Covering the Court
The Official Newsletter
of the Arizona Region of USA Volleyball
In this edition:
Report - Official's Division
Report - Grassroots Director
Report - Catching Up with Tara Mueller
- Training Aspects of a Volleyball
to Play for the Podium - Beach
From the Commish...
Big Events in
What a great state to live in. We have been privileged to host the
World Series, the Super Bowl, the NBA All-Star Game and a host of
annual events like PIR races, PGA golf tournaments, spring training
games and many, many others. And let’s not leave out the USA
Volleyball Junior Boys Nationals in Phoenix, the High Performance
Championships, the Volleyball Festival and the USA Volleyball Open
Championships in Tucson. And yet, none is bigger (if you ask me)
than the fact that Phoenix will be hosting the USA Volleyball Open
Championships this coming May.
For our Region, hosting the Open is huge. It provides our membership
with the opportunity to experience “Nationals” without
the cost of travel. It gives our junior membership the opportunity
to experience firsthand the excitement of continuing to participate
in the sport even after they have completed their junior status.
And for the city and state, the event will bring almost 10,000 people
to downtown Phoenix both for volleyball and tourist experiences.
This will require a great deal of work for many people but the Open
will provide the players with a fantastic experience, the spectators
with an opportunity to see some of the best volleyball they will
ever see in the state. For past and present leaders in the sport
there will be a banquet to celebrate their efforts and the merchants
will be presented with many, many customers at a time of year that
rarely sees crowds of this magnitude in downtown Phoenix.
Don’t miss it. Please encourage anyone and everyone you know
that appreciates the sport to mark it on the calendar – May
29 through June 6 in the Phoenix Convention Center.
From the court,
Harold W. Cranswick
Arizona Region of USA Volleyball
Directors, Coaches, Players & Parents:
The Arizona Region takes questions and feedback seriously at all
levels. We appreciate that some of you have concerns regarding the
new USAV rules. Since Regions do not have the option to amend rules
that our Governing Body (USAV) considers issues of liability or
conformance, these new Regulations will be in effect and monitored
for this, and the following season. The Domestic Competition Regulations
are now in effect for 2-year blocks. Let me share what I know at
this point, and some of my experiences with our new Regulations
to this point.
Any rules adopted by the FIVB and adapted by USAV are tried, tested,
and adapted over several seasons, with detailed monitoring of its
affect on injuries or changes in play. Paraphrasing our recent National
Officials Clinic the philosophy underlying most of the latest changes
in play has been to enhance the excitement of viewing the game by
extending the length of the rally. Along these lines, we've seen
changes in ball-handling, the addition of the Libero, and other
modifications to enhance play. Volleyball involves the chance of
injury, but there have been no significant differences in the number
or severity of injuries with these rules over their testing period.
In addition, similar rules have been in effect in the NCAA for some
time, and no significant differences in injury statistics have been
found in that venue either. These rules were used during our boy’s
season that just ended, and we had no abnormal numbers of injury
incidents with boys either.
These are the rules our players will be using for upcoming seasons,
here and in out-of-state competitions as well, and it would be doing
a disservice to our teams if they were to have to play under different
regulations in Regional competitions.
Are the new rules more lenient toward contact with the net? 'Yes'
. . . However, neither USAV nor the Region has any reason to believe
that coaches would change coaching techniques to include using the
net to take advantage, thus putting our young players in harms way.
The rules are very clear as they stand, and they state the opposite.
Using the "net to gain advantage" is still a net violation
and will be called when it happens. Occasional plays where net or
centerline violations "interfere with play" as defined
by the rules will be called as well.
I hope this offers insight and perspective regarding these changes,
and how we, as officials of the Arizona Region and USAV, will be
enforcing them. Rest assured we will continue to apply the new Regulations
with the ultimate concern for the safety of our young players. The
complete 2010-2012 Domestic Competition Regulations and commentary
can be accessed at @ http://www.usavolleyball.org/pages/2495
Having said this, the new modifications to the rules have made the
job of officiating increasingly challenging as well. These changes
are something we learn to live with and grow from . . . and our
goal is to make the transition to implementing them in a consistent
manner as smooth as possible.
