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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Room 119 a gateway to education

    Enter Room 119 in the southwest corner of McKale Center and you’ll find that the locker room for the Arizona volleyball team is not just a changing station; it’s a multimedia getaway.

    Just inside the locker room on the left-hand side are red and blue leather couches facing a giant flat screen TV in the corner. With its comfortable living room feel, it would make for a great place to kick back and watch a DVD or “”SportsCenter.””

    Walk straight ahead from the entrance past the living room and you’ll find a square room where wooden lockers line the left and right walls.

    This room with the lockers – 12 feet by 12 feet, at best – is the important one. Not so much for the lockers, or for changing, but for observing, learning and improving volleyball skills.

    After practice Wednesday, the members of the team – many of them with ice wrapped to their knees, shoulders and feet – sat in front of their lockers and faced the wall opposite the washroom. Three players lay on their backs on the floor. Assistant coach Allison Napier sat on a chair in the entry of the bathroom for lack of space. Everyone looked up at a large screen on the wall.

    UA head coach Dave Rubio sat in a folding chair at a round table in the middle of the room. His laptop sat on the table and played clips of the match at No. 8 Washington on Oct. 5 when the Wildcats were crushed in three games. A projector that hung from the ceiling mimicked on the screen what Rubio had on his computer.

    In 30 minutes, Rubio showed an 84-minute match using a program that cuts out the dead time.

    He narrated the film, telling what he liked and didn’t like about certain plays and players’ moves.

    He used a lot of “”I feel”” statements.

    “”You could have timed that swing a little bit better,”” or “”I feel you could have positioned your feet better to get a better angle to the ball,”” or “”I think you could have set that ball better.””

    He threw in some volleyball tongue about rotations and referred to opposing players in a numerical fashion.

    The team watches its own film and opponents’ at least once a week. Players also come in to watch film of themselves on their own time.

    “”You do things in a game that you don’t realize you do until you see them in a film,”” said setter Paige Weber. “”Dave explains it in practice and he tries to set up these situations, but you don’t always recognize it when you’re playing.””

    About 15 minutes into the silent film, Rubio showed a play where the focus is on the left side of the court. Then he replayed it – this time in slow motion – and told his players to watch the right side.

    In the film, opposite hitter Randy Goodenough and Weber collide with each other and fall to the hardwood. The room erupted with laughter from the players.

    “”When you see something (on film), you can recognize it on the court in relation to other people,”” Weber said. “”It really makes sense after you watch it.””

    Not all of Rubio’s narration is negative. He also points out things that he likes from the players – smooth setting, deep digging and tenacious attacking.

    “”Critiquing is – if it’s approached the right way – done in a positive way,”” Rubio said, “”even when you give them feedback about things that could be changed.””

    When the session ends, players started ripping bags of ice off their bodies. Some headed down to the trainers’ room to get special physical treatment. Others went home. It’s all part of the routine. They all knew that in just a couple of days they’d be watching film again – this time of Friday’s 3-0 loss to ASU.

    If only, somehow, film sessions could be arranged in that comfy living room.

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