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

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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