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Volleyblog - April 28

April 29, 2010 - Brian Ferry

The end times (note the lower-case) and Mickey-Minnie tournaments

It's a sad time of year for me. Indoor volleyball season is coming to a close. For some reason it's hard to find a game indoors during the summer. The open gyms at Randolph (usually Gail Chapman Elementary, but sometimes Randolph Central High) are losing attendance and will soon end for the summer. I'm not sure the open gyms (with a usage fee) at Calvary Chapel are still going on. When I drove by on Tuesday there were no cars in the lot. Both are held on Tuesday evenings. I've never been to Calvary, but I hear they generally get lots of people. Since I've never been there, I really can't evaluate the level of play, but I understand some of the better players in the Warren Y League go there. In Randolph it's hit and miss. Sometimes there are more than 20 people for one court. This week there were seven. The level is pretty good. Both places are co-ed. Volleyball is a life sport and an excellent way to meet people. I met my wife at a tournament. Warren County isn't exactly a hotbed of volleyball activity, but there are opportunities. All of the county's coaches are active players and can probably help interested folks find places to play. Other than Calvary I can't think of any open gyms or other good ways to learn. The Y offers recreational and "power" leagues. There have been tournaments in the county, but that's another hit and miss. Unlike tournaments in Meadville in the 80s and Titusville in the 90s, there's a serious shortage of teams looking to play these days. Even tournaments to be held in Erie are cancelled regularly. One positive (in my mind) change in regional tournament volleyball over the years has been the shift from the traditional four-men, two-women coed format to Mickey-Minnie format. In Mickey-Minnies, teams are made up of three men and three women. The typical rotation rules are thrown out the window. Front-to-back overlap can still be called and the serve rotates among the three players in the back row. Teams play two-game matches. One game is played on a men's net (7'11 5/8) and one on a women's net (7'4 1/4). Those net heights are based on international rules that use metric. The old 8' men's net height is close enough, but the 7'6" women's net is significantly off. In games on the men's net, the men play in the front row and the women play in the back. Only the women serve. Only the men attack and block. The roles are reversed on the women's net - men serve, women attack and block. Back-row attacking and (usually) jump serving are not allowed. It's a good format. There are several good points about the format. One is that it's usually easier, around here, to find female players than male. Another is that women get to hit on their net and men on theirs. Similarly, the men are being blocked by men and the women by women. I've played in traditional coed tournaments and seen teams that basically hid their women in corners. That doesn't work in a Mickey-Minnie. Another popular format (not as popular here, but a significant portion of volleyball in western New York) is reverse co-ed. These are played on a women's net with teams of three men and three women. Rotation and service order rules apply as usual. No jump serving (usually). Only the women may block and hit at the net. Back-row women may jump from behind the attack line (the 10-foot line) to hit. Men, front row or back, must jump from behind the attack line to hit. When only one woman is in the front row, one may come up from the back to block. (Confusing, that one.) Some places play that, if a team has more than one touch before the ball goes over, one of those must be by a male. I've played this format a couple times. The men can get greedy (back-row hitting is fun). To get around that, in places where the men are fairly dangerous out of the back row on a women's net, some of the tournaments award two-points for kills by women. It's an interesting change that (sensibly, in my opinion) gears the action to the women.   However, with the coming of the sun, those days will have to wait. If anyone knows of any indoor tournaments over the summer, please let me know. I'm not a big fan of sports in the sand, but sometimes that's what it takes. I hear the Fountain Bowl in the Jamestown area is hosting a sand league this year. Terry will run something, not sure what his plans are, at the Brokenstraw pool court. I was up there a couple weeks ago. With a couple hours of work it should be in pretty good shape. I'll keep you posted.




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