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August 17, 2010
By Mallory Woolridge

Today marks the beginning of our second week of preseason. Wow! I can’t believe that I have already made it through my first preseason of college volleyball. Although it doesn’t seem like it while you are in the midst of a double day, time really does fly by. We are already in the home stretch of preseason with our Orange and Blue scrimmage only several days away and I honestly can’t believe that we only have one week left.

Practice this morning was the normal defense session. Coach Maes doesn’t require us to jump in the first session so that we can save our legs for the second practice. This is greatly appreciated! This morning, we worked on serve and pass, defensive stations, blocking footwork, blocking different shots with hand placement and a form of controlled pepper over the net. The fundamental work that we perform in these sessions is most beneficial. Personally, it helps me gain the necessary muscle memory and technique with my blocking and defense in order to become a better volleyball player.

Immediately following practice, the team rushes to the locker room to shower, hurries to the training room for ice and then finds food in the most efficient way possible. Today we had Jimmy Johns for lunch. We all devoured our delicious sandwiches while a representative from ITC enlightened us with his knowledge on Internet security. He explained to us how to be safe with our Internet use so that people on the web do not encounter too much personal information about us. I thought it was funny when he told us to grab all of the sun chips we wanted before he began presenting because the bag crinkling would be a great distraction.

After lunch we all went our separate ways to rest up before the second practice. My fellow first years and I went back to the Residence Inn and got in about an hour of much needed sleep.

The afternoon practice today started off with conditioning stations. We conditioned today because we do not have practice on Wednesday (first years move into dorms) and we needed to put the extra work in. Although it is not easy, it is extremely beneficial and will pay off in the end. After we conditioned, we stretched and did our band work for our shoulders. We got in some more good passing technique work with our partners, as well as some arm swing and scoop to frame work. The last hour of practice was working on two different blocking schemes; one in which we had to defend a right-side combo and the other was a left-side tandem. I got in some good work with the setters on timing as well as keeping my distance from the net. We competed during this drill and recorded our wins and losses. I like doing this because it really gets the team to work hard and compete. I feel as though I improved a lot during this practice because I got to work on my blocking footwork and arm placement in a real game setting, as well as my offense.

The team is definitely working hard every practice to ensure that we all contribute to the success of our team. We are all encouraging and helpful to our teammates. I always feel welcome and like people have my back, which are two very important things to me. Everything is coming together and we are making great plays and adjustments to the changes we have made. Although we know we are doing well, hard work is something that can never leave us and we can and will never become complacent! With that, we will have a great season this year.

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