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AVCA Welcome

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AVCA Welcome

Posted on 16 December 2014 by Chuck Rey

AVCA OK City Welcome 150x150 AVCA Welcome volleyballAnother year has passed, yet again so fast, and I have arrived in Oklahoma City this year for the AVCA Convention and Final Four. It’s hard to believe that 7 years ago I was in Sacramento for my first Convention, without a job, and unaware of where life would lead. Some personal sacrifices, especially financially, made for the cross country journey to Sacramento, but it benefited greatly.

This year I embark on my fifth presentation at the AVCA for First Time Attendees. My new bride will accompany me over the weekend for some great volleyball. I work under another hall of fame head coach. Former players that I coached and recruited in college are now attending Convention to learn more about this crazy busy. And my volleyball community continues to expand, although narrow in many ways too.

AVCA OK City Cox Center 150x150 AVCA Welcome volleyball

Room with a view of the Cox Convention Center.

Just as excited as I was 7 years ago to learn how this week will continue to broaden my volleyball horizons. I am fortunate to do what I love and more fortunate to experience it with the one I love. Just makes me want to jump for joy icon wink AVCA Welcome volleyball

Coach Rey jump AVCA Welcome volleyball

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Dear Volleyball Commentator

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Dear Volleyball Commentator

Posted on 07 December 2014 by Chuck Rey

volleyball commentator Dear Volleyball Commentator volleyballDear Volleyball Commentator,

Volleyball enthusiasts are grateful for the outpouring of media coverage over the past few years. Our sport continues to grow and it is awesome to be able to view so many matches throughout the season. We sincerely appreciate professional commentators that cover and follow our sport regularly and provide excellent broadcasts, but we do understand there are still many commentators new to the sport. For those new volleyball commentators, here are a few tips:

This is not hockey. A comment (especially with the player’s name – which you are often fumbling to recall) does not need to be made every time the ball is touched. In volleyball, less is more.

Less is more for the camera-person too. We do not need the camera to follow the ball back-and-forth across the net. It often makes us sick, especially with the new courts that have logos on them (like Colorado State’s shaded rams horns or Oregon’s shaded trees – I dreamt a Ram was attacking me in a forest last night). Pan the camera out, make slight adjustments, and let us watch the match motion-sick-less.

Some networks do not show a score on the screen. If your network does not, please repeat the score, and often, so we can keep up. This is about the only time you should speak a lot icon wink Dear Volleyball Commentator volleyball

TIP – We’ll start with the word “Tip”. A tip occurs on an off-speed offensive attack that uses the tip of the fingers to gently push the ball over a block. In basketball, the term finger-tip roll is used as that is the part of the finger that is last touched. Same with volleyball.

The word “Tip” is NOT used when an offensive player attacks the ball off the block and out-of-bounds. Incorrect usage = “There was a tip on the block”. Correct terminology is TOUCH.

TOUCH – when an offensive player attacks the ball off the block and out-of-bounds. There was a TOUCH on the block or TOUCH off the block.

SLAM – volleyball does not use the word SLAM unless a player physically SLAMS their body against the floor, wall, or bleacher when a defender is flying across the court for a ball.

SLAM-DUNK – this is even worse than SLAM. This is NOT basketball. Don’t ever use these words when commentating on volleyball.

SWING or KILL – terms used for an offensive attack. Even the word SPIKE is rarely used and an offensive player that attacks the ball is never called a SPIKER.

BUMPER – this is not billiards or NASCAR. A player that passes (NOT  bumps) the ball is considered a PASSER.

BOBBLE – After a great dig and the ball is ricocheted between players, the ball is not BOBBLED over the net. Simply using the term, “Great Dig” or “Great Up” is sufficient.

TWO – When a player, often a setter, makes an illegal set, do not say, “That was TWO by the setter”. The word is Double or more precisely a Double Contact.

GIRLS – This is NCAA WOMEN’s Volleyball. The word GIRLS should not be used. When watching a college football game, you rarely hear a commentator use the word BOY. Men play football, Women play volleyball (yes, I know Men play volleyball too – and glad our sport is growing with more MEN’s NCAA teams).

BLOCKING – When a blocker jumps alone to block a ball, that is a solo-block. When a blocker jumps in unison with a player to either side of them, that is a double-block.

