Greenville College Blogs

Volleyball

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The Nest

Posted Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

One of the terms we often use in our program is “The nest”. We use it in a variety of ways, but it’s most commonly used when we want to share openly about something and we don’t want to be judged by our peers. It refers to a safe place and that is exactly what we want to provide for our players.

A safe place often times gets mistaken for an environment without accountability, confrontation, or scrutiny. Let me assure you that is not the environment we are working to establish and maintain.

Whether it is in the classroom, the gym, or socially, our players are held to a high level of accountability. Too many times we run from accountability and put ourselves in situations where we have no one to answer to. I want our players to understand that we all need to be held accountable and questioned when we step out of line. This is a college team; this means there are always going to be the pressures associated with being a college student. We are not at all saying that our girls never make mistakes, they are human and that happens. It is more about them understanding that they will have to answer for those mistakes and that what they chose to do or not do affects every member of the team. We hold our players accountable because we love them and it is our job to send them on from our program as better people, not just better volleyball players. Without accountability there is no clear level of expectation and without expectations our progress is unknown.

A lost art in relationships that I feel is essential to growth is confrontation. Our players often lack the ability to confront their peers and that leads to real problems within a team. I love technology, but I do think that technology has definitely hindered our ability to have tough face-to-face conversations with one another. Texting is easier than talking to and you can’t have a real conversation via texting. Coaches are around their teams a fraction of the time the players are around each other and if nobody is able or willing to confront when necessary then the culture will suffer greatly. A culture will inevitably develop within a team, for good or bad, and whatever behavior we do not confront we are communicating that it is acceptable.

The players on our team know that we are going to play the best players and that is the bottom line when it comes to lineups. They experience a very real level of scrutiny that can be taxing at times. We always want to be deep in every position and challenge each player to consistently improve. We share our statistical data and player rankings openly and we want them to experience the rewards of playing along with the struggles of watching from the sidelines. Being a starter for our team is very difficult because we carry so many quality players. Handling both success and adversity are lessons we want our players to learn.

We use biblical principles to teach life lessons. God calls us to give up ourselves to follow Him and I think we can make that connection for our athletes in a proper team setting. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me”. We want our players to deny themselves and put the team first. Once this is understood we can transfer that concept into their spiritual lives.

Our goal is to help our players learn to deal with situations properly within the team setting so they can be better equipped for real life situations when they arise.

“The Nest” doesn’t judge, it doesn’t hold grudges, it always loves, and it always challenges.

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GC Volleyball Meets The Simple Room!

Posted Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

For the last few Sundays this month, a few girls from our GC Volleyball team had the opportunity to hang out with 8-14 year old girls from the Simple Room here in town. If you are unfamiliar with The Simple Room you can check out their website at http://www.simpleroom.org/ or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thesimpleroom to see the amazing things being done in the lives of these boys and girls.

We would begin every afternoon with introductions and tell a little bit about ourselves, including name, age, favorite color, favorite food, etc. We always tried to ease the girls into the volleyball aspect, as many of them have never played the sport or even touched a volleyball. We went through all of the basic skills of our sport with them including passing, hitting, setting, blocking, and some serving. We had limited time and obviously couldn’t go completely in-depth but the few girls who attended all three weeks definitely started to catch on and were able to perform in some of these areas. In addition to volleyball we also played a lot of different games with the girls and had snack time and a little devotional in the middle of each session! In these devotionals we talked about things like forgiveness, being selfless, and putting our trust in the Lord. We had activities to go along with these topics and we also had a few of the girls tell stories about personal experiences they have had in these areas.

 

This was our first year teaming up with The Simple Room and it was awesome to be able to share our passion as well as a little bit of our faith with these young girls! Our plan is to make this something we take part in every year in the hopes of developing great relationships and connections between Greenville College Volleyball and the girls of the Simple Room!

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Spring Season 2012

Posted Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

For the past 3 weeks we have been in the gym preparing as a team for the long awaited spring season tournament that happened this past weekend. Since the beginning of the semester we have been getting together every Sunday night for open gym from 10-12, but starting in April we had organized practices 3 times a week, and let’s just say that it wasn’t a waste of time. Every practice showed everyone’s eagerness to be back in the gym. One of the big things that we stress with Greenville volleyball is that champions are made in the off-season. We aren’t provided with a workout plan or told what to do, but are expected to make our own time to improve ourselves by getting faster, stronger, and better. This year was one of the best spring seasons in part to the improvements that were made by multiple individuals on their own time. Because we lost seniors, a couple of girls had to step up and fill roles on the court. Joelle Scholten stepped out of her normal position of outside hitter to set for the black team and did a phenomenal job! It was good to see all of the talent that we will be bringing back with us next season, and we’re very excited to bring in our recruits and add them right in. The tournament was a huge success, as we had 8 teams competing all day and lots of fans to cheer us on as the black team finished 9-1 on the day with the best record in the gym!

