With nearly 50,000 views in 48 hours, Kiara the Volley Dog is quickly becoming a YouTube sensation. But how good is her form? Kerri Walsh Jennings and other Olympians grade her performance and offer some tips.
Kerri Walsh Jennings, 5-time Olympian (three gold medals, one bronze)
A | “If this volley dog would square up on her sets and work on her communication, she’d get an A+. She’s quite impressive, though! Solid A from me!”
April Ross, 2-time Olympic medalist (silver, bronze)
B+ | “Kiara could benefit from shifting her weight forward as she sets so that the trajectory goes towards her partner instead of straight up or backwards the majority of the time. However, her aggressiveness, confidence and passion make up for any technical deficiencies in her setting. Plus, she’s a dog!"
Holly McPeak, 3-time Olympian (bronze medal at 2004 Athens Games)
A- | “Love the apex on each set and think this volley dog is amazing. Can be my fourth any day! If I had to be critical, I would say, ‘Push the set a little tighter to the net,’ but I love this dog!”
Stein Metzger, Olympian at 2004 Athens Games, head beach coach at UCLA
B+ | “Top marks for enthusiasm and effort. I would, however, suggest she stay at the net until she sees where the pass will go. She’s taking a ‘false step’ towards the passer before she knows if the human will pass to target or shank the pass.”
Lauren Fendrick, 2016 Rio Olympian, volunteer assistant coach at Stanford
B+ | “For snout setting, I really like to see hips and snout facing the target, which Kiara does in the first couple sets. But that last one really gets away from her. (It’s all right nostril.) Overall, she broadcasts her snout angle early, which makes it very readable. In the future, I’d really like to see her get her paws on some if she can – the human equivalent of a hand set.”