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Club News Story

16 U High Performance team selected to train with National Coach GLENN HOAG!

2007 / 03 / 06

The Ottawa Maverick High Performance 16U boy?s team was selected for the 2007 Mizuno Skills Clinic hosted at McMaster University during the CIS men?s national volleyball championship. The clinic, jointly sponsored by Volleyball Canada and Mizuno Canada provided a truly unique opportunity: a two hour intensive volleyball practice with the Canadian Men?s National Team head coach, Glenn Hoag.

The road to Hamilton for the clinic was in itself an adventure and a challenge as the five vehicles heading down from Ottawa were stuck in a traffic jam during a blizzard in Southern Ontario. With a four hour travel time between Toronto and Hamilton all of the players were ready and raring to get going with the clinic! The players spent the extra time on the road preparing questions for their pre-clinic meeting with Glenn Hoag. Because of the storm, the campus was empty and most facilities closed, so the Mavericks had the entire David Bradley Sports Complex to themselves for an intense evening of volleyball.

The team got the royal treatment as they were greeted by Coach Hoag and Mizuno representatives Arnold Tse, marketing manager, Jordan Smith, territory manager and Brian Mills, Eastern Canada sales representative. The boys received a special Mizuno duffle bag filled with some of the best Mizuno products. Following this warm reception to snowbound Hamilton, the boys spent over an hour in a t?te-?-t?te with the National Team Coach. Glenn shared highlights from his career in volleyball commencing with his time on the national team to his nine years as a professional player and finally through his fourteen years as a coach. The boys had numerous questions that were thoroughly explored and discussed with Glenn. The discussion provided invaluable insights into all facets of volleyball as a sport, a discipline and ultimately, as a way of life.

Glenn conveyed a lot of wisdom about one of the most complex and popular sports in the world. Volleyball is a sport at which most athletes reach maturity around the age of 26. Dedication and patience is required to master the technically complex fundamentals and the tactical aspects of the sport but only team play can lead to success in volleyball. Glenn also reiterated that intensity, focus and repetition is needed during every practice. Young athletes need to master concentration techniques to get into the ?zone? in order to learn and apply new skills in game situations. Glenn also emphasized that process is more important than the results. He expounded on this point so the boys understood that to be successful, you don?t focus on winning. You need to focus upon all of the aspects of the game that, when executed with great skill will combine to create a winning team.

The team then moved to the gym in the brand new David Bradley Sports Complex for the skills clinic. The Maverick players moved silently through the empty corridors of the sports complex led by the National Team head coach. Each player seemed to be mulling over Glenn?s insights and undoubtedly, each and every one of them was dreaming of following the National Team Coach one day as a member of the National Team! By the time the team approached the gym all of them were wearing their "game faces".

At the beginning of the practice, coach Hoag introduced the boys to his assistant coach for the evening: Dustin Reid, himself a former member of the men?s national team, now the Technical Director of the Ontario Volleyball Association. Jitters were worked out during the static and dynamic warm-up exercises. From the very start, the drills emphasized the importance of teamwork and reinforced many of the principles that Glenn had spoke of before the practice. Glenn?s sense of humour was quickly evident and as the athletes broke into a sweat, they were already putty in his capable hands.

Practice drills focused on correct movement and positioning, concentration and court sense. Very quickly, simple skills drills rolled forward into complex, multi-skill team building exercises. The boys worked hard and Glenn pointed out that many of the drills were a mainstay of the National Team practices. As soon as a drill was mastered, the boys moved to execute at game speed. The coaches would intervene to reiterate proper technique and deliver very specific advice. The boys adapted quickly to Glenn?s coaching style and applied the new knowledge almost immediately, much to Glenn?s great amazement!

At the close of the practice session, Mizuno hosted a pizza party with more than enough pizza for all of these ravenous teenagers. Glenn then put on the Brazil-Poland gold medal match from the World Championships in Tokyo. He provided play-by-play commentary and coaching insights as he walked an enthralled bunch of volleyball players through the Brazil and Poland game plans. The insights provided were invaluable! These young players were getting a lesson in volleyball from an ex-Olympian and now National Team Head Coach.

As the boys were escorted from the building by the university staff, the excitement and energy was remarkable. The Mizuno skills clinic was a resounding success! These young volleyball players were put through their paces by an exceptional international-level coach. The near term impact of this clinic will resonate through the Maverick?s local community when the boys return to coach their house league teams, participate in their school volleyball programs and continue to compete within the Maverick?s Long Term Athlete Development program.

Having the opportunity to be trained by a visionary coach who is passionate about developing all-around athletes is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

“ We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. ”
– Aristotle