Friday, March 24, 2006

Website Updates, Comments & World League

The update process of the news links has been hectic as expected. It is taking about 60 to 120 minutes to search, grab the headline and URL, move the existing front page news to the archive news and then making the new links. I just keep reminding myself that the season ends in 5 or 6 weeks. This brings up a new challenge, how I continue to get younger kids to view the DII, DIII and NAIA school websites once the news dies out. I have been thinking about asking the schools if they wanted to have a little ad with something about their team and school. I guess I will worry about this when I get to the end of the season.

I received my first blog comment this past week. It is good to see other viewers sharing their thoughts and experiences on the topic of men's/boy's volleyball growth. I happen to know the commenter who is both a great volleyball player and a great person. I hope that other blog readers share their thoughts and comments.

I have picked up a secondary mission with www. Middlehitter.com which is related to my main mission of men's/boy's volleyball growth. This new mission is attendance at this summer 2006 World League matches held in the US. The locations selected for the matches will make it hard to get boys attendance based on the hotbeds of junior boys volleyball. The best place for a boost of attendance is from the Midwest to the Minneapolis matches on July 29th and 30th. It would be great if a bus load or two from Milwaukee, Chicago and perhaps St. Louis could travel to Minneapolis during the World League weekend. I am going to approach some of the junior club coaches to see if they are interested in organizing such a trip. An alternative approach is to ask my contacts with Summit and TPC (USAV Adult Open teams) if they are interested in sponsoring the trips. They could probably use it as a fund raising activity by adding a $20 charge to the cost of the trip. This cost would cover their time for getting the bus, hotel, etc... organized and the money could go towards their Nationals trip expenses.

Another idea tied to the World League in Minneapolis, is to have the local USAV region setup an open gym on Sunday. The matches are on Saturday and Sunday evening. It would be great to get the out-of-town crowd out of the hotels (and the Mall of America) to a gym for some vb.

Well, I am signing off for today. I am attending the Loyola versus Ball State match tonight and should provide my match report later this week.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Decline in Men's VB?

I just provided my opinion on the subject in a VT post. I am going to post it here before it gets knocked off the page with other threads:

It would be nice to see some fans who prefer to give back or participate in growing the sport for men versus JUST sharing their opinions. I am sure there are many VTers that do coach, ref or volunteer but I sure hope the most outspoken members aren't showing their attitude to today's youth. If someone feels that mens VB is falling apart, will only shrink, etc... then it obvious they are not helping out with todays vb youth. If they would, then they would see the passion, especially in the younger kids (16 and under).

The younger kids just cannot get enough volleyball. They cant sit still between matches, they will end up playing some game on an empty court or in a corner somewhere (probably hitting people trying to watch the current matches). They love to watch the older kids play. I remember taking a 14's team to go to the gym where the 18's were playing in the same tournament. They loved the power they saw and would be amazed when someone would dig a blast inside the 10' line. They loved to watch Sean Rooney during warm ups because he would almost always bounce the ball into the upper balcony where they were sitting.

Unfortunately, as they become juniors and especially seniors, reality starts setting in for most of them. They aren't getting the letters or emails from one of the 21 DI schools like a small number of the taller/higher vertical reach players. Their attitude changes and a few drop out. One thing that keeps them interested is the fact that club season will provide them a better chance to be their high school star or at least get decent playing time. There are less than 400 DI spots on rosters and less than 100 scholarships. They love the game but realize they aren't going to play at what they think is the next level.

Sadder is the fact that there are 50+ other schools that have varsity volleyball programs and many of the kids don't know very much if anything about those programs. The schools don't have the budget to recruit. Just think if more of these players got into varsity programs improving their teams overall playing level. They may not be ready for MSPF but their caliber of play would certainly rise. Just think of the kids behind the blue curtain or sitting on the bench of the DI schools. What if they saw other schools as an opportunity to start right away and start the building of a program? The talent off the DI bench would improve mens volleyball if they were at other schools. Once again, they may not be ready for MSPF but if enough of them moved over, they would start to be competitive, the programs would get more notoriety and hopefully draw new talent every year.

Sorry, time to get off the soap box. But if you want to complain about the "sorry" state of mens vb, then get off your duff and volunteer in some manner in actively supporting boys volleyball. You might actually see a brighter future!