Can Iowa volleyball turn ‘winning points’ in practice into winning matches in Big Ten
Iowa Hawkeyes center hitter Delaney McSweeney (blonde, proper) crouches with teammates throughout their Big Ten Conference volleyball sport towards the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
IOWA CITY – Good luck when you discover one thing in an Iowa volleyball practice that does not have a rating.
“All practice counts,” mentioned head coach Jim Barnes. “Everything has something at stake.”
The purpose is to gather as many “Winner Points” as attainable, that are tabulated by the three managers on the courtroom facet.
The winner of an train can get a degree. If one facet hits too many balls out of bounds, he might give the opposing facet “winning points” for every ball hit out of bounds. The nearer somebody is to the championship chief or the “queen”, the much less they should run after coaching.
“That competition pushes them to do what I want them to do — hit fewer balls or get more kills,” Barnes mentioned. “I think it’s the most brilliant thing we’ve ever done.”
The purpose is to organize gamers for aggressive video games, contemplating Barnes “never been in a game where they don’t keep the score”.
However, the factors gained in practice didn’t translate into video games received in the Big Ten through the first yr of Barnes’ reorganization.
Iowa went 10-21 and 4-16 in Big Ten play in 2022. It was Iowa’s third straight 4-16 end result in the convention.
The man who hits nearly all the things in coaching has tried to look past the scoreboard in video games.
“All you see are those numbers in the public eye,” Barnes advised The Gazette, referring to the convention and general information. “There are many more victories that they don’t see that we’re proud of.”
That “everyone pulls together” on a group with a number of new faces is an instance of Barnes’ victories that “don’t show up on the scoreboard”.
Barnes is especially pleased with Iowa’s success on the serve go.
“It’s something you don’t see on the stat sheet,” Barnes mentioned. “We’ve beaten almost every team on serve pass. … Coaches came up to me and said, ‘I can’t believe you all just beat us on serve pass.’ …I’m like, ‘Well, we’ve got to win this because you’re going to win the block and the kills.’”
Iowa had shut calls, taking No. 5 Purdue and No. 14 Penn State to 5 units. Purdue followers lining the skin of Iowa’s locker room advised Barnes “we haven’t seen that in Iowa” as his group left.
Iowa’s season-ending wins over Michigan and Michigan State confirmed “the fact that middle of the league isn’t really far away,” Barnes mentioned.
“Our next step is to jump into the middle of the league,” mentioned Barnes.
Had Iowa, ranked 133 on the RPI, not beat Michigan, Barnes is assured the Wolverines would have earned an NCAA spot.
But his Hawkeyes want common wins towards groups like Michigan and Michigan State to take this system to the following stage. Iowa cut up its video games towards bottom-ranked Rutgers and in addition suffered losses to Maryland and Northwestern.
“The distance isn’t as great as some people think, but you still have to have the talent to do it consistently, and that’s what we’re working on,” Barnes mentioned.
Barnes has turned to the switch portal to shortly construct his squad.
In his first offseason at Iowa City, Barnes added seven transfers. He would not usually launch gamers from this system, he mentioned, though final yr fell underneath “extenuating circumstances”.
He can also be actively following gamers from the portal after the 2022 season and is asking present gamers to inform him this week in the event that they intend to remain or change so he is aware of what number of scholarships he can provide.
But the switch portal was a one-way road. Players Iowa misplaced through the teaching change have discovered success elsewhere.
Courtney Buzzerio transferred from Iowa to Pittsburgh, the place she obtained first-team All-ACC honors. Hannah Clayton transferred to Purdue from Iowa and, like Buzzerio, performs on a group that may compete in the NCAA event this weekend.
“We downgraded the talent overall,” Barnes mentioned. “We were able to win more (than the 2021 team) with less talent. This is also not shown on any scoreboard. But we know it and the players know it. ”
Barnes sees the switch portal as a brief resolution, not a everlasting resolution to construct a program. In truth, in many circumstances he’s not a fan of the portal.
“Normally I’d say I don’t like it at all because I think there’s an easy way for a kid to get to greener pastures that they believe exist,” Barnes mentioned. “Most of these kids don’t get the outcome they envisioned.”
But the elevation of a program that hasn’t charted above .500 in the Big Ten for the reason that Clinton administration is not fairly thought of regular circumstance.
“Right now, it helps us get an infusion of talent that we need right now to get better,” Barnes mentioned. “But overall I wouldn’t want that as a daily thing.”
What Barnes is attempting to attain in the Big Ten, the nation’s best volleyball convention, is not any small feat. Others have tried to revive this system and have been unsuccessful.
Iowa employed Sharon Dingman in 2008. Her Big Ten document peaked in her freshman season when Iowa went 6-14.
Bond Shymansky subsequent accepted the problem of rebuilding Iowa after elevating a Marquette program that by no means made the NCAA championships to nationwide tournaments for 3 straight seasons and winning a Big East title.
Shymansky’s Iowa groups went for a September 11 document in Big Ten play, and Iowa fired him after paying a participant’s hire — a violation of the NCAA on the time, which now carries a reputation, image and similarity deal can be avoidable by a booster.
Then Shymansky assistant head coach Vicki Brown took over and had a 9-43 document in Big Ten video games earlier than her midseason layoff in 2021.
Brown served two-and-a-half years on the helm, together with the COVID-19-hit yr — the shortest time for an Iowa volleyball head coach since 1990. It most likely did not assist that she took on a program at NCAA probation.
The management of the Iowa athletics division expressed their confidence in Barnes with a seven-year contract. However, Barnes is conscious that he can’t “kick my feet up”.
“If we don’t do the job, we won’t be here for seven years,” Barnes mentioned. “If we don’t improve, if we don’t get better, we won’t be here.”
The winning factors from Barnes’ drills can be a metaphor for the low season. After Iowa’s 4-12 Big Ten end, Barnes is the one who now must make further laps down the recruiting path.
“We’re getting better athletes, not elite athletes yet,” Barnes mentioned ambitiously. “But we get higher ones that may get us into that center stack after which we’ve got a number of followers and we mess up among the high[programs]. Now I’m going to catch among the blue chippers.”