DUMP – This is a legitimate volleyball term to use, but be careful with it. Using the word DUMP with women can be dangerous. Only the setter can DUMP the ball and on a second contact.

Broadcasting online – during commercial breaks, the microphones in the production studios can still be heard. We don’t need to hear you talking about your email, your dinner, the girlfriend issues, or the countdown to live broadcast, “And live in 3 – 2 – 1…”

Finally, I’m sorry to see the blackouts of top teams to certain areas of the country, even with a cable subscription service. It is very disappointing to not have been able to watch Texas on the Big 12 Network or Stanford and Washington on the PAC 12 Network because I live in the midwest. The past few years, I was able to watch all the matches, not so much this year.

Thank goodness our sport continues to grow so that we have these issues.

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How Hard do you Rest?

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How Hard do you Rest?

Posted on 04 December 2014 by Chuck Rey

A big emphasis for a team this season was getting enough sleep. It’s tough at a highly academic institution like Miami to balance a tough course load with proper sleep. Following is a great couple infographics on the benefits of SLEEP (click on each to enlarge): Continue Reading

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John Kessel needs a lift

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John Kessel needs a lift

Posted on 01 August 2014 by Chuck Rey

John Kessel fund 300x286 John Kessel needs a lift volleyball

One of those that have helped each of us so much, returning the gift shouldn’t be too tough.

“On June 29, 2014, John Kessel lost his partner, Tammie Clark-Neyman to the dreadful, progressive disease of alcoholism. During the last two years, Tammie was blessed with John’s unconditional love and support. This support included financial burdens such as detox programs and multiple emergency hospitalizations. Consequently, he now has significant medical bills.

John Kessel has spent the last 40 years helping us become better coaches, players, and parents. He’s encouraged us to become life-long learners, and thus, growing and becoming more supportive and effective team members, coworkers, partners and friends. I’m sure we can all agree that it’s hard to keep up with ALL that John shares with us. Even now, as he works through this grief, John continues to encourage and inspire us to become better.

In difficult moments, we want to help and support those we love and respect. Now we have the opportunity to support John Kessel as he goes through one of the most painful events of his life.

This is a request to coaches, players, parents, family, friends and others that have been touched by John and his work to support him in any way you can. A small contribution from each us can make a significant difference. I also request for you to assist this technology impaired messenger to spread the word to others in any creative way you choose.

A very special thank you to each of you for your support. Lily”

http://tammiesfund.mydagsite.com/home

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WOW! USA Men World League Champions!

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WOW! USA Men World League Champions!

Posted on 21 July 2014 by Chuck Rey

The USA Men upset #1 ranked Brazil to win the FIVB World League Championships. As Cody Kessel called it, the Volleyball Superbowl! Unfortunately, my wedding was a week too early and we missed the opportunity to watch professional volleyball in Italy on our honeymoon in Florence.  I’ll have to be sure to let me new wife know that she should better plan things in the future icon wink WOW! USA Men World League Champions! volleyball Continue Reading

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Positive Coaching

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Positive Coaching

Posted on 16 June 2014 by Chuck Rey

The Harvard Business Review again supports my positive coaching style.

Positive Negative conversations Positive Coaching volleyball

 

 

The Neurochemistry of Positive Conversations

by Judith E. Glaser and Richard D. Glaser  |   11:00 AM June 12, 2014

Why do negative comments and conversations stick with us so much longer than positive ones?

A critique from a boss, a disagreement with a colleague, a fight with a friend – the sting from any of these can make you forget a month’s worth of praise or accord. If you’ve been called lazy, careless, or a disappointment, you’re likely to remember and internalize it. It’s somehow easier to forget, or discount, all the times people have said you’re talented or conscientious or that you make them proud.

Chemistry plays a big role in this phenomenon. When we face criticism, rejection or fear, when we feel marginalized or minimized, our bodies produce higher levels of cortisol, a hormone that shuts down the thinking center of our brains and activates conflict aversion and protection behaviors. We become more reactive and sensitive. We often perceive even greater judgment and negativity than actually exists. And these effects can last for 26 hours or more, imprinting the interaction on our memories and magnifying the impact it has on our future behavior. Cortisol functions like a sustained-release tablet – the more we ruminate about our fear, the longer the impact.

