We made our final visit to a Bishop’s practice right before the team began California state playoffs. The Knights went on to win two matches at the state level to advance to the semifinals, where they lost a heartbreaker to league rival Francis Parker. The semifinal match couldn’t have been closer. In fact, for a couple of seconds in the fifth game, it appeared that Bishop’s had won, but the ref whistled them for a net after a kill on match point. That gave Parker new life and they pulled it out, 18-16.
“It was as tough a loss as I’ve ever had,” Bishop’s coach Tod Mattox says.
It was doubly tough when you consider that Bishop’s would likely have gone on to win the state championship. Parker beat its opponent, Ross Branson, in four games in the state championship match, and Mattox says that he thinks Bishop’s actually matches up better with that team than Parker did.
Despite a disappointing final game, the season was anything but disappointing for the Knights, who finished with a perfect 9-0 record in the Coastal Volleyball League – including 2 wins over Parker – and a 32-7 overall mark.
In the practice you’ll see here, Bishop’s focuses mostly on fundamentals before finishing with a spirited session of Kamikaze, the Knights’ favorite scrimmage game.
Nets raised to men’s height
One teaching point: Elbows high when hitting a roll shot so the trajectory of the ball is loopy and over the block rather than flat.
Hips, shoulder and platform facing target on digs
Players often end up with their hips and shoulders facing sideways after taking their jab step. This leaves them with a flat platform, and that makes it more likely that the dig will be way off the net and not in a spot that allows the team to run its offense.
The drill you’ll see here consists of 3 players – 2 diggers and a setter. The coach rips the ball at the diggers and the setter sets to the pin.
Fight to be on 2 feet in serve-receive
Blocking in front of a rope
Another point he makes to one of his players is the importance of waiting a little longer before jumping to make a blocking move. This makes it more difficult for attackers to see the block.
Bump-setting and attacking out-of-system balls
As you can see in the video, the blockers on the other side of the net are working on what you saw in the previous video: good hand-positioning inside the yellow rope.
Kamikaze with 2 points for middle-of-the-court kills
The rules change slightly depending on what Mattox wants the team to work on. For this practice, only cross-court kills were counted and players got 2 points for kills that landed in the middle of the court.
The team that wins the point stays on. The team that loses is replaced by another team of 4 players. Mattox will send the new team off if they don’t shout their score as they run onto the court.
Coming soon: Our final journal entry, which will include a review of the Bishop’s season from Mattox.