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.
The 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.
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
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 Efficiency (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 Why 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.
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!