The following play did the social media rounds recently. It is, dare I say, a classic Earvin NGapeth play. He receives the short serve and follows through to attack the first tempo. Every player on the court stands around dumbfounded, including his own teammates who react slower than him to a ball that is actually in their zone. How can this be?
In slow motion on the third view, you can see what Earvin saw before the ball had crossed the net. While everyone is thinking receive, then the setter chooses the best option, then the spiker attacks, Earvin is thinking ‘if I receive this ball, like this, I will have an empty space to attack there’. Luckily he is playing with a setter like Bruno who either sees things the same way, or is smart enough to trust that Earvin has seen something and to go with it.
Just three days after this action, there was another play that was in my mind even better that got no internet love. Check it out.
The play is essentially the same; Earvin sees a ball to play and simultaneously an opportunity to attack. The difference is it is in the middle of the rally and he runs across the whole court. The cherry on the top of this play is Bruno working out what he is up to a split second after he starts to run and preparing to set first tempo while everyone is just running around.
‘Thoughts are the enemy of flow‘, and no volleyball player is more consistently in the flow than NGapeth. He really is playing a different game.
About Mark Lebedew:
Mark Lebedew authors the At Home on the Court Blog. He coaches professionally in Poland, from january 2021 with eWinner Gwardia Wrocław, in season 2019/20 with Aluron Virtu CMC Warta Zawiercie and in the period 2015-2018 with KS Jastrzębski Węgiel. That follows five seasons Germany where his Berlin Recycling Volleys won three straight league titles and a CEV Champions League bronze medal. He has prior professional experience in Belgium and Italy. Mark was also Head Coach for the Australian Men’s National Team. From 2021/2022 leads VfB Friedrichshafen, while in 2022 he led the Slovenian national team during the Volleyball Nations League.
Mark partnered with his brother and father to translate and publish “My Profession: The Game“, the last book by legendary Russian coach, Vyacheslav Platonov.
With John Forman, he is behind the Volleyball Coaching Wizards project (link http://volleyballcoachingwizards.com/) which identifies great coaches from all levels, making their experience, insights, and expertise available to people all over the world. The project has produced multiple books, a in e-book format available here ( link to http://bit.ly/34yakou ) or at Amazon here (link https://amzn.to/2JRqTE6).
In 2021, he launched project Webinars and Presentations on Demand. If you are interested for coaching presentations and webinars available on demand, click here.