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Why the Best Get Better

cynthia-barbozaWhen Cynthia Barboza graduated from Stanford University, she had one full additional season of practice and playing experience than most college volleyball players.  The NCAA Final Four is about one month after the end of the regular season.  Add one month per year Cynthia played (4 years) and that equates to 4 extra months.  The typical collegiate season lasts 3 months (September through November).  This extra experience at a high level of play, helps the best to get better.

In South Carolina, the USAV Palmetto Region for juniors, typically starts after the high school season, sometime mid-November.  The Palmetto Region Championship usually takes place just after the Big South Tournament in Atlanta, about mid-April.  After the Region Championship, indoor volleyball seems to fade away in the region until summer camps.  There are a few elite teams that practice and play through USAV Nationals in July, but those elite teams are not playing in tournaments at the same intensity as those from larger, more successful regions.  Local competition and tournaments are just not available in those spring time months.

Players in regions of Chicago and Minneapolis, regions that are already great, continue to get better through competitive practices and tournaments.  For 2 additional months per year (May and June) over a four year period, that’s over a half a year’s experience those best players are getting.

If you look further at our elite athletes, on the USA High Performance or the top elite athletes, on the USA Junior National Team, they train at a higher level for more time out of the year.  In addition, they are getting international match experience that is invaluable, especially when it comes to playing in front of a packed arena in say, Nebraska (2008 Final Four – Penn State vs. Nebraska).  Megan Hodge did okay there 😉

People wonder why some teams or some regions perpetually struggle while others are perpetually great.  I think playing experience and the culture in which one grows-up is one of the piece of the puzzle.

6 comments

  1. Coach Rey,

    When is the best age to tryout for High Performance? How does it work?

    Thanks for your time.

    Jackie

  2. Coach Rey,

    When is the best age to tryout for High Performance? How does it work?

    Thanks for your time.

    Jackie

  3. That’s an interesting view point Chuck! Obviously you have read Tipping Point or Outliers…right?

    One of the essential ideas is that the best have opportunities that others do or did not. If you watch younger athletes, this is extremely obvious, but you still have to look for it.

    For example, if you find the best player on your team and go through their life you will almost always find that they have had more experience than the other players. Some may have played multiple sports, or started younger, giving them more athletic experience than. My most impressive female athlete I have, rides dirt bikes and wakeboards all the time.

    I have found that basketball for guys is one of the most helpful opportunities to promote volleyball. Not because of a correlation of movements and/or jumping, but because of the frequency that they play. Because they can shoot hoops themselves and there are always pick-up games at the park, they always are playing.

    So I guess the next question is….How can you provide these opportunities to your team that no other team has?

  4. That’s an interesting view point Chuck! Obviously you have read Tipping Point or Outliers…right?

    One of the essential ideas is that the best have opportunities that others do or did not. If you watch younger athletes, this is extremely obvious, but you still have to look for it.

    For example, if you find the best player on your team and go through their life you will almost always find that they have had more experience than the other players. Some may have played multiple sports, or started younger, giving them more athletic experience than. My most impressive female athlete I have, rides dirt bikes and wakeboards all the time.

    I have found that basketball for guys is one of the most helpful opportunities to promote volleyball. Not because of a correlation of movements and/or jumping, but because of the frequency that they play. Because they can shoot hoops themselves and there are always pick-up games at the park, they always are playing.

    So I guess the next question is….How can you provide these opportunities to your team that no other team has?

  5. I haven’t read Tipping Point or Outliers, but sounds as if I need to get into them.

    The answer to your next question is the million dollar answer. I assume that’s what sets great coaches apart.

  6. I haven’t read Tipping Point or Outliers, but sounds as if I need to get into them.

    The answer to your next question is the million dollar answer. I assume that’s what sets great coaches apart.

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