After having an off day on Friday, the day began with breakfast (as usual) in the club room upstairs from the Sports Pavilion gym. At breakfast, we were served a variety of foods, ranging from, homemade omelets, pancakes, waffles and french toast. After enjoying the delicious meal prepared by our incredible chefs Bill and Frida, we went down stairs to the locker room and prepared for our morning practice.
Once we completed our breathing exercises led by our athletic trainer Ronni, we began warming up with our partners. After warming up, we did a drill that focuses primarily on analyzing the position and placement of the ball on the opposing side of the net. This drill is done in hopes of establishing court awareness and the ability to read the ball that was being set. For a better understanding of this aspect, we were told to yell out if the ball was on (the net), off or over (the net). This was the first step to identifying and anticipating the possibilities of plays the other team could run. After identifying the location of the ball that was passed, we then needed to incorporate the second contact. To draw our attention to the next contact the setter would hold up (with her fingers) the number one or two. Then, after calling on, off or over, the next step was to identify the hitter. The hitter would hold up a hand or a fist. This was done to force us to acknowledge the hitter and their approach. The final step was to call the number the setter showed.
Next, we split off into two groups each on a separate court. We were separated by positions. On one court there was one setter and the middle blockers. On the other court the defensive players, the remaining setters and outsider hitters. The outsides and defensive players worked on passing, hitting and transitioning. On the other court, the middles, worked on blocking and transitioning as well as off the net sets. Also, we worked on our hitting approach and being open to the setter. Each middle would have their turn to hit off of each setter. This allowed our coach to inform us of what we needed to fix in order to create good timing with our setter with balls both in and out of system.
The afternoon part of practice was mainly competition. Also, considering all of the work we had previously done, this practice was low impact. Low impact not meaning less intensity, but limited jumping in hopes of preventing injury and other negative occurrences. We played a regular rally-scoring game with a twist. Instead of the net being at regular height it was lowered. In doing so, we were not permitted to jump during this competition.
All in all today was a good practice and tomorrow the cycle begins yet again! Like everyday, today was a great day to be a Golden Gopher!