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For the Love of the Game  


 Vic's Page

Hi there.
For anyone who doesn't know me, I'm Vic, and I run this place. I dig through websites looking for info that can help you out. I look for results of games, keep my ear open for any new leagues or tournaments going on, and search to find information that's not always on the web, and give it a chance to be. I do this because I can, but more so because I enjoy being able to do it. I LOVE my sport, it's that simple. I love to play it, watch it, coach it, (boy is it hard not to coach when I'm supposed to be a spectator) and basically I want to teach volleyball to everyone who has enough interest to walk into the gym. These are my thoughts, opinions, and ideas, and I hope they will inspire you or your game in some way.

Rant 46 The Crash! Well, a lot of the site is coming along nicely, but I am struggling with my new program to create the some things that I want to add to the site. Slowly but surely everything will be back in order, and hopefully better than before.

Rant 45 The Secret of Success. You HAVE to love what you do. You have be totally dedicated to that thing at that time; be it sport, business, hobby, music, whatever. This season I have witnessed both coaches and players (several different teams) that have not shown total dedication, and then they wonder why they are not winning games.

Tip 44 Keep an Open Mind. This is the most important thing I've learned in volleyball. Listen to everyone, learn as much as possible, then use what works best for you. If you only learn one system, that will be the only option you have. If you learn several, when things are going bad, you will be able to change things up.

Tip 43 Be Aggressive. I don't think this can be overstated, and remember, "DEFENSE IS A STATE OF MINE." - Bruce White

Rant 42 I can't believe that nobody took me up on my offer to send ideas for this page, here I am with writers block, and no help coming in at all.
Rave 42 I heard there are people using the I Need A Player page to fill out their teams. This is great news, and just what I hoped would happen from it.
Tip 42 No Shortcuts. Nobody has ever reached their full potential by taking shortcuts, cutting corners, or taking the easy way out. Push yourself for all you've got all the time to achieve your best.

Tip 41 Off-season. May it never be. Who said there was ever an off-season? Play indoors, play outdoors, play 6's, 5's, 4's, 3's, 2's, and even 1vs1 so you can get maximum contacts. Play 1vs1 on a full court for a real challenge. Modify the game in any way needed (i.e. no tips, all rolls, all 10' balls), just play as much as possible!

Rant 40 Hempfield again... Yep, Hempfield girls did it, and the guys are strong favorites too. Why you may ask? Program. The kids want to play for the coaches who know what they are doing, and they start earlier, much younger, than we do up north. They have tradition to live up to now, and they get the athletes to back it up, because they take pride in their volleyball programs.

Rant 39 Sometimes, you can be very... Hold on a second, I thought if a team had a certain record, (let's say undefeated) isn't that more of a statistical value than a judgment rating? So how do fans and their 2 losses come in and shout "OVERRATED" in the middle of the 3rd game like that? Don't they know that inspiration was all the opponent needed? It cost them game 3, nearly cost them game 4....

Rave 38 Tight Races. Man the competition is close this year. Lots of evenly matched teams, 4 and 5 game matches, and a 33-31 game. This week will really show who's got the goods going into the playoffs though.

Tip 37 Just Do It. The best schemes out there can fall apart in a heartbeat when dissention arises. There are times when you need to just follow the orders of the coach or captain when they suggest a change, no hassles, no questions, just obedience. The time to ask why is not near the court, and if the change improved things, just remember to say thanks.

RANT 36 My Busyness. It seems I am so busy that I can't consistently write lately. Please send me some of your single paragraph "Rants, Raves, or Tips" and let me know if you want your name with them or not. No slander, no name calling allowed. Send Me your best stuff.

Rant 35 Use Your Resources! Please. If you are on here, you probably have a computer, so stop wasting time on junk email and go research something helpful. Learn about the proper way to do a stretch, or about the different goals of weight training, or try to find out why your serve hits the back wall every time.
Tip 35 Speed: Your Key to Success. The faster an athlete is, the better off they are. If you are training, make sure you are training for speed, and not just strength. Quick twitch muscle fiber is where the game is. It lets you approach faster and jump higher, so you can swing faster, which means you hit harder.

Tip 34 If the ball never touches the floor inside those court lines, it becomes much harder for the other team to beat you.

Rave 33 This summers clinics. I can't remember when there have been so many local clinics for high school players to attend, this is great! It has really been a boost for local volleyball to have them available.
Tip 33 Move! Inertia is the biggest cause of poor passes. Get moving before the ball is served/hit, move to the ball early, get your balance, make the pass.

