Coaches,

GMS Advisory Staff Member Tom Black is currently coaching in the Grand Prix with our Women’s National Team.  Below is a blog he’s been writing to keep us posted on the team, the tournament and more.  I’ve posted some of the initial text below, with the full blog being available by clicking the link at the bottom.

Monday, 8/5

From Brazil to Belgrade in a day makes for some long travel, but taking a walk through a Serbian neighborhood to have our athletic trainer, Jill Wosmek, lead the team through a public stretching session in the middle of a family park will give you plenty of chuckles to re-energize. Kim Hill seems to be the queen of asking rhetorical questions her teammates are only too happy to ruthlessly reply to, always good for a few more laughs.

The giggles, of course, were sorely needed after leaving San Paulo with a loss to an excellent Brazilian squad. Coming off two solid victories from such quality opponents as Russia and Poland, we entered a one of a kind environment for our final match of the weekend. These types of crowds you just rarely see for volleyball, and are a big reason why playing in Brazil is such a special experience:

The match was filled with plenty of challenging moments, and our players and staff are all better for going through it. For example, we learned from the Brazilian Head Coach in the middle of game 2 that ball pressure is a very important issue, so much so it can require walking across the court to discuss with the head referee in a..uh, raised voice. Ah, the joys of playing at home…didn’t seem so funny in the moment, but it’s getting a little more so as I keep thinking about it. For sure, it’s a big lesson of how we need to focus and respond in the heat of battle.

Anytime you get to play such great teams back to back to back, there will be lots of lessons to uncover through discussions, reflection, video, and statistics. We can always control our response and our preparation. To be sure, with Karch and our captains (Kristin Richards, Courtney Thompson, Christa Harmotto, and Tama Miyashiro) you can always bet the challenge to prepare each day in practice in order to respond even stronger will be met and met well. It’s an honor to be a part of this program and represent our country with such a high-caliber group of individuals.

If Karch gives me a short court rematch, I’ll let you know…as long as I win.

I might be half-joking.

USA USA

Tom Black – USA Women’s Volleyball

View Complete Blog Here: http://www.lmulions.com/sports/w-volley/spec-rel/USA_Blog.html