Arizona Region of USA Volleyball
The Arizona Region
of USA Volleyball’s focus on our Mission Statement “to
promote, govern, oversee, plan and coordinate amateur indoor and
outdoor volleyball in the Arizona Region, in order to provide a
variety of opportunities for all interested parties to participate
in a safe, positive and appropriately competitive environment”
has been met with great success in the world of grassroots projects.
A Community Outreach approach has been embraced and supported by
members of our Arizona Region volleyball community and the local
of USA Volleyball and Special Olympics Arizona Partnership
One example of identifying, creating and providing a new opportunity
for all interested parties - youth and adult - to participate in
an indoor volleyball event is the Arizona Region of USA Volleyball
and Special Olympics Arizona Partnership. Our partnership provides
for an exciting volunteer experience that combines an individual’s
or family’s desire to help others through their love of volleyball.
A Unified Sports®
Volleyball team provides the opportunity for an equal number of
Special Olympics Athletes and athletes without intellectual disabilities
(Partners) to train and compete on the same volleyball team. Youth
and Adult Athletes and Partners are coming together and forming
teams throughout Arizona in preparation for this year's Special
Olympics Arizona Summer Games.
Thanks to the
generous donation of gym time and equipment from the Aspire Volleyball
Gym in Tempe, the formation of two City of Tempe Unified Sports®
Volleyball teams will be supported. Aspire Volleyball players (Partners)
and coaches will join Athletes from the City of Tempe’s Adapted
Recreation Program for weekly practices and competition at the Summer
Both Desert Vista
High School in Phoenix and Raymond S. Kellis High School in Glendale
have committed gym time, equipment, Athlete and Partner players
and coaches to support the formation of Unified Sports® Volleyball
teams for participation in the Summer Games. As requests are received
from various parts of Arizona, every effort is being made to bring
Athletes, Partners, facilities and volunteers together.
If you are interested
in volunteering to coach a Unified Sports® Volleyball Team,
please contact Brian Quinn with Special Olympics Arizona at 602-230-9135
If you are interested
in volunteering in a non-coaching role such as a Partner player,
Official or "Day of Event" volunteer, please contact Teresa
Scobee at GrowTheGame@aol.com.
of USA Volleyball and YMCA Partnership
Another exciting example of the Arizona Region’s commitment
to our Mission statement is the creation of new volleyball opportunities
through two Valley of the Sun YMCAs. The Ahwatukee Foothills Family
YMCA has developed and implemented two new volleyball opportunities
for interested players at various levels.
A fun, skills introduction Volleyball Clinic for 1st to 3rd Graders
is now being offered and enjoyed by many new players during two
45 minute sessions a week for 8 weeks.
For both boys
and girls interested in playing competitive club volleyball in the
12 years old and older divisions, there is now a growing network
of YMCA based club teams known as Club VOS (Valley of the Sun).
The Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA has supported the formation
of teams for the past two years during the Boys’ club seasons
and the Girls’ club seasons. This year the Tempe YMCA formed
its first Club VOS teams with one currently competing in the Girls
14’s Club Division and one currently competing in the Girls
16’s Club Division. These two new teams join the following
current Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA’s Club VOS Girls teams;
two competing in the 12’s Club Division, one competing in
the 14’s Club and one competing in the 16’s Club teams.
Opportunities and Partnerships
On the horizon is the creation and support of a variety of other
opportunities, indoor and outdoor, for all interested parties to
learn about and enjoy playing volleyball in a safe, positive and
appropriately competitive environment. These opportunities include
organizing volleyball player and coaching clinics and playing opportunities
for new and current volleyball players, youth and adult, throughout
Arizona. Many of these opportunities will also provide players with
community service hours and personal satisfaction while making a
difference in people’s lives.
Some of these
upcoming opportunities might qualify for the “Give a Day.
Get a Disney Day.” Program. Please check the Arizona Region’s
website periodically for details about any Arizona Region of USA
Volleyball supported eligible volunteer opportunities. The following
website has details about this inspirational, volunteer appreciation
program that the whole family may experience: www.GiveADayGetADisneyDay.com.