Tip 32 Passing on Center. Any time you have a choice, move to get a good position behind the ball. If you flub a pass on the centerline of your body, there is a chance that it will rebound off you legally and stay alive. If you choose to pass outside the body, a shanked pass could mean the ball hitting the back wall next.

Rant 31 Why Worry? Why do people get so worked up and secretive about knowledge crossing "school lines" when it comes to this game? Wouldn't it make you a better player if I was a better player? Heaven forbid we share where we learned how to pass better from, or what was keeping you from hitting well. Wouldn't making you a better hitter make me a better blocker or passer out of necessity? Isn't that how the game has progressed to where it is today?

Tip 30 Watch out for Sunburn. I'm telling you, the ozone isn't what it used to be. Every year we destroy more of the atmosphere, and we are paying for it.

Rant 29 The PAVBCA Top Twenty. I heard lots of crap this season about when Hempfield lost, and lost top spot on the top 20, but they won states again and earned it back. Well, if we compare it to the BCS rating system where 72 sportswriters, 60 coaches, and 7 computers try to decide who the best college football team is every week, (and they still argue about the outcome by the way) I would say that the people down at PAVBCA are doing a great job of blindly comparing teams on a regular basis.
Tip 29 Disguising Your Intentions. Any time that you can hide your plans of where you want to set to or hit to until the moment of contact, you will be ahead of the game. Any time you telegraph your sets and hits before you even make contact, a defender will be waiting there for the ball.

Tip Number 28 Play Hard or Go Home. It's that time of year again folks, not. It always should be that time of year. If you are playing for fun and exercise I can understand not wanting to dive into a bleacher to get a ball, but if you are playing for a chance to go to states, you better hustle if you want to earn the respect of the fans and your teammates.

Rave Number 27 The Volleyball Community. Wow, that's all I can say. I don't know whether it's current events, or what the deal is, but there is so much more camaraderie and spirit among the teams lately. I saw such a mix of people on the same team at Gables last night, it was amazing. There used to be these big boundaries over which high school you went to, that people didn't overcome until forever. Now it's pretty common to see a team of college kids that are from 5 high schools playing together. I love it.
Tip Number 27 Posture. Have you ever seen a picture of someone playing, but since they did not happen to be playing the ball at the time, they were seen standing? Why not just give them an ice cream cone too? Remember, that ball could be coming to you next so always be ready from whistle to whistle!

Tip Number 26 Go Outside! Playing in a breeze can do wonders for your concentration level, not to mention learn learning to read what spin can do. Play with the wind and against the wind. Just try to serve into a 25mph headwind (if the net will stay up)!

Rave Number 25 Four remain undefeated. Half way through the boy's season and 4 teams are left. One of them just got bumped up to 9 in the state ranks. GO D2!!!
Tip Number 25 Go Crazy on Defense. If the ball never touches the floor inside those lines, it makes it much harder for the other team to score.

Rant Number 24 "If you are not a part of the solution, you probably are a part of the problem." This applies on so many levels that I don't know where to begin with it. I was just out west on vacation and saw lots of neat stuff, but I also saw how much pollution mankind has caused since I was born. Thirty years ago you could see something from an airplane window, in thirty more they won't even bother putting them in if we keep up this pace.
Tip Number 24 Fill the Biggest Need. If your team is struggling, make sure you do this. If other people are missing serves, be sure to serve in. If passing is poor, be the good passer. When everyone shuts up, start talking to help raise morale again. It won't take long to get your team back on track.

Tip Number 23 Ball Control. I often say "It's just a piece of leather with air in it." Now, I don't mean to underestimate the ball, but usually we humans are smarter than leather, and synthetics for sure. We should be able to take control of that ball and make it go anywhere we want, period. Look at every aspect of your game, and find out who has the control. Make sure it's YOU!

Tip Number 22 TALK! Whether you are playing with a group you are familiar with, or a group you just met, everything flows better with communication. Talk often and talk loud, and decide if it could have been done easier another way after you win the point. Usually I see the loudest teams go the furthest in tournaments, regardless of the level of play. So call it, tell your passers where to pass, talk to your setter to get sets, call out everything you can think of in a game. GET LOUD!!!

Tip Number 21 You never know who might be watching at any given moment during a match. Maybe it's the college coach who had a chance to stop by to see you play, or maybe it's another captain who is eyeing you to see if they want to ask you to be on their team for the next tourney. If someone from the other court glances over, do you want them to see you standing there while the ball hits the floor, or hustling to make that great save? In any case, play like someone is watching, but pretend that nobody is.

