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Covering the Court
The Official Newsletter of the Arizona Region of USA Volleyball

March 2010

In this edition:

Commissioner's Report - Official's Division Report - Grassroots Director Report - Catching Up with Tara Mueller - Training Aspects of a Volleyball Warmup -
Poised to Play for the Podium - Beach Coaches Clinic


From the Commish...

Big Events in Arizona!

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

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Official’s Obsessions…

Greetings Concerned 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.
[Rule 11]

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 @

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.


Peter Meyer
Officials Chair

Arizona Region of USA Volleyball

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Grassroots Director's Report

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 community statewide.

Arizona Region 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 Games.

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 or

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

Arizona Region 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.

Other Upcoming 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: 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 Games!

Thank you to each of you for your support in sharing the joy of volleyball!

Theresa Scobee
Grassroots Director

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Training Aspects to Include in a Volleyball Warm-up

Proper warm 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.

Some important 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 visit, 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.

Mini-Band/Glute Activation

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 efficiency.

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.


Standing Y

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.

Eric Dannenberg
Performance Coach
High School/ College Prep Manager

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Catching Up With… Tara Mueller

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 beach volleyball."

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Poised to Play for the Podium

The Club 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 their own.”

“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 situation."

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USAV Half-Day Beach Coaches Clinic

Level: Beach & indoor coaches interested in learning how to be a beach coach
Age: Adults
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 court drills.


ASU Women's Volleyball to Host Spring Tournament

Arizona State 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 4 p.m. Admission is FREE! For more information, visit

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March 2010
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