Positive comments and conversations produce a chemical reaction too. They spur the production of oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that elevates our ability to communicate, collaborate and trust others by activating networks in our prefrontal cortex. But oxytocin metabolizes more quickly than cortisol, so its effects are less dramatic and long-lasting.

This “chemistry of conversations” is why it’s so critical for all of us –especially managers – to be more mindful about our interactions. Behaviors that increase cortisol levels reduce what I call “Conversational Intelligence” or “C-IQ,” or a person’s ability to connect and think innovatively, empathetically, creatively and strategically with others. Behaviors that spark oxytocin, by contrast, raise C-IQ.

Over the past 30 years, I’ve helped leaders at companies including Boehringer Ingelheim, Clairol, Donna Karen, Exide Technologies, Burberry, and Coach learn to boost performance with better C-IQ. Recently, my consultancy, The CreatingWE Institute, also partnered with Ryan Smith, CEO of Qualtrics, the world’s largest online survey software company, to analyze the frequency of negative (cortisol-producing) versus positive (oxytocin-producing) interactions in today’s workplaces. We asked managers how often they engaged in several behaviors — some positive, and others negative — on a scale of 0 through 5, in which 0 was “never” and 5 was “always.”

The good news is that managers appear to be using positive, oxytocin and C-IQ elevating behaviors more often than negative behaviors. Survey respondents said that they exhibited all five positive behaviors, such as “showing concern for others” more frequently than all five negative ones, such as “pretending to be listening.” However, most respondents – approximately 85% — also admitted to “sometimes” acting in ways that could derail not only specific interactions but also future relationships. And, unfortunately, when leaders exhibit both types of behaviors it creates dissonance or uncertainty in followers’ brains, spurring cortisol production and reducing CI-Q.

Consider Rob, a senior executive from Verizon. He thought of himself as a “best practices” leader who told people what to do, set clear goals, and challenged his team to produce high quality results. But when one of his direct reports had a minor heart attack, and three others asked HR to move to be transferred off his team, he realized there was a problem.

Observing Rob’s conversational patterns for a few weeks, I saw clearly that the negative (cortisol-producing) behaviors easily outweighed the positive (oxytocin-producing) behaviors. Instead of asking questions to stimulate discussion, showing concern for others, and painting a compelling picture of shared success, his tendency was to tell and sell his ideas, entering most discussions with a fixed opinion, determined to convince others he was right. He was not open to others’ influence; he failed to listen to connect.

When I explained this to Rob, and told him about the chemical impact his behavior was having on his employees, he vowed to change, and it worked. A few weeks later, a member of his team even asked me: “What did you give my boss to drink?”

I’m not suggesting that you can’t ever demand results or deliver difficult feedback. But it’s important to do so in a way that is perceived as inclusive and supportive, thereby limiting cortisol production and hopefully stimulating oxytocin instead. Be mindful of the behaviors that open us up, and those that close us down, in our relationships. Harness the chemistry of conversations.

More blog posts by Judith E. Glaser and Richard D. Glaser

JUDITH E. GLASER

Judith E. Glaser is the CEO of Benchmark Communications and the chairman of The Creating WE Institute. She is the author of six books, including Creating WE (Platinum Press, 2005) and Conversational Intelligence (BiblioMotion, 2013), and a consultant to Fortune 500 companies.

RICHARD D. GLASER

Richard D. Glaser received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and has worked in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries for his entire professional career. He is a founding member of The CreatingWE Institute.

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What matters most in coaching

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What matters most in coaching

Posted on 10 June 2014 by Chuck Rey

 What matters most in coaching volleyball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Vern Gambetta for his wisdom and insight into coaching longevity.

If I were writing this 30 or 40 years ago it would have been a very different blog post. I would have focused on technical knowledge, the importance of understanding training theory and the nuances of periodization. Don’t get me wrong all of that is important if you want to be a good coach, but if you want to be a great coach there is more to it than that. The technical part can be learned fairly easily through study, observation and practice. The difference makers are what some people would call the intangibles, the social and emotional intelligence that allows you to connect with you athletes, your colleagues, administrators and parents on another level.

Simply put it is mastery of communication skills.