Tip Number 20 Be the good example. Smile when you play! Cheer for your teammates! Congratulate the good passes as often as the good hits! Team ace cheers and team support cheers can be very helpful too. Bringing a good mood to the court can be an infectious, positive thing. All it takes is for one person to start it off, because smiles are infectious. :-)

Tip Number 19 Move those feet! Have you ever shanked a pass and wondered why it happened? I bet 60% or more of the time it was from not moving your feet far enough to the ball, and 85% of them were not getting low enough to have a good stable pass. Get low, stay low, and play defense like a madman. Concentrate on moving those feet nice and early, and you won't regret it.

Tip Number 18 Never give up. I have had my share of comebacks both on the court and off. The most wonderful lesson volleyball has taught me is to never give up. I have seen all kinds of things in my days, but nothing is sadder than when someone on a team gives up. Not only is that person robbing themselves of the experience, but they are bringing down the rest of their team with them, slowly but surely. Giving up on yourself or your teammates can make for a very short, unenjoyable night, but going all out for every play will leave you satisfied, and maybe pleasantly surprised. Play hard, all the time!!!

Tip Number 17 Learn from others. "The best way to learn is to watch a champion and mimic their actions." -John Kessel. You can watch a very successful person, but sometimes you don't have an extra gold medalist in the gym to do drills with you, that's when you need the help of others. Volleyball is a game of experience, and only experience will help you learn it. Getting tips from more experienced players along the way can help shorten your path to success because you will be taking advantage of errors that they made and learned how to correct before you came around.

Tip Number 16 Play with confidence. Self doubt is the biggest killer of athletes. It takes down more players than physical injuries do by far. Personally, I had one ankle sprain in my 20 years of playing, but how many years did I sabotage myself by saying I couldn't set, or block, or hit. Guess how I fixed it? (See rant #1 if you didn't guess!) Once you have skills, all you need is a chance at the ball. But wait, there's more... so you made a hitting error, what's it gonna be? Hissy fit, or cool and calm. If you let your emotions get the best of you in a game, most likely you're going to make more errors. Players who stay calm and confident on the other hand often end up happy with their play that day.

Tip Number 15 Play every chance you get. Every contact you make with the volleyball, your brain is learning something. If you are playing with people in a goof-off situation, take advantage of the fact that they won't criticize your setting when you're normally a middle hitter. Better yet, if you are the worst player there, you get to play up to everyone else's level and have the best game of your life!

Rant Number 14 Grudges Life is too short to go around being mad at someone for something that happened, be it on the court or off. Trust me on this one, I can say it because I speak from experience. So settle those conflicts, and let it go.
Rave Number 14 People who want it. Every once in a while I run across someone who has that fire in their eye when they talk about volleyball. Their pulse quickens as they speak faster and fasteraboutthelasttimetheygottoplay,orthelasttournamenttheywerein. And I smile, because I know I have found someone who shares my passion for the game. And probably, you're all the same people who read this page, so thank you.
Tip Number 14 Get there before the ball! Always make your movements quick and early, and try to get balanced before you make your pass. (Not always that easy, I know) This will take one variable out of your passing. Picture the difference between throwing a ball at a wall and watching the consistency, versus tossing it to a new passer and then chasing it all over the gym. The difference is in the stability.

Number 13 Won't come to me. Must be all these medications. I hope to get my creative groove back soon.

Week 12 Tip Anticipation I can't stress enough how important this skill is. Sure, you can watch the hitters shoulder and know where they are hitting (usually), but think a step ahead of that. Who is the go to person, what are the setters tendencies, do they ever dump, do they always set the same hitter in this rotation? Get to your defensive position early playing the odds on where you will most likely need to be, then make adjustments from there.

Week 11 Rant Reffing Your Own Match. I played in a tourney this weekend, I touched the net so softly that I doubt it moved, and I called myself for a net violation. It was not a matter of if anyone saw me touch it, if I thought I could get away with it, or how close the game was. I just used the rules. I am a firm believer in having the opposing team try to stay out of it when there is a call in question, and having your teammates help out with the calls in an attempt to keep the peace on the court. If there is a disputed play, just replay it and I am sure justice will prevail. But come on, we have to watch the foot faults, 10' line faults, and a few setters who cheat by leaving really early on every back row play. POLICE YOURSELF, please.
Week 11 Tip Keep the Ball in Front of You. Every skill in the game is accomplished more easily with the ball in front of you. Every coach has told you this about hitting (I hope), and you must have learned from experience by now that passing once the ball is beyond your body involves less skill and more luck the farther it gets past you. The same concept is true for serving and setting, and if you block with your back to the net, then well... Let's just say I have only witnessed that happening in warm-ups.

