If You're Walking, You're Wrong!
At Pipeline-NU Breed, the culture where we teach the skills of volleyball is critical.
At NU Breed, we coach athletes and teach the game of volleyball. Every athlete learns how to perform the basics of the six skills in the sport. They may have a primary role, but they must know how to confidently do all skills because they may need to perform a game skill.
For example, a setter needs to know how to pass. An opponent may challenge a team to use another player to set and play out of the system. Now the setter becomes a hitter, and another player must set the ball to keep the offense in a position to score.
The more proficient an athlete is, the more opportunity they have to increase their playtime on the court. They will also enjoy the game more because they don't face those moments of lack of confidence.
Here are the necessary skills we teach our athletes.
Serving: The first action of every point and the only ball you control entirely. Learning to serve consistently gives you the ability to score points. There are many different ways of serving, but the most common is the standing float serve.
Serve-Receive: The act of playing a serve with consistency. Usually in the form of a forearm pass, but an overhead pass gets the job done too. A good pass is a team's best offense. Good ball control is essential to increase your attack options.
Setting: A overhead pass with the specific purpose of "setting up" an attacker on your team. We teach the skill using keywords like set the ball moving forward, receiving the ball with a left-right step pattern. Go from triangle to a "W" hand position.
Hitting/Spiking: The act of aggressively hitting the ball with an overhead attack while jumping as high as you can. Every team is different, but we prefer to run a quick tempo offense to force the defenders to make as many decisions in a short time. A quick offense puts pressure on the defending team. The more pressure they feel, the more mistakes they make. We never want to interrupt an opponent while they are making mistakes.
Block: The first line of defense. Used to try to stop the ball from entering your court but should also funnel the attack to a smaller court area, making it easier for your defenders. An excellent blocker doesn't mean they stop the ball at the net but force the attacking team to attack our stronger defenders.
Defense: This skill is like Serve-Receive in its execution. C.P.C.P. is a familiar term in volleyball, which means if you can't pass, you cant play. Playing defense is more challenging than receiving a serve because the attacker is much closer. After all, the reaction time is significantly less. You must play a fast-moving ball at less than 20 feet, rather than 40–50 feet from the service line.
Also, defenders must be skilled in reading both the attacker and their own blockers to position themselves in the best place possible to get the dig. That in itself is a skill that we teach athletes.
A good offense wins applauses, but a good defense wins championships. At NU Breed, we focus on relentless defense. Our first rule of the gym is never to let the ball hit the ground.
We have three traditions at NU Breed: Be at practice. Be on time. Be productive.
Our practices are fast-paced to increase the repetition of each skill. The more time you do a skill, the better you will become. Zig Ziglar said, "Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment."
Our conditioning is our practice. We run into the gym from the front door. Jogging into the gym prepares athletes to mentally engage that that training starts the second you step into the gym. The Way of NU Breed teaches, "If you're walking, you're wrong!"
They jog into the gym and place their team backpacks with the court's logo facing the court as a reminder that they play for NU Breed, and it means something. They are a part of something bigger than themselves; a team.
They place their water bottles on the left side of their bags, and their inhaler (if they have one) that must be on the same side.
A college coach visited our practice to recruit one of our athletes and noticed the bags' placement. He asked me about that, and I said, "If we can't place our bags in order when there is no pressure, how can we play on the court together with pressure?"
At Pipeline-NU Breed, everything we do matters. Everyone is important.