See you soon!
Please join the Arizona Region of USA Volleyball in proudly supporting
the Special Olympics Arizona's Unified Sports® Volleyball events
during the 2010 Special Olympics Arizona Summer Games, April 29
- May 1 at Mesa Community College by volunteering or stopping by
and cheering! See you at the 2010 Special Olympics Arizona Summer
Thank you to
each of you for your support in sharing the joy of volleyball!
Training Aspects to
Include in a Volleyball Warm-up
up is an integral part of a team’s success both short term,
in the session to follow, and long term throughout the season. A
good warm up will prepare the body physically and mentally for the
upcoming practice or game as well as prevent injury for the session
to follow and throughout the season. There are different components
within the warm up that serve a specific purpose.
First, any soft
tissue issues need to be addressed. This can be accomplished by
trigger pointing muscles with a small ball and foam rolling. Good
tissue quality is key to help with the recovery of muscles, warming
them up, and ensuring they are in a good state as to not be over
stressed, resulting in pulls, strains and or tears.
Next heart rate
and core temperature should be increased. This can be accomplished
with low intensity volleyball specific drills to ensure players
are getting a touch on the ball.
Then muscles need
proper activation to ensure that the wrong muscles are not compensating
and setting the body up for injury. The two key areas of activation
for volleyball players are the hips and shoulder girdle. The use
of mini bands will help to activate the glute muscles which control
the knee. Mini bands and other exercises such as Y,T,W, and L’s
can be used to activate the scapula aka shoulder blades which control
the arms. The activation of these keys muscles will not only help
build strength in necessary areas to prevent injury but ensure these
muscles are working correctly so that in the session to follow the
muscles will do their job in controlling the knee and supporting
the shoulder which are major areas of stress and breakdown in the
game of volleyball.
Then the body
needs to be prepared for the demands it is going to face in the
sport. This is accomplished with an active warm-up. Athletes should
be taken through a series of movements that actively lengthen muscles
taking them through a full range of motion, turning on and lengthening
key muscles. In sport muscles are contracted and lengthened quickly
thus the warm up should be done in the same manner to prepare them
for the demands of the sport.
areas to key in on for stretching are the hips. Opening the hips
will allow athletes’ to get full extension through their legs
when jumping; it will also allow them to get low for digs. All active
stretches should be held for 1-2 seconds and repeated as needed.
These stretches should include the use of balance, force production,
i.e. pushing through the ground, and activating key areas of the
body as well as lengthening the muscles.
Next the nervous
system needs to be activated to ensure these athletes are connecting
the mind and body together and are ready to go. This can be done
by quick short movements of 3-6 seconds. These exercises are
most commonly known as foot fire. Some other versions more specific
to volleyball would be base rotations or lateral hops side to side.
This will prepare the body for the quick movements and reactions
that are need in the sport.
Then the body
can be taken through some movement integration such as jumping to
ensure the correct mechanics are used once they begin the session.
This can then progress into more of a classic practice focusing
on keys areas the team needs to work on. The session should increase
intensity and speed until it has reach full game speed so that players
are ready to compete at maximum capacity right from the start.
This is only a
start, proper planning and execution of each movement through the
warm-up is important to setting the athlete up for success and longevity.
To educate yourself further on exercise selection or movement quality
pick up one of our books or stop by Athletes’ Performance
located in North Phoenix. We have worked with the top champions
in sport such as the #1 ranked AVP players, National and European
soccer clubs, NFL Pro Bowlers, MLB All Stars. The same methodology
and system gets applied to Middle School and High School athletes
which we offer training for.
