A few days before the game, we went through the gameplans in a lecture theatre in the Uni boarding college followed by dinner at the on-campus dumpling restaurant downstairs where a lot of the students and staff eat.

In the end we lost both games in 4 sets. The work we put in got us to perform much better than anyone could have expected but still came short. The Div 1 team took a set off a team who had not lost a set all season. The Premier team had 2 set points in the 4th and nearly took it to 5 sets. The losses were bittersweet – losing always suck when you know you were;t far off winning, but there’s closer knowing that you left no stone unturned in your preparation.

It was a great season with a great bunch of players.

Premier team. With a middle blocker from Texas, libero from Hong Kong, setter from Germany and players from QLD and NSW

Premier team. With a middle blocker from Texas, libero from Hong Kong, setter from Germany and players from QLD and NSW

Division 1 team + a few premier players who stayed back to support us

Division 1 team + a few premier players who stayed back to support us

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