The Maroon

Volleyball team plays game of 22

22 point drills simulate tense games

By CRAIG MALVEAUX

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It’s rather difficult to create a hostile pressure-intensive, game-like atmosphere in an empty gym during practice.

What’s even harder is reproducing sudden-death situations akin to those previously seen against Millsaps College, Trinity University and University of West Alabama where any mistakes down the stretch could be the difference between a win and a loss.

But that doesn’t stop Tommy Harold from trying. His attempt: the 22-point game.

“It’s regular six-on-six volleyball scrimmage where we try to simulate the end of a game, closing in and out,” said Harold, head volleyball coach.

The drill pits two teams of six players on the court in a normal volleyball scrimmage between each other with a small twist — the score is tied at 22 and the first team to 23 wins.

The two teams volley back and forth until a team either makes a kill or commits a fault, which ultimately ends the game.

“In crunch time you have to be able to reform, get those skills in place, kill the ball and minimize errors,” Harold said. “It’s very important at the end when you’re trying to close out a game.”

In three down-to-the-wire matches decided by four points or less early this season, the Wolfpack is 1-2. Harold said the 22-point game drill prepares the Wolfpack for anything they may encounter in upcoming games.

“It’s part of the bigger picture, something that really helps us,” Harold said. “That by itself isn’t everything. You still need to have all the other pieces in place, but when you put yourself in those situations and you’re playing with a sense of urgency, hopefully that transfers into game time when we are in 22 to 22 point games.”

The players are very receptive to the drill. Gina Gill, psychology senior, said it helps her focus in tight games and eases the amount of pressure because of the intensity during practice.

“Coach Tommy teaches us the fundamentals, and the 22 point drills are just like game situations, so late in the game it’s just about finding a hole (in the defense) and getting it done,” she said.

Tommy said being able to execute down the stretch is mental.

“The way to combat the pressure of the situation is by having confidence in what you’re doing,” he said. “Confidence comes from repetition, being well-prepared and having done it before. The mind is everything for the athlete. The body is just the tool. Be in control of your thoughts and keep your emotions in check.”

Craig Malveaux can be reached at [email protected] 

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Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola
Volleyball team plays game of 22