Week 10 Rave When I hit the Lottery... I promise I am going to build a dome with room for four or more courts that will be volleyball only! It needs easy access to I-81, and space to park. Is that so much to ask? If you know anyone who wants a nice losing business venture for a tax write-off, have them email me. (History has shown that volleyball only facilities never profit.)
Week 10 Tip Always Play Forward. Volleyball is best played with a short memory. If you have an error, and two plays later the team is depending on you again, you better be confident that you will have success this time. If you dwell on the error, and that causes a second, and the two cause a third, it's easy to get yourself into a death spiral. But, if you play every point like it's 0-0, seeing every ball as a fresh challenge, I think your success rate will rise quite a bit.

Week 9 Rant Finally After 2 months of complaining, I think I can be done. Unless you want me to start about Doctors...
Week 9 Rave The Power of Volleyball This summer/fall it seemed like everywhere I went, there were volleyball teams forming for leagues or tournaments that had groups of people that had never met before that day. That's cool. For a group to get together to play for the first time, and generally have everyone know where they belonged, and fit together as a team, and pull out some wins against teams that have been together for years. Very cool.
Week 9 Tip Go with the flow People have a way of letting themselves get all bent out of shape over the smallest things sometimes. "Am I on the court or off? Do I start or not? Why is he/she there instead of me? The coach must hate me, I don't get to play." I have heard all of these several times over the years. It's much easier to deal with the players who wait for their chance, and take advantage of it when it comes then those that need psychological counseling just because they're on the bench. Sometimes a coach just needs to get in some players off the bench, and sometimes the bench just has to pay their dues and wait for their chance. Whenever your chance comes, I hope you'll be ready to go.

Week 8 Rant Get Real Juniors Girl's Club Volleyball The Club NEPA and Get Real Juniors are merging into one BIG CLUB, but the organization of the merge has been a nightmare. (for me)
Week 8 Rave Get Real Juniors Girl's Club Volleyball This club will be awesome for the girls of northeast Pa! It will have several teams and several coaches for them.
Week 8 Tip Get Real Juniors Girl's Club Volleyball Join up or volunteer now. See the USAV link for details

Week 7 Rant Communication Gaps It seems like all I am doing lately is bridging these gaps. Why don't people just say the things they want or need anymore? What are we afraid of? If you need something, ask! If you want to say something, say it!
Week 7 Rave Ahh...To play again. Woohoo! The indoor season is here and we should be able to get in a few tourneys over the holidays, and next thing you know, spring will be here!
Week 7 Tip "If you can't excel with talent, triumph with effort." -Dave Weinbaum

Week 6 Rant My Own Ignorance. I spent the whole weekend trying to learn those cool fly-out menus so I could put them on here in a future incarnation of this site, only to learn late Sunday night that they are a dhtml effect that I may have at my fingertips already. Doh! All I needed to know was what it was called! But, I can't tell you how many other things I learned on my journey, so I guess that was my lesson.
Week 6 Rave The Bishop Hoban Bench. I was at Tunkhannock H.S. for the Bishop Hoban vs. Troy match, and there were 6 (of course) on the court, and 13 on the bench. I think I remember 2 or 3 subbing, so that makes roughly 10 with very limited playing time. 10 out of those 10 were ready to go in at a moments notice and 10 out of the 10 were glued to the game, yelling their heads off down to the last point. That's what this game is all about. I tip my hat to you girls, thanks.
Week 6 Tip Balance. Always keeping yourself balanced will raise the odds of success tremendously. No matter which skill you are working on, check for your balance at the time you contact the ball.

Week 5 Rant People who strive for mediocrity. This week I came across several examples of this. For instance a driver for NEIU who has more free seats, but doesn't want to do the extra work, so he doesn't tell anyone he got a new van. Or people who do just enough to get by, and if they think no one is watching, do nothing at all. That is a scenario that can apply to just about anything. If you don't care, why are you there? Get out of the way and make room for someone that wants to be there, and who knows, maybe they will leave a position open that you would like much better. As for volleyball, I would rather play with a B player who gave it their all than the A player who didn't care.
Week 5 Rave Growing interest. I think volleyball is on the upswing again. I have seen high interest in this website (thank you), in the leagues this summer and fall, and in the kids that want to find places to keep playing. I hope it will continue to be strong throughout the upcoming year. Maybe it was all the rain we had this summer, but it sure was good for the volleyball crop!
Week 5 Tip Watching the ball at contact points. Every time the ball makes a legal contact, it will change direction, and that change may effect where you have to go next. The trick is to anticipate the direction the ball will go based on the body position of the passer, speed and spin of the ball, or angle that it hits the ceiling at. The key is to get moving to help out as quickly as possible, and keep the ball in play.