All the knowledge in the world is for naught if you can’t communicate it. We coach people, people who respond to coaches who show they care about them as people. It is the little things that count, a smile, a pat on the back, an admonition to try harder or simply the tone of voice and body language when making a correction. I wish I would have figured this out earlier in my career. I can’t help but think about how much more effective I could have been as a coach and happier as a person. Learn from my mistakes, work on the intangibles raise your level of emotional and social intelligence to new heights, hone your communication skills to a fine edge and you will be the best coach you can be. That is all we can ask.

I’ve been fortunate to learn this from one of the best in the business in Head Coach Carolyn Condit here at Miami University. She is not only a master of communication skills, but also relationship skills. There are no books or words that can explain this form of mastery. It is experience and upbringing that molds a master coach.

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Volleyball Blogs

Volleyball Blogs

Posted on 13 May 2014 by Chuck Rey

USA Volleyball blog 300x109 Volleyball Blogs volleyball

Now that our spring season is done at Miami, I am catching up on life…and reading blogs. I always catch up on USA Volleyball’s John Kessel’s blog and have to return the props to John for his world-renowned Growing the Game Together blog. I’m humbled to be among some of these great minds and writers. It’s nice to see that I am making a difference to help grow our great game.  Guess this means I better also catch up on a few new posts that I now have time to write…oh and that chapter I need to finish up too (Jim Dietz).

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TSA Now Requires Proper Setting Form to Travel

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TSA Now Requires Proper Setting Form to Travel

Posted on 24 April 2014 by Chuck Rey

Security lines at the airport are a drag, but I do appreciate the new TSA rules that promotes volleyball millions of times a day worldwide.

20140424 121525 TSA Now Requires Proper Setting Form to Travel volleyball

Every time I get in the security booth, the agent tells me to put my hands up. Oh, I already know this form! This is the first time new airport security enforcement finally makes sense!

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Everyone Wins – Today’s Sports Culture

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Everyone Wins – Today’s Sports Culture

Posted on 12 April 2014 by Chuck Rey

youth volleyball champs 300x223 Everyone Wins   Todays Sports Culture volleyball

‘How do you solve the problem of not having someone lose?” Porter says. “Because I’ve now, for four years, seen the downside of losing: 50% of the time the person who loses never comes back to play the game.” An interesting perspective from the developer of the game Draw Something.

Fast Company article (click here)

Club Volleyball is popular because tournament structures are set up to feel as if teams aren’t losers at the end. Even a team that finished 25th (of 100+ teams) is often tied with a number of other teams, but they finished by “winning their division” with a “bronze medal”. It is actually an ingenuous formula set-up to entice teams teams and players to come back to the game over time. Great for volleyball and a strategy that needs to be built upon to make our game continue to grow.

I presented the issue to John Kessel, here is his response:

The format, developed by Dave Epperson with lots of input from coaches, myself included – was set up in no small way to reduce seeding problems for a possible 40 RVA event, in true format you keep your seed even if you lose games or by points, to encourage coaches to play more subs. I know this, from being there for decades, that the character division, the last group of any age division, is a more exciting match than the championship finals. I also know, from testing, that when we did extended double elimination to truly rank from 1-64, coaches even forfeited rather than play off for 48th, or 62nd place.

So it’s obviously all Dave and Kessel’s fault. Kidding.

The paradox, since everyone feels like a winner, is today’s sports culture responsible for not developing “genuine” winners? Is it subliminally teaching that mediocrity is winning? Is it teaching youth that what they are doing is “good enough”?

Obviously hypothetical questions from a coach that coaches in a work environment in which winning our conference championship (winning that bronze medal) is success. But the deeper thought process is how do we develop kids that genuinely understand the difference between real winning and losing?

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Volleyball Over-Parenting Anonymous – A 26-step program for good parents gone bad

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Volleyball Over-Parenting Anonymous – A 26-step program for good parents gone bad

Posted on 13 March 2014 by Chuck Rey

Volleyball Parents 300x225 Volleyball Over Parenting Anonymous   A 26 step program for good parents gone bad volleyball

A good one for the volleyball parent community these days. A 26-step program for good parents gone bad.

