For fans, the preparation that they see go into a game is just the half-hour to hour before a game. Most fans also know that teams practice many hours a week.
What most people don’t realize is that more hours go into the game sitting in front of a television monitor or learning the numbers on a sheet of paper.
Scouting takes up much of a coach’s time, trying to figure out the best way for their team to attack the next opponent.
South Florida volleyball’s assistant coach, Claire Roach, is in charge of the team’s scouting, dissecting two matches’ worth of tape.
“A normal week would be to receive the tape, record it and break down clips slowly,” Roach said. “I spend hours getting what I want the kids to see.”
Head coach Nancy Mueller develops a game plan and strategy from the tapes.
The Bulls’ scouting starts when they exchange tapes with the opposing team. For Conference USA games, teams are required to exchange two tapes.
Roach looks through the tapes up to two days before the match, and then makes up a condensed version for the players to watch the day before the match.
“We get the tape about a week in advance, and when we have time to watch it, we scout,” Mueller said. “We usually watch video of the team the day before and practice for them the day of the match.”
While the players watch the tapes, they are also looking at printed scouting reports.
“We go over video and scouting reports, so they won’t only visually see it, but learn it as well,” Roach said.
After the players have seen and learned their opponents, they take it to the court, where the coaches assign the scout squad numbers so that the team can see a real life situation.
“The phases of teaching them are that they see it visually on paper, they walk through, they have opponents’ numbers, then I quiz them,” Roach said.
By going through this process, the Bulls are not only taught their opponents tendencies and how to defeat them, but they also expand their own playing abilities.
“What it does is help them adjust and adapt as well, by learning other teams,” Roach said.
This phase is put into effect with every team, conference or otherwise.
Even if teams refuse to send tapes, the Bulls still get the reports on their upcoming game by asking the team’s opponents’ for tapes.
USF (22-5, 8-0 in C-USA) has been putting in its three-step phase this week in preparation for its match against UAB (10-15, 3-5) today at the Corral at 7 p.m.
The last time the Bulls opened 8-0 in C-USA, they went on to improve to 15-1 and 28-6 overall in 2000. That season USF lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament.