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Status of UD Volleyball
Status of UD Volleyball
Published by UDBrian
Post Status of UD Volleyball

This is the off season for UD volleyball but that doesn't mean the players and staff are taking it easy. I asked some questions to Tim and his staff about last season and what they are working on. I couldn't resist the urge to ask a question or two on passing, lol. If you haven't read my posts in the past you don't understand my obsession with passing.

Many thanks for the interesting answers!

I was very very impressed with the improvement made from the beginning of last season to the end. What drove this tremendous improvement?


1) We were pretty consistent with our tempo offensively from the git go and spent much of the Spring working in this system. This was a bit tough as you can imagine with no setter for that time. I think we continued to improve because Jane and our hitters continued to understand what we were trying to do within that system and they became more comfortable playing within it. I thought overall our passing was solid but we still think there are great improvements that need can be made with more technical work and reps.

2) We really weren't very good early in the season but to a credit to our kids- they continued to work at what were trying to do and really embraced the style and system we were implementing. We became a pretty good offensive team by the end of the year and specifically when in system. Our out of system play improved but wasn't where want it to be and will be a focus this Spring as well. Our middles had a great year and we forced Jane to make they part of our system even when many teams would be out of system. I thought we peaked mid way through the season with our serving and became a bit too safe later in the season overall. Blocking and floor defense was average at best and will be another focus this Spring. I really liked how our team blended and I think we played hard and became much less error prone as the season progressed which allowed us to win some matches that could have gone either way.

3) Hitting the ball is a result of arm speed, some people have it and some people don't. That's not to say that whatever you have can't be improved and it will as you spend more time working on the mechanics of your swing to getting stronger physically. We are working with all of our hitters on spacing, arm swing mechanics as well as the chain of what your body should do in a great throwing motion. Of course what Mark Thobe does with them in strengthening shoulders, core etc. will be a big part of the improvement they will make and of course the prehab of keeping them healthy. By the way, I think Mark has become one of the best strength trainers that I've seen and been around and was someone that I was really excited about coming back to work with because of the results he gets out of his athletes.


"We had players within our program that had been with us for a year and a half. They knew our system, knew our expectations, they were able to lead, mentor, and teach. That made the transition for the freshman easier. Because those upperclassmen had a strong base in what we were teaching, we were able to go into more depth and get more creative with what we were teaching"
The Flyers lost several key performers from last season. But, they return players with experience and have a great recruiting class coming in.


We're really excited about the additions that we've made for the next two seasons and how will they reinforce the great group we already have here. I obviously like long athletes with big upside. In recent years I probably erred overlooking great character student-athletes for great athletes. We made it a priority to find great athletes, volleyball players but they had to posses the qualities that we would enjoy coaching and what this program has always been about including hard work and great attitude. As a group we think we have a great mix of players but the intangibles are consistent
and I believe we have some special players and people in these two classes.

What do the Flyers need to improve on to maximize their potential and improve upon last year?


Be even more efficient and terminal offensively, Blocking and floor defense has to improve at all positions for us to improve and be more consistent. Work to having one of the best serve and pass teams in the country.

During the off season the players work hard even if they aren't on the volleyball court.


Mark does a great job of cycling them though various phases of lifting and conditioning to get them ready for a long season. We obviously want the strongest most explosive athlete we can but also a player that can endure and stay healthy. Mark works in Olympic lifting and does a great job of balancing power and explosiveness. Mark is as important as any coach on our staff in what will happen for us this Spring and Summer and has been a staple during the last 12 years of numerous championships. That's no accident... what he does is paramount to our success and he's one of the best!
I asked the staff about the importance of passing and what it takes to become a great passer. How does a coach help someone become a great passer?
Evan: "We believe that passing is a very visual skill. There is so much that goes into picking up the serve, and we correlate it similar to a batter in baseball. There are batters that hit fastballs and those that struggle to hit them. Batters that hit breaking pitches well, and those that need time and reps of seeing the ball out of the hand and anticipating where the ball will be by the time it is at the plate. The same can be said about passing. How quickly you can pick up the spin and speed of the ball off the servers hand, to put their platform in the best position possible to get off a good pass. This is for us, the part that takes the longest. From there, it is going through and getting a ton of reps to get the ball to target with the platform, and we have 7-10 drills that we do consistently to train that aspect of passing".

The offense run by the Flyers is much faster than when Tim was at UD initially. Why are they running a faster offense? Most offenses used to set the ball high giving hitters and blockers a long time to get into position. Now, many offenses are running shorter/faster sets to the hitters.


It is a combination of things. Our game is constantly evolving. At the highest level (international, olympic, etc.), both men's and women's systems are getting faster and faster. That being said, you need to be able to mold your system to the personnel on your roster. The overall theme of our offense is "Can we go faster". The faster we can go, the more teams are going to have to start guessing to catch up and leaving 1 blocker for 2 hitters, which when in system, usually results in a 1 on 1. As as staff, we preach that it is easier to get a kill 1 on 1 than getting a kill vs a double block, which turns back to the conversation of "how fast can we go".
Spring matches will be here soon. Returning players will want to play well to make a statement before talented freshman show up in the fall. This should be fun to watch, the future is very bright for UD vball.

UD will be playing Michigan at home on April 2, time is not set yet.

Go Flyers 
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By BeckysTXA on 02-14-2016, 02:00 PM
Great job Brian. Always enjoy what you write. It's so much more fun as a fan to have access to what the coaches are doing, working on and commenting on the team's work. Thanks!
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