Written by Dr. Wendy Mogel, an internationally acclaimed clinical psychologist, parenting expert and author of the New York Times bestselling parenting book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. Continue Reading

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Volleyball over Basketball in LA

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Volleyball over Basketball in LA

Posted on 27 January 2014 by Chuck Rey

Volleyball in Dodger Stadium 300x209 Volleyball over Basketball in LA volleyballBravo to Los Angeles, where there was a sand volleyball court along with an NHL rink and a concert stage in Dodgers  Stadium…but no sight of a Basketball court? No sign of the Clippers or Lakers?  California is paving the way in the US that volleyball will be the predominant sport. Dodgers Stadium NHL Volleyball over Basketball in LA volleyball

 

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It’s Greek (Volleyball) to Me!

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It’s Greek (Volleyball) to Me!

Posted on 14 January 2014 by Chuck Rey

SportsonAir Greece Chuck Rey 300x257 Its Greek (Volleyball) to Me! volleyballNot exactly sure of the translation for the Greek sports website: SportsOnAir.gr, but flattered to be recognized in Greece. I love that our game speaks the same language world wide as we continue to grow this great game. I hope to have the opportunity to visit Greece and learn more about volleyball from their perspective. There are great players and coaches across the world!

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AVCA Seattle – Finals Days

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AVCA Seattle – Finals Days

Posted on 22 December 2013 by Chuck Rey

AVCA Seattle was awesome. The last couple days of Convention get busier and busier. I’m home now after a red-eye flight from Seattle. Fortunately, the Championship match only went 4 sets so I could bolt out of Key Arena in time to catch my 11:00 pm flight. If it went 5 sets, I don’t think I would have made my flight. It was a great match and props again to our school sponsor Adidas for setting me up in their suite for the match. Congrats to Penn State and Russ for their 6th school championship.

As for the Convention, I think Seattle was one of the best host cities. Not necessarily for the far west coast location, as it inhibited many people east of the Mississippi to attend, and the Convention is the biggest revenue generator for our non-profit organization. But Seattle is a pretty remarkable city, despite the constant and persistent rain and dreary weather. It’s not a place I would want to live, but a great place to visit.

AVCA annual meeting 150x150 AVCA Seattle   Finals Days volleyballThe last couple days consisted of the AVCA Annual Meeting, learning that our association is now over 6,000 members! Following the meeting was a Super-Session that included Karch Kiraly, Cathy Gregory, Mike Sealy, Nina Matthies, and Bill Ferguson. It is always great to learn and hear from such incredible coaches. We also heard of a great story from Karch about the experience with his kids at the Olympics in Atlanta. Kids certainly bring life into perspective, even a gold medal match. There was a Courtney Thompson setting session, a Chris McGown (yes, son of Carl McGown) court session on blocking and defense. But my favorite part of this session is seeing Bonnie Kenny, 30 consecutive year attendee of the AVCA Convention taking notes. We are never too old to learn.AVCA supersession 300x225 AVCA Seattle   Finals Days volleyball

The AVCA does allow some time for coaches to play volleyball one night in the marketplace and there were even a few kids of coaches there playing in the sand. They were good too! It was a lot of fun cheering on the kids as they beat the adults icon wink AVCA Seattle   Finals Days volleyball

I did grab some lunch at Athenian, a restaurant part of Sleepless in Seattle was filmed, enjoyed some Manhattan chowder, and another Starbucks coffee to warm me up on the chilly, wet Seattle winter day.

The last few sessions attended included a statistics discussion with Kevin Hambly and Todd Deganais (Central Florida Head Coach) about “True” Hitting avca kids beach 300x225 AVCA Seattle   Finals Days volleyballEfficiency (more to come about where statistics are going in volleyball). John Kessel presented on Jump Serving and Serve Receive. Another super-session with more great coaches and Mike Hebert presented on Examining the How and Chris McGown volleyball AVCA Seattle   Finals Days volleyballWhy of Coaching including a bit about his new book which I’m about a third of the way through – Thinking Volleyball, of course highly recommended.

I did end up walking to Key Arena for the Finals and of course ran into a bunch of Santa’s on my way there. Only in Seattle.

The AVCA Convention sincerely is the Most Wonderful Volleyball Time of the Year. Even though Christmas is just a few days away, it is quite an expense, it really is a truly priceless opportunity to listen and learn from the greatest coaches of our game, see some great volleyball, and connect with coaches from all over the world. What I enjoy most are the impromptu meetings that will only happen at Convention.Bonnie Kenny volleyball 225x300 AVCA Seattle   Finals Days volleyball Sleepless in Seattle Volleyball 150x150 AVCA Seattle   Finals Days volleyball Thinking Volleyball 150x150 AVCA Seattle   Finals Days volleyball True hitting efficiency 150x150 AVCA Seattle   Finals Days volleyballSeattle Santas 150x150 AVCA Seattle   Finals Days volleyball

I’m worn out. This is probably the blandest of all posts about the Convention. Blogging throughout the time there was a bit cumbersome, to say the least. I don’t think it is something I will do again, but hope I could share with you some of the experience if you couldn’t make it this year. Plan to be in Chicago for the Men’s Convention around their Final Four in May or in Oklahoma City next year for the women! Cheers, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

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AVCA Seattle – Day 2

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AVCA Seattle – Day 2

Posted on 20 December 2013 by Chuck Rey

photo 5 300x225 AVCA Seattle   Day 2 volleyballIn my First Time Attendees Presentation, I relate the AVCA Convention experience to two things:

1) The first day of school – you are overwhelmed, intimidated, anxious, excited, etc. as you aren’t sure what is about to happen, but you can’t wait for the weekend to get started.

2) Vegas – There is so much to do, you want to do it all, there are so many sessions you want to see, so many great coaches you want to listen to, the glitz and glamour of the matches, and some incredible social events, that you don’t know where to start. Continue Reading

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AVCA Seattle – Day 1 – 2nd Half

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AVCA Seattle – Day 1 – 2nd Half

Posted on 19 December 2013 by Chuck Rey

 AVCA Seattle   Day 1   2nd Half volleyball  AVCA Seattle   Day 1   2nd Half volleyballAfter playing tourist in Seattle, the second half of the day was all business. I scurried back to the hotel to don my suit and tie (as Mom says, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression). It was interview time with The Art of Coaching Volleyball. I’ve had a great relationship with The Art of Coaching Volleyball as I provided guidance to Patrick (webmaster to marketing to general manager of the website) at the inception of the website. I’m about trading ideas to help the game grow and anyway I can use my knowledge to help, I’m all for it. Continue Reading

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AVCA Seattle – Go Time!

Posted on 18 December 2013 by Chuck Rey

Getting ready to interview with The Art of Coaching Volleyball and then it’s presentation time with Brian Swenty and Kyrsten Becker for the First Time Attendees!

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AVCA Seattle – My Morning in Pictures

Posted on 18 December 2013 by Chuck Rey

Fitting to wake up to drizzle and no sun. Had a good workout this morning in a packed hotel gym. Love to see the healthy ones getting at it. Followed by a Seattle style omelette with salmon.

Since this is my only ‘free’ morning, I played tourist and ran into a bunch of coaching friends along the way. Here’s my morning in pictures.

20131218 124421 AVCA Seattle   My Morning in Pictures volleyball Continue Reading

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AVCA Convention Seattle – Arrived

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AVCA Convention Seattle – Arrived

Posted on 17 December 2013 by Chuck Rey

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I made it. It’s 9:30 here and I’m exhausted. That’s 12:30 am back home. I was able to hitch a cab ride with Ohio State, Indiana, and Iowa coaches. It was nice being back in the Big Ten for 40 minutes. Continue Reading

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AVCA Seattle – Minnesota Connection

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AVCA Seattle – Minnesota Connection

Posted on 17 December 2013 by Chuck Rey

20131217 1721301 AVCA Seattle   Minnesota Connection volleyball

So my Minnesota layover found me following a woman, who I swore was Lindsey Berg from behind. Lindsey is known for her high fashion and this woman was decked-out like Lindsey might be going out on the town. I wouldn’t assume Lindsey would travel in such attire, but I wanted to say hello. As this woman walked into the convenience shop, she spun around and it certainly wasn’t Lindsey. Heck, I haven’t a clue if Lindsey is even living in Minneapolis, but she has been to Convention a few times and thought it might be her. I’m sure my fiancé doesn’t appreciate me following women around icon wink AVCA Seattle   Minnesota Connection volleyball Continue Reading

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The AVCA Seattle – a real blog

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The AVCA Seattle – a real blog

Posted on 17 December 2013 by Chuck Rey

20131217 134200 The AVCA Seattle   a real blog volleyball

It is my plan to attempt to really blog my journey through the AVCA Convention in Seattle. Mom is always interested in what I’m doing, and this will keep her up to date for when I don’t always call. And I’m already feeling a little guilty leaving the volleyball-loving Fiancé in snowy-cold Oxford, OH, especially after she just relocated from sunny-warm Austin, TX. Seattle is not a cheap ticket this time of year and we have this wedding to plan and save for, so we thought it best to save a little money so we can feed a few extra people at the wedding. The sacrifices she makes for me is incredible. I’m a lucky guy. Continue Reading

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Protected: 2013 NCAA Volleyball Bracket Challenge

Posted on 05 December 2013 by Chuck Rey

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Generation GPS

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Generation GPS

Posted on 07 November 2013 by Chuck Rey

volleyball on map Generation GPS volleyballNever mind Generation X, Generation Y, Generation XyZ, this is Generation GPS.

Last weekend I was in my hometown of Chicago and I stayed an extra night (while the team returned to Oxford on the 7 hour middle-of-the-night bus ride). The following afternoon, I met up with a best friend at a restaurant we used to occasionally frequent. I couldn’t remember exactly where it was, so I plugged it into my GPS, and away I went.

Following my GPS, I hypnotically drove to the destination from where I stayed in the suburbs. Tunes were jamming on the radio, I admired the magnificent Chicago skyline on the drive into the city, and ran into a sweet Sunday morning traffic jam (I sat in traffic an extra 30 minutes). Upon arrival, the GPS told me, “You have arrived at your destination”, but I did not. Since I have been to this restaurant before, it wasn’t the destination. So I managed to drive a little further and find the ‘real’ destination.

The trip made me realize how technology has “dumbed-me-down”. How society is dumbed down by technology. I blindly followed the directions of a computer connected through a wireless network, connected to a satellite in outer-space, connected to a server, connected to a computer, connected to a map, connected, connected, connected…  I had total faith in this connected system and didn’t bother to think about where I was really going. I just did what I was told to do.

Before GPS, I would have looked on a map, relied on my memory, asked for directions, planned a route in my head, and remembered some of the old routes I used to take to this same restaurant I frequented a few years ago. I would not have sat in 30 minutes of traffic. I would have found an alternate route and saved time. And if I got lost, so be it. I would meander down a few side streets and find my destination. I would explore, see some new parts of my hometown I have never seen, and learned of a new shop or restaurant I would want to visit along the way.

It reminds me of the days I had to learn math without a calculator (blasphemy!). I had to actually process how numbers were put together to form equations and answers. My brain had to think, work, fail, learn, and explore. I was growing.

What does all this have to do with volleyball? I think about our players. All they know is the GPS society. Life, especially for junior volleyball players, is very programmed. Coaches have players follow a pattern, teacher have students follow another pattern, parents have their children follow another schedule. This cycle goes throughout the entire year. The kids go from one task, event, schedule, car ride, etc. to another, without thinking, without exploring, without failing, without learning. I see it on the court all the time. When something does not go according to the pattern, there is a look of wonderment on faces. Hitting a ball on two? Setting the first ball directly to a hitter? Swinging with a left hand in an emergency situation? How about trying to play a ball with your foot? Erik Shoji got some pretty good notoriety for that one (about a half a million views).

Ironically, it is the student athletes that do exactly all of these steps best, are the ones that often make the best grades, appear to be the best players, and are the most well-mannered kids.

The GPS Generation is missing the opportunity to explore, learn, fail, and most importantly think. Maybe I’m just a grumpy old man now that is saying, “When I was a kid, I did this…” or “Kids these days…”. But I am caught up in this GPS society and need to remember to think for myself sometimes too.

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More than 1 Billion people live on less than $1.25 a day – and all I do is coach volleyball

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More than 1 Billion people live on less than $1.25 a day – and all I do is coach volleyball

Posted on 11 October 2013 by Chuck Rey

volleyball kids coach teacher 3rd world More than 1 Billion people live on less than $1.25 a day   and all I do is coach volleyball volleyballToday’s Wall Street Journal reminds me how lucky I am. I coach volleyball for a living. That’s it. Any coach of any sport, no matter how much they make should consider themselves lucky. This is just a subtle reminder that came through my news-feed at my air-conditioned office, on my expensive PC, with my new iPhone in front of me, with a ridiculous desk phone that I never use that costs more than my iPhone, in brand new shoes and gear, and a car sitting right outside my window. How lucky are we?