This band will pull your
knees/ femurs inward. Thus automatically turning your glutes
on as you resist the band pulling your knees out so they are
in line with your toes. Perform this exercise marching with
knees bent in a good base position 10 yards forwards and 10
yards backwards two times along with other glute activation
and femoral control exercises to prevent lower limb pain in
the knees and ankles as well as help increase leg power and
World's Greatest Stretch
This one will get you
the most bang for your buck. As you reach your back leg long
and squeeze the glute it will open up your hip flexor. As
you reach your elbow closest to your front knee down to the
instep of the foot you will stretch that glute. This allows
you to get low as you go for a dig as well as find full hip
extension while jumping. The rotation will help increase thoracic
mobility where a volleyball player should be rotating from
when striking a ball. Increased thoracic (upper) spine mobility
will help to take stress of the lumbar (low) back as well
as the shoulder. Repeat this exercise on each leg 2-5 times.
In a bent over position
with proper spine position lower and lift your arms overhead
until they form a Y. Focus on engaging the shoulder blades
to move the arms. Feel the shoulder blades slide down the
back towards your glutes as they lift the arms overhead. Repeat
this motion for 1 set of 10-15 reps.
High School/ College Prep Manager
Up With… Tara Mueller
is a name etched in Arizona’s Junior Volleyball folklore.
Her two State Rings, her Player of the Year awards, her spot on
the Jr. National Team and finally landing in Lincoln as a member
of the perennial NCAA power house Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Arizona
Region recently caught up with her and got the 411 on Tara getting
ready for her senior year at Nebraska, and life after college.
CTC: Tara, what are your goals and thoughts going
into your Senior year at Nebraska?
TM: Going into my senior year my personal goals
are to get better technically and not take anything for granted
that my coaches have to say because after this year I don’t
think I could find anywhere to go play with better coaches and
a stronger work ethic from everyone. For my team goal, it is without
a doubt to win a national championship. I know that we have all
the parts we need this next year we just need to trust in one
another and put everything together.”
CTC: What makes Nebraska such a perennial powerhouse
year after year?
TM: Playing for Nebraska is truly an honor and
it is incredible to be around so many other athletes that are
so dedicated to their sport just as I am. But what really makes
Nebraska such a dominate school is everything around us as athletes
that give us the opportunity to be better than any other program.
We have a trainer and team doctors that you can go see and do
rehab or strengthening with at any time and we also have very
talented weight trainers and a nutrition team to watch our recovery
and provide vitamins. We are one of the few programs that has
what we call "Training Table" where the athletes can
go eat and all the food is made to help you become a better athlete
and well recovered. There is a salad bar, pasta bar, fruit table,
fresh vegetables and a meat bar. As well as all of this we train
in the summers and off season as well as season. We are very lucky
to have the dedicated staff and coaches around us because they
all help give us the best opportunity we can have to be great.
CTC: You have been an outside hitter, but you
did play libero for a time, didn’t you?
TM: Well I actually only played one game at libero
my freshman year but I was full time libero on the Junior National
Team when we went to Thailand. I absolutely love playing libero.
I love to play defense and try to read the hitters and it’s
good that I’m playing outside hitter now because I still
get to play in the back row. I was so excited when the USA Jr.
coach asked me to be libero because I knew that I would get to
play all the back row I could handle. I wouldn't exactly call
it a "move" going from playing libero in the summer
back to my normal position at outside hitter because defense has
always been a part of my game and what I love to do.
CTC: What do you do during the summer months?
TM: A normal summer, June and July, for us consists
of workouts in the morning 4 days a week where we condition and
lift...then from that we head over to the Coliseum where we coach
8 to sometimes 9 hours of summer camps a day...But we also take
summer classes, so when we have class we just leave for that and
the other person we were coaching with will take over till we
can get back. This summer is different however, because every
four years we take an international trip. We will be going to
China in May where we will train and play some of the Chinese
National teams as well as have fun and sight see. We will be there
for three weeks and then in the beginning of June we will be back
for the normal summer schedule.
CTC: What are your plans after you finish your
career and degree at Nebraska?
TM: After my Husker days I am considering playing
over seas in Puerto Rico for a short term and then I want to pursue
my dream in beach volleyball. Ever since the first time I played
beach volleyball I fell in love with it and I knew that this is
what I want to do as soon as I can after college. To train for
beach I will probably move to California for a while. There could
be a chance that I might come back to Arizona to coach but that
wouldn't be for a while just because of how driven I am toward
to Play for the Podium
Red 16-1’s squad, under the architect James Felton, has
set its sights on Gold.
