by Taylor Bata
After laying dormant for a year (save for the occasional game or tournament), Boys’ Volleyball is back and the sound of court shoes scuffing on the floor of the Annex Building’s Gym is heard once more.
With almost a whole month of tri-weekly practices under their belts, the boys are getting ready for the upcoming Invitational Tournament in Vienna. This friendly competition will be an introduction to many teams the Warriors will be facing off against in official CEESA Tournaments.
To prepare for the grueling hours of high school-level volleyball matches, the boys have a fitness regimen that is followed at every practice. According to Coach Neiman,”Conditioning practice is centered around mine and Mr. Ptaks’s favorite mash up called Tabata. I’m sure you have heard of this. In all fairness we really try to build stamina and vertical jumping ability during conditioning stints.”
Filip of the JV team agrees. “We do so much Tabata I feel like my legs have grown a ton since the end of summer,” he said.
While it might not seem too strenuous on paper, this workout engages nearly all the muscle groups and will prove essential on the court.
This rigorous exercise will prove valuable to the boys on court, no matter how physically exhausting it is in the gym. Speaking of on court, new rotations are being tried out this year for game play. According to Coach Neiman, “Traditionally we played a 5-1 system. This year we are switching to a 6-2. The difference between the two is allowing in some rotations 3 hitters instead of 2.”
There is a noticeable absence on court of the seniors who left last year, no longer eligible to represent Warrior’s Volleyball. While it may have been hard for the team to get used to at first, 10th grader Gugu M commented that, “I am sad the the seniors have left, they were very powerful on court, but I am excited for new opportunities this year.”
In addition to that one of the coaches added on, “Well, in sports there is a phase all teams go through called a rebuild. We can say this is the case for the volleyball program, with only a few seniors on the team. However dealing with experience we do have a seasoned group from grade 10 which placed 3rd in JV last year and as well a great group of freshmen who took gold in Moscow in grade 8. So on the experience side we are actually ok.”
The matter of a team captain is yet to be decided, since it is still relatively early in the season. Coach Nieman says, “We are still looking for a few to step up and let their natural leadership abilities shine!” Throughout practice, players are encouraged to step up and take leadership positions, whether it be leading warmup or cool down.
Tomorrow, the boys board a train to Vienna. While they may be physically ready, are they also mentally prepared? The answer may not be what you would traditionally think. “Yoga and mindfulness,” Coach Neiman answered. ”Mental training is just as important as the conditioning and skill development. You need to have your head on your shoulders for the other two to be successful.”