More Than Billion People Live on Less Than $1.25 a Day

The last three decades have seen unprecedented progress when it comes to reducing extreme poverty around the world—but there’s still an awful lot more to do.

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Roughly 721 million people were lifted out of extreme poverty — defined internationally as living on less than $1.25 a day — between 1981 and 2010, according to a new report by the World Bank released Thursday. The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal of halving the share of people in extreme poverty between 1990 and 2015—an aim set at a summit in 2000—was reached in 2010, five years early.

But, as the World Bank points out, that still leaves roughly 1.2 billion people completely destitute, including about 400 million children. One of every three extremely poor people is a child under the age of 13. (To put all this in perspective, America’s own poverty line amounts to about $60 a day for a family of four — as the Economist noted in June. People around the world in “extreme poverty” tend to lack enough food to meet basic physical and mental needs.)

The World Bank report zeros in on the relative lack of progress in the world’s 35 “low income” countries — places like Bangladesh, Chad, Haiti and Kenya. Progress in these countries will need to pick up if international goals to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030 are to be reached.

Judging from the daily incomes of the extremely poor around the world, extreme poverty is getting less deep. Poverty for middle- and high-income countries — everywhere from Pakistan, Ukraine and the Czech Republic to Chile and Jordan — fell by more than 50% since 1981.

But when you look closely at the recent progress in the developing world, much of it is due to China and, to a lesser extent, India, whose amped-up economic growth in recent years reduced their poverty rates. By contrast, extreme poverty in the 35 “low income” countries — 26 are in Africa — fell by less than 33%. Indeed, the number of extremely poor people in low-income countries actually rose by 103 million between 1981 and 2010. And around half of the children in low-income countries are in extreme poverty.

Aside from China and India, “individuals living in extreme poverty [in the developing world] today appear to be as poor as those living in extreme poverty 30 years ago,” the World Bank said.

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The Rich get Richer, except in the world of the NCAA

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The Rich get Richer, except in the world of the NCAA

Posted on 29 September 2013 by Chuck Rey

johnny manziel autograph The Rich get Richer, except in the world of the NCAA volleyballThe Rich get Richer, except in the world of the NCAA, and that’s a good thing, for all of us. I’m amazed at the short-sightedness of people that believe NCAA Athletes should be paid. Texas A&M Quarterback, Johnny Manziel, brought this issue again to light with the sale of his autographed goods (the NCAA could not conclude Manziel was paid for his autograph). All athletes, entering the NCAA, understand the amateurism rules. If they don’t like the rules, don’t play. Johnny can go pro and make his money…if that is his desire.

In a world where people cringe at the absurd salaries of CEO’s and celebrities, why would people want to make a few athletes rich, instead of spreading the wealth? Should the NCAA formula be the same as the American Dream, where only 1% of the population is comfortably rich?

I very much appreciate Bill Gates and am bewildered by the idolization of Steve Jobs. No question Jobs was brilliant in his field, but he never gave to charity (yes, recently reports say his family has been giving for years, but this seems to be to protect Jobs’ legacy). In contrast, Bill Gates started The Gates Foundation (along with Warren Buffet). This charitable organization is guided by the belief that “Every life has an equal value.” and is “Focused on the areas of greatest need, on the ways in which we can do the most good”. Essentially, the foundation will help the poorest areas of the world to save as many lives as possible. Bravo to Gates.

The NCAA has similar a principal to The Gates Foundation, “Every athlete has an equal value”. Honestly, if it weren’t for this philosophy, I wouldn’t have a job, there would be very few men’s or women’s sports in the NCAA, and the NCAA Athletics landscape wouldn’t exist. There would be a few football teams, a few basketball teams, and maybe a select few other teams, and that’s about it. Forget the Cinderella teams of Basketball’s March Madness or Appalachian State over Michigan in football.

Money generated from football and basketball trickles down to all the other NCAA sports and gives tens of thousands of men and women the opportunity to participate in sports (and a lot of coaches too). In addition, Title IX essentially allows for an equal number of men’s sports/participants and women’s sports/participants.

So if we start paying Johnny Manziel, et al, I lose my job.

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Coach Chuck Rey is Assistant Coach at Miami University


Prior to this position, he was Assistant Coach at Winthrop University, the University of Minnesota and Georgia Southern University.

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