Mistakes a thing of past for Warriors
BY Stephen Tsai
For the Hawai'i volleyball team, the key to unforgettable matches is remembering to forget mistakes.
Head coach Charlie Wade, whose team hosts UC Irvine tonight and tomorrow night, has implored the Warriors to avoid the rollover effect.
"In the June Jones vernacular," Wade said, quoting the former UH football coach, "we want 'one snap and clear.' We don't want our players thinking about past mistakes."
That has been a point of emphasis during practices and meetings.
"There's a lot of literature to prove that kind of mindset," Wade said. "Those thinking patterns really correlate to success. Look at what's happened from the service line in the past. If a guy misses a serve the last time, I don't want him to change his service routine the next time. The ball doesn't remember what the (server) did to it the last time. Is he going to change his routine based on what he did the last time? No, no, no. Let it go."
Left-side hitter Steven Hunt has successfully embraced the philosophy.
As a freshman in 2009, Hunt often vented his self-induced frustrations on immovable objects. He missed several matches because of a fracture sustained when he punched a chair.
Wade, who was hired last spring, spent time helping Hunt channel his fire.
"I'd rather have to worry about toning a guy down than firing him up," Wade said. "I think he realized that sometimes how he managed mistakes and how he managed frustration weren't helping him play better. He's learned."
Hunt made his first start of the season last week, helping the Warriors complete a two-match sweep of Pacific. With steady passing complementing a powerful right swing, Hunt appears to have secured a starting job on the left side.
"I wanted to play," Hunt said. "I had to change my attitude."
The makeover went to his head. He grew out his red hair, then dyed it dark brown.
"My friends wanted me to," Hunt said. "I was down with it."
"Good for him," middle blocker Steven Grgas said. "Whatever keeps him going. It gives him a different character. Be who you want to be now. It's college."
Wade has remained guarded about revealing tonight's starting lineup. But Hunt and Joshua Walker are expected to open on the left side, freshman Jonas Umlauft at opposite, Ric Cervantes at libero and Nejc Zemljak at setter. Grgas, Matt Rawson and Brennon Dyer will rotate at the two middle positions.
What is known is the Warriors, according to Wade, will be "present focused" by not dwelling on past errors. To do this, Wade has told his players to envision each play as a "segment." There is no rewind button.
"We want them to be very present-focused every play," Wade said.
Wade, meanwhile, will provide the motivation. The Warriors have won the opening set in each of their three home matches.
"He's got that passion," Grgas said of Wade. "You see it in his eyes. He makes you want to have it."
Wade said his enthusiasm is naturally fueled, although he admittedly downs several cans of Red Bull each day.
"I can't say we've done a lot of fire-and-brimstone motivating," Wade said of UH's strong starts. "What we focus on is making sure they're ready to play."
Then, he said: "I love my job. I'm pretty passionate about it. ... We're excited to be here. This is the mecca of college volleyball. In terms of college athletics, this is one of the most special environments any college athlete can compete in. To be a part of it is awesome."
OWENS AT SPEED CLINIC
Former UH football player Chad Owens will be the featured instructor at this weekend's Hawai'i Speed and Quickness Clinic.
Sessions are 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. tomorrow and Sunday at the UH athletic complex.
Entry is $10 per participant.
For details, call (808) 228-7447 or go to www.hawaiispeedandquickness.com.