Back together and back to work.
After the grueling schedule of the World League and World League Finals, we were lucky to have some time off. A few of the guys got to spend that time playing in the Olympic Test Event, while some of the others including myself got to stay states side and work on getting stronger and more dynamic. After a few weeks of getting after it in the weight room all of the team got a well deserved week off. I am sure that everyone had a great time with family and friends. I got to be at home for a while before heading out to Casper, WY. to do my annual volleyball camp there. With me was fellow Olympic Gold Medalist and Team USA Libero Rich Lambourne (come to find out later that this was actually Rich’s first volleyball camp experience as a coach). We had a great time in WY. The people there and the kids that attended the camp were all very grateful to have us. There hospitality made the camp that much more enjoyable. Mizuno provided the camp T shirts (thanks again Brynn!) The kids loved them. They worked hard for 4 long days. It always amazes me to see the energy of a 15-16 year old volleyball player that loves the game. When you get to be a part of a camp where the kids are excited and eager to play volleyball, it makes coaching them fun.
After the camp was over I made my way back down to Southern California to start training and begin to prepare to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games. The first step in qualifying will be a NORCECA Zone tournament in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico at the end of August. The NORCECA Zone is our international volleyball zone. Teams also in the zone include Cuba, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Panama, and Barbados. We need to be in the finals of that tournament to qualify for the World Cup. Now the World Cup is the first FIVB tournament where a qualification into the Olympic Games is possible. The top three teams at the World Cup qualify for the Olympic Games. I have played in 3 World Cups in my career with Team USA, and at every one of them we have finished 4th!! One spot away from qualifying. Hopefully this year will be different.
So that is where we are right now. We are focusing on fine tuning the things we are good at, and getting better at the things we aren’t. Volleyball is the complete and ultimate team sport. There will always be 6 players that will need to depend and trust one another. The teams that are successful do this. The teams that aren’t usually aren’t successful.