Week 4 Rant Unreasonable Coaching. This week I was told a story about a H.S. coach who forbid any of his/her players from playing in other high school sports, even to the point of threatening their potential varsity position. From my point of view, this is wrong on so many levels it's ridiculous. First, we humans are free to do as we choose. Second, you only get to go through high school once. Third, skills transfer through to different sports. Hand-eye coordination, strength, speed, agility, mental toughness, leadership, you never know what may develop in a player through another sport. Does the coach in me want to see someone play volleyball all year round? YES! Does the coach in me support multi-sport athletes? Every year. If a player is doing nothing with their time, get them to play volleyball, if a player wants to play another sport, support them.
Week 4 Rave Speaking of other sports... I wouldn't be so quick to condemn the rest of the world. I have learned some great things from other sports. Tennis, fencing, baseball, and track have all taught me things that I have brought back and applied to playing volleyball. In some cases I have learned through observation, and others I have learned from the experience, but my angle has always been the same. "How can this make me a better volleyball player or coach?" Want some examples? Watch pro tennis players react to 100+ mph serves, and see how they get in position so fast. Through fencing I learned better footwork for setting, and track helped me learn more about body mechanics and the importance of coordinating the whole body as one unit.
Week 4 Tip Learn to juggle. Juggling will improve hand speed, hand-eye coordination, and teach your brain how to recognize the arc of a ball just from watching the beginning of the travel path. When you are juggling, you are only watching the throws, never the catches. So in applying that theory you will be able to watch the release from the setters hands, and be able to judge exactly where and when the ball will be landing. This in turn allows you to start your approach, look at the defense, see any blockers, find the ball on it's path again with no problem, finish your approach, decide whether to tool the block or go for the kill, and terminate the ball. Get a Klutz's book or study up online http://www.home.eznet.net/~stevemd/juggle1.html , but learn it, I don't just mean throw balls around and give up. You will be amazed, and you will amaze your friends!

Week 3 Rant New scoring rules. So what's up with people who don't want to keep up with the times? Basketball never had a 3-pt arc, but they changed the rules. Pro's, then college, now high school all have a 3-pt shot. I didn't hear anyone complain about that, but change to rally score in volleyball and people don't know what to do with themselves! My goodness! It's ping pong with a few more points! Let serves! Stop the world, it's wrong, NO! It's VOLLEYBALL, and it's here until someone decides to change it, again.
Week 3 Rave Pride in what you do. Nothing feels better than a job well done, especially when you've given it all you got. Knowing that you played your best game against someone and had to fight to the end, carries a satisfaction that is indescribable, win or lose.
Week 3 Tip "Get your feet there first." Vic

Week 2's Raves Work Ethic. Have you ever watched a champion practice? Do you think they ever consider it just a practice? Every ball is more like a challenge to be met. Can I dig it, can I reach that far, can I hit it a little harder, can I place it better, can I chase down anything my coach can dish out? It comes from down deep, and is a very hard feeling to satisfy. That's why it's in there the next day too, and for some people, is never quenched.
Week 2's Raves Newspaper Coverage. The Times-Leader gives the Wyoming Valley Conference excellent coverage for volleyball and all high school sports. You can regularly find pictures, scores, stats, and stories about how games went, often on the front page of the sports section! That's coverage!
Week 2 Tip "When in doubt, HUSTLE!" Vic

My First Rant "I can't...." Just stop right there. There is no "I can't", there is only "I haven't practiced that enough yet." When you were a couple months old, could you walk? So what did you do? YOU PRACTICED! And pretty soon you got to where you were running around. And before you could read... I could keep going, but all my examples would lead to YOU PRACTICED IT! Basically it boils down to the same thing whether it's math or reading or sports, it takes some guidance from others and practice, and more practice. Don't be afraid to let someone teach you, most likely they are trying to keep you from the mistakes they already made!
My First Rave Junior High Programs. This is the BEST thing a school can do to help District 2 become competitive with the rest of the state. The sooner a player gets volleyball in their blood the harder it is to get it out. How young does t-ball, midget football, and youth soccer start? Yet some schools still don't offer volleyball until 9th grade. There are getting to be more Jr. High programs around, but I would guess we are still at 1/3 to 1/2 of the schools, and you can definitely tell which ones have the programs. So my hat is off to those schools with Jr. High Volleyball Programs, thank you.
My First Tip "The most important skill a volleyball player can develop, is the ability to pass the ball. Once you control the ball, you can control the game." Vic, but I may have paraphrased it from a much wiser volleyball player than I am.