Nikki Van Cleave and Dan Reilly Join EliteVBTC Full-time

We are excited to announce Nikki Van Cleave as our new Recruiting Coordinator for Elite Volleyball Training Center. In addition to her recruiting responsibilities, Nikki will be teaming up with Jackie Cline to enhance our Setter Training, coaching clinics and lessons, and stepping into the role of Heach Coach for the 17 Blue team.

Prior to joining EliteVBTC, Nikki was the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at The Ohio State University Women’s Volleyball program. The Buckeyes advanced to the NCAA Tournament and Sweet Sixteen in both her years with the program. She coached three All-Americans and four All-Big Ten players. She was named an AVCA Thirty Under Thirty Award Recipient in 2017. While at Ohio State she recruited the #16 and #13 ranked recruiting class according to www.prepvolleyball.com.

Van Cleave also has coaching experience as the assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She assisted the program to the Horizon League regular season championship, tournament championship, and NCAA appearance in 2013.

As a player for Marquette University, Nikki was named two-time All-Big East setter, and honorable mention All-American in 2010 following a 12.10 assists per set average which ranked fourth nationally.

Following her collegiate career, Van Cleave competed overseas in Germany for a season following her senior campaign.

Her addition to Elite Volleyball Training Center will streamline the recruiting process for the athletes and their families. She has extensive knowledge in the field of recruiting, not to mention her long list of contacts in the collegiate volleyball world. All recruiting fees are included in your club tuitions. Please reach out to Nikki at nikki@integritygym.com to set up anything from a meeting about the recruiting process to a mock phone call with a head coach.

 

 

Dan Reilly has been working with Elite Volleyball Training Center for the past few months as a part-time coach. We are excited to announce he will continue with Elite as a key staff member in club training and lesson training. He has been named head coach to the 16 Blue team at EliteVBTC.

Reilly is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He recently finished working with The Ohio State Women’s Volleyball program as a video coordinator. At Ohio State, Reilly helped with scouting of opponents and used video to provide technical and strategic feedback to coaches.

Prior to his time at Ohio State, Dan lived in Charleston, West Virginia, assisting with the Men’s and Women’s Volleyball teams at the University of Charleston, and in Wilmington, North Carolina coaching club volleyball.

At the University of Charleston, Reilly assisted in aspects of the offense and blocking schemes, helping lead the Women’s Volleyball team to a 42-29 overall record and second place in the Mountain East Conference both years. During these seasons, Reilly was an integral part of coaching three First Team All-MEC Players, as well as helping drive the team to two AVCA Team Academic Awards.

Reilly also coached the University of Charleston Men’s Volleyball team in the spring of 2018, Dan helped lead the Men’s team to a 16-10 overall record, with a 5-9 record in the EIVA, both program records. During his time with the men’s team, Dan was tasked with analyzing video and preparing scouting reports, as well as assisting with offensive and defensive schemes for the Golden Eagles.

Reilly attended Penn State Altoona for four years where he played Division III Men’s Volleyball for the Lions.  A switch of majors added a 5th year at Penn State Main Campus in University Park, PA. During his final semester, Dan worked with the Penn State Men’s Volleyball team as an assistant manager, and finished with a degree in Kinesiology.

Reilly’s educational background includes a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology from Penn State and a Master’s Degree in Strategic Leadership from the University of Charleston in 2017. He currently resides in Columbus, Ohio.

 

Are You Starting?

Picture this…the volleyball team is huddled before the start of the set. The coach comes into the huddle and says, “Here’s the line-up…” As she reads off the names of the athletes starting the set, the huddle is filled with silent fist pumps from the starters, and groans of disappointment from the non-starters. What if I told you that there is… NO… starting line-up in volleyball.

ESPN sports analysts and parents who love basketball have tainted the mindset of our youth volleyball players. In basketball the best players are always the first five to be on the court. This is not the case in volleyball. There are many outside factors that a coach needs to consider when deciding the starting line-up. The good thing is they have several tricks up their sleeves when it comes to who plays where on the court.

Things to consider:

  • Did we win serve or receive on the coin toss?
    • Younger teams typically what to win the serve, in the coin toss, so their best most consistent server can serve first. With serving being a strength and passing being a weakness, a coach for a younger team is hoping to get a run of points early in the game so the other team cannot catch up. Older more advanced teams typically want to choose the chance to receive the ball first. In rally scoring the receiving team is more likely to score than the serving team. This gives your team the best chance to score the first point. Then the coach may have his best server in right front so that she can rotate back and serve first.
  • Who is the other team’s best hitter, best blocker, and weakest blocker?
    • Coaches want to match up their best blocker with the other team’s best hitter. They are also trying to match up their strongest hitter against the other team’s smallest blocker. Usually this requires a coach to watch previous matches or game film on a team to see what the tendencies are of the other coach’s starting line-up.
  • Coaches must spread out their strongest players.
    • See the image below for a better reference. Typically, a coach wants to have his best setter sandwiched between the best outside hitter and the best middle hitter. In the diagram below you can see that the setter is starting right back, the O1 (strongest outside hitter) is in the right front, and M1 (strongest middle hitter) is in middle back. The opposite, or OPP, is usually a very strong hitter also.
    • So, if your best middle is starting middle back and the libero typically comes in for the middles in the backrow, that means the best middle is on the bench at the beginning of the set.

  • Who do the setters connect with the best, and who is the best passer?
    • A two-setter offense, such as a 6-2 or 4-2, may mean that one setter connects with a certain middle better than the other. The coach may set up the line-up to allow that setter and middle to be in the front row together more often. This throws out the strategy listed above of a M1, or O1.
    • A coach never wants to get stuck with multiple weak passers passing against a strong server. A coach may rotate the players, in the starting line-up, to avoid a situation where the weakest passer is passing against the best jump server in the gym.
  • Which line-up won the last set?
    • Sometimes you can have your worst players on the floor, but for some reason they are winning. Volleyball is a momentum-based sport. The athletes on the floor may be carrying the team because they are pumped up, supporting one another, and creating a positive playing environment. A coach probably won’t change the line-up for the next set because the current line-up is winning. Usually the statistically analysis of the game will show who the best players are, but stats cannot show you who carries the team’s momentum.

As you can see, there are many factors that help a coach determine who plays when and where. Make sure you son or daughter knows that groans of disappointment are not appropriate when the coach reads the starting line-up for a set. Each athlete should move into their current role and give 100%. If he or she is on the bench, that bench better be the loudest most supportive bench. If her teammate stuff blocks the other team’s best hitter, she should be jumping up and down in excitement for her teammate. The moral of the story is… don’t waste your energy trying to know what is going on in the coach’s brain. Roll with his or her strategy and win every time you touch the ball.