January brings about a lot of things: resolutions, cold weather, but most importantly, the start of the college men's volleyball season. Earlier this year, we wrote about the power of observation.
Whether it be watching yourself, or watching the best players in the world you can learn a ton about how to improve your game and gain inspiration to keep taking steps forward.
This season, Stanford Men's Volleyball will play host to some of the nations top collegiate men's volleyball teams. For players who want to improve, we would highly recommend attending the Stanford home matches (they are free!) and doing the following:
1. Show up early.
If the game starts at 7:00 pm, show up at 6:00 pm. Watch how the players warm up. Who is the first person in the gym? How do they approach the task of preparing for a game? What do you like that these players do, and what do you not like?
One of the biggest factors of success (in all aspects of life, not just volleyball) is the willingness to act. To put in the time and effort to see something through to fruition, even when faced with adversity (losses, injuries, setbacks, etc.)
The first player in the gym, is usually the player that wants it the most.
"The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital."
2. Watch your position.
Are you a setter? What does Paul Bischoff, Micah Ma'a, or Josh Tuaniga do when the pass gets pulled off of the net?
A libero? How does Evan Enriques, David Parker, or Larry Tuileta prepare for serve receive prior to an aggressive jump or float server?
Watching how the best players in your position find success, can help you adapt and adjust your game accordingly. Maybe you can't do some of the things they are doing yet, but one day soon you will be able to.
3. Question their decisions.
Why did a player make the choice they made? Ask yourself the hard question and formulate your own opinion. In doing so, you are forcing yourself to break the game down and decide how to approach different situations in the game.
Why are the players missing so many serves? Is it because they are bad servers, or is it because they have to really "go for it" in order to get the other team out of system to score a point.
Why did the middle commit on the other middle? Did the middle blocker get fooled, or was it a part of the teams defensive blocking system to try and react to the other teams tendencies?
Our challenge to you is to pick 2-3 matches to attend below. You can go with friends and family, the tasks above don't require you to be anti-social, they just require you to pay attention and be engaged, so get out there and watch some high level volleyball! It's free, and it will get you better.
Saturday, January 20th vs. #1 Long Beach State
Wednesday, February 21st (televised on PAC-12) vs. #5 BYU
Thursday, March 1st (televised on PAC-12) vs. #2 UCLA
Saturday, March 3rd vs. #10 Pepperdine
Thursday, March 9th vs. UCSD
Saturday, March 10th vs. #6 UC Irvine
Saturday, March 17th vs. #13 USC
Thursday, March 29th vs. #12 Grand Canyon
Saturday, March 31st vs. Concordia-Irvine