Friday night we hosted our yearly trivia night, which is a fundraiser that we do to raise money that goes directly to our missions fund. This past summer the majority of the team got the opportunity to go to the Dominican Republic for a week to play some volleyball, do some work, but most importantly to share God’s love with the Dominicans. Not only did we get the opportunity to help them out, but also we were impacted ourselves in various ways. Without the outside help from family, friends and fundraisers, it is difficult for us to raise enough money to have these kinds of opportunities. Our trivia night was successful, as we raised $2,000 to go towards our next trip. We want to thank everyone that came out this past weekend to support us and cheer us on. We couldn’t do this without you!!

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Champions are made in the off season

Posted Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Champions are made in the off season

The girls have heard me say this way too many times (and they never miss an opportunity to mock me about it), but I have found it to be true in countless situations. When I think about the transformation of players in our program
such as Laura Alo, Jessica Dothager, Katelin Feyerabend, Jenna Marcotte, Alyssa Cliffe, and Janell Crow it was very clear to me that the work these players did during the off season is what led to them reaching their potential. Feyerabend would be the only player of the four to contribute on the court as a freshman and even she would tell you that she was a one-dimensional hitter with poor ball control.

It’s a combination of three things that separates the good off-season plans from the great ones -Strength, reps, and Volleyball IQ.

Strength

A stronger volleyball player moves faster, jumps higher, swings harder, is less prone to injury, and lasts longer in matches. You have to do a combination of things to accomplish each piece, but consistency in workouts is the key. We make sure our players have access to a jump program and a weight program, the cardio they usually figure out on their own. Without strength training in the off season and a serious increase in her vertical, I don’t think Laura Alo moves from DS to L1 and eventually becomes a 1st team all conference player. Jessica Dothager might not make it from the bench to GC’s first SLIAC player of the year without her off-season workouts.

Reps

I wouldn’t just say that reps are important, I would say without them you will get passed up very quickly. The thing that we like to keep our players aware of is that every kid we are recruiting is playing club volleyball and they will be playing from Aug. until at least May. If our kids only take reps from Aug. to November they won’t be able to keep up with our freshman let alone the other players already on the team. Feyerabend never saw the back row without her off season reps on defense and serve receive. She also learned to hit every shot in the book and is currently ranked second on the all time kill list. Jenna Marcotte spent countless hours in the gym during her summer months and tracked every serve she received, recording nearly 3,000 reps, she became one of our best passers ever.

Volleyball IQ

At some point players stop just playing the game and they start understanding the game. You can’t acquire this skill without the desire to learn or by just watching good volleyball. You have to become a real student of the game and start to process every factor of the game. It’s about recognition in my opinion, recognizing what your opponent is doing faster and having a frame of reference by which you will determine the best countermove in the least amount of time. Your brain sees what is happening and you immediately shuffle through the index of knowledge and make the right adjustment. One of the benefits of running a club for our program is that our players get to coach and that has a significant impact on our players’ volleyball IQs. Our girls work camps, run clinics, watch film, and become true students of the game. Our team GPA is usually around a 3.4 and that also helps. Alyssa Cliffe was probably the most intelligent player I have ever coached and a lot of that was because of the high level of club she played in high school and the fact that she coached club in the off-season. We got to the point where she knew what adjustments we needed to make before I even had to tell her, so she made me look like I actually knew what I was doing. Janell Crow is another great example of a player with a high IQ, Nelly might not be the most athletic player I’ve ever coached (you know I love you Nelly), but she was an expert at decision-making. Nelly led the conference in assists in 2010 and 2011 and is the only setter in school history to take a team to the NCAA tournament. She had the ability to see what blocking scheme the other team was in and exploit every weakness.

The players who take the off-season seriously always seem to sift to the top of the pack. Can’t wait to see who our next champion is.

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Hannah says hello…

Posted Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

And to end this year’s season, and to wish you a Happy Holidays we finish with Jr. Hannah Groves.

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Q: What is your name?

A: My name is Hannah Groves

Q: Where are you from?

A: I am from Greenville, Illinois

Q: What is your major?

A: I am a Urban Cross Cultural Ministry major, with a minor in teaching english to speakers of other languages

Q: What made you want to play at Greenville College?

A: I have been playing volleyball my whole life and I Love the game, and I wanted to keep that up. I wanted to keep staying active and keep being apart of a team. In High School I played on a team that didn’t have any faith integration, that wasn’t apart of the team there wasn’t a concept of that its all about the team. It was more about how can I be, how can I get more playing time. I wanted to be apart of a team that was built on faith and was built on the bigger picture of the whole team concept.

Q: How long have you been playing volleyball?

A: I have played three seasons now, and will be going into my senior year this fall.

Q: How does it feel to be named captain of the team for the second time?

A: It is a tremendous privilege and a huge responsibility. I just feel like my job is to serve the girls in any way that I can and just be there for them, and to just help any way that I can. I see it as a primarily a servant role.

Q: What would your advice be to incoming freshmen?

A: Freshmen that are coming I would definitely say get as involved with these girls lives as much as possible this team is really big on relationships, really big on getting to know each other and loving each other. So definitely getting to know the girls, and then as far as playing goes be really strong in the off-season making sure that you are working out and staying on top of your game. Coach always says champions are made in the off-season. So just make sure that you are staying with those workouts and getting ready for the upcoming season in the fall.

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