“Our ultimate goal is to win the Gold Medal in the 16 Open
division at JOs this year.” Felton says without a thought.
“Very few teams or players get the opportunity to stand
on a podium like that and historically, even fewer from Arizona
get that chance so it would be nice to represent our state up
on the podium.”
Arizona has never had a National Champion at 16’s, but history
is no barrier for Felton’s team. They recently won the first
Regional Open tournament and the next week, stunned the field
at the Fiesta Classic winning the 18 Open division.
“The finals of the Fiesta were great because, apparently,
it was the first time two Arizona teams were in the 18 Open Finals.
Both Storm 18s and our Club Red 16s had to beat some great California
teams to get to the finals of the 18s Division I think that says
a lot about the level of play in our state.”
Felton knows for his team to be at that level, he has to play
better, stronger and faster teams. It’s part of the blue
print he sees as necessary to reach their goal.
“As for our team, it was a tremendous experience to play
at a high level against great teams.” He says. “Apparently
it was also the first time a 16s team won the 18 Open at the Fiesta
Classic which is a really nice accomplishment. However, winning
the Gold Medal at J.O.’s would be the culmination of a wonderful
journey. It would be great for this group to stand up on that
podium and get a medal placed around their neck. I've been fortunate
enough to coach two different teams that won Bronze Medals in
the Open Division of JOs and it was a great experience for those
groups. Having said that, this is a really special group of kids
and I can't imagine a better group of people to stand with on
that Gold Medal podium than the girls on this team - so we're
going to work as hard as we can to get there.”
The make up of the team is a group of driven, high level volleyball
talent, but Felton sees a more altruistic side of his team. “I
believe there is a common characteristic about the girls on this
team and that is selflessness.” He says. “They cheer
more and are much happier for the success of their teammates than
“Katarina Schulz and Macey Gardner are two of the quietest
people you'll ever meet, but when they're on the bench they become
the loudest cheerleaders you've ever heard. Bianca Arellano is
a tremendous athlete whose role is to make great hitters look
even better and although she was a starting outside hitter for
State Champion Xavier, she loves making these hitters look good.
Because we have four great outside hitters, our middles get totally
overlooked, but they keep working hard and are quickly becoming
very integral to our team's success. There are just no egos on
our team at all. This group is made up of great kids who happen
to also be very good volleyball players.”
PrepVolleyball.Com has installed the Club Red 16-1’s as
the number 1 16’s team in the country. They will no longer
be able to sneak up on people and the days of going unnoticed
through a tournament pool are gone. “During one of our first
practices of the year we talked about and understood that there
would be a bit of a target on our back for various reasons.”
Felton says smiling. “It's been interesting to see how we've
responded so far and I look forward to seeing how we will respond
in the future. Being ranked #1 in PrepVolleyball and now winning
the Fiesta 18 Open will make that target bigger. The fact that
we've played in some tough matches already this season and kept
our composure is really impressive to me. Even this early in the
year, we are a much stronger team mentally than we were last year.
Playing in qualifiers will present us with a different situation
because those directly affect our long term goal of winning JOs.
However, I look forward to seeing how the girls respond to that
Beach Coaches Clinic
& indoor coaches interested in learning how to be a beach
Cost: $60 per person ($5 discount for current USAV members)
Registration: Coming Soon!
Dates and locations: Coming Soon!
Three-hour Beach Coaching Clinics will be held the day before
select USAV Beach events, to be announced soon. Coaches will learn
the technical and strategic differences between the beach and
indoor disciplines, and how to design a beach practice for different
group sizes. Participants should be prepared to partake in on
Volleyball to Host Spring Tournament
University will be hosting a spring
tournament Saturday, March 20th at PE West on ASU's main campus.
The teams featured include ASU, University of Minnesota and University
of Calgary. Competition will last all day from 9 a.m.to 4 p.m.
Admission is FREE! For more information, visit www.thesundevils.com.
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