While many volleyball coaches are apt to overlook an unforced error - be it a miscommunication or a similar moment of undisciplined play - and instead respond with silence or, perhaps, on more rare occasions, a few claps of encouragement, Jamestown coach Lindsey Vitello takes a different route.
Her players on the bench do pushups.
Call it an incentive to stay focused.
Photo by Rob?Tucker
Dunkirk’s Alexis Clark hits the ball over the net during Tuesday’s CCAA West I League girls high school volleyball match against Jamestown.
"The pushups are for ball drops, or when there is a lack of communication," Vitello explained. "It's just to work on discipline."
Well, if the group's most recent effort is any indication, those in-game workouts seem to be doing just the trick.
Errors were few and far between for the Jamestown Lady Red Raiders on Tuesday evening, helping the hosts roll to a three-game sweep of CCAA West I foe Dunkirk, 25-8, 25-5 and 25-20.
Unofficial tallies put the total number of pushup-sets performed by the Lady Red Raiders at four.
"The girls played hard," Vitello said. "We still need to work out a few kinks, but all in all I was happy (with their performance Tuesday)."
Given the way they won the first two sets, it would be hard not to.
Relying on a strong play at the service line from a number of players, the Lady Red Raiders (2-1, 2-0) recorded, midway through the opening set, 10 straight points to balloon a then-slim, three-point advantage, 10-7, into an insurmountable 12-point lead, 20-8.
At the line during that set-clinching rally was Kaitlyn Haines, who during the run, had a pair of aces and also benefited from a few deep pushes into the corners by Ashley Butman and strong play at the net by sophomore Ally Boskat.
It was only a minor miscommunication on the 13th point - pushup moment No. 1 - that disrupted what could have been 17 straight points as Becky Rew finished things off with five straight from the service line to clinch the opening-game victory.
By match's end, Rew recorded a team-high 14 assists with a pair of aces while Boskat delivered three kills, six digs and four aces.
Haley Jones also chipped in with three aces and four kills in the victory.
Part of Dunkirk's difficulties with siding out over the opening two sets was the fact that it was playing a starter short; and that, noted coach Kim Delgado, had far-reaching effects.
"It was hard today because we were missing a starter and that changed the dynamics of the (team's) entire play," she said. "It was one of our seniors - she had to leave school today - and that's tough because then the other girls play timid and feel unsure of themselves.
"Then you have the (regular) players trying to overcompensate and run after (the ball) because they are afraid that the new person wasn't going to get there. ... It just changed the way everyone responded to the game and it really did have a domino effect, big time."
Dunkirk's serve-receive continued to struggle in the second set. With the score knotted at 2-2, Boskat stepped to the line and promptly ripped off 16 straight points to push the Dunkirk (2-2, 1-1) deficit to 18-2.
"Serving is a huge part of the game and we work on it quite a bit," Vitello said. "We try to push and get on a run and make sure that we can rally on one server at a time - because that's how you win games."
At the same time that Jamestown experienced a few mental breakdowns - the final three sets of pushups were done during the third and final set - Dunkirk finally began to settle in to its new dynamic.
The Lady Marauders built an 8-1 lead behind Jada Neal's work at the service line and a block and a kill by teammate Alexis Clark, who finished with a team-high five kills, two blocks and three aces.
That advantage grew to 11-6 and then 16-10 before Jamestown regrouped.
"We knew Dunkirk wasn't going to lay down," Vitello said. "We just needed to pick up our communication, not have so many little mental breakdowns and just keep playing hard."
Trailing, 17-12, the Lady Red Raiders tallied 13 of the final 16 points - overtaking the Lady Marauders when Butman hit an ace to make the score 19-18 - to secure the sweep.
"(Jamestown) has gotten much better from last year," Delgado said. "Last year we played them five sets both times and they have really improved. I was very impressed with them."