First year men's volleyball coach David Proffitt knew of the challenges he faced when he took over the men's volleyball program. Not only was there a need to hire a new coaching staff, but also assemble a complete team with only two returning players from last season.
Although the challenge seemed daunting, the mid-west product took it all in stride, with a smile. It was not uncommon to see David walking around campus distributing flyers, and for two-weeks straight had a booth on the Mesa Quad talking with potential student-athletes that had any volleyball experience.
"I couldn't be happier with how the guys have come together and bought in regarding our culture," states Proffitt. Every team has its unique personality and we are no different. We are young team with only two returning players, the rest of the team are first year players. That being said everyone is getting along great."
Every minute on the practice floor is a teaching moment. During one practice session, the drill was designed to work on down the line serves. The drill is designed to position the middle blockers after the opponents first pass. A player decides to go off-script and serves cross-court. The coaching staff immediately stops practice and asks why the server went down the line. The player answered that he thought he'd win the point by going cross-court. Dave immediately stops practice and states, "the purpose of this drill is to make everyone on the court better, we are working on strategy and positioning, not about winning a single point for you."
"As a whole, we do not have a lot of experience both on and off the court," adds Proffitt. "We are training hard to get our 'volleyball IQ' up and that includes how to practice properly. One of the challenges that we have is getting the guys to buy into the philosophy. It has taken some time, but I believe we are on the right path and I'm looking forward to a great season."
The team has struggled against seasoned volleyball programs in the county. It does not however reflect on the effort of the team. Being an undersized team, with the tallest player being 6'3, the make-up of this team will be built on defense, solid passing, and outlasting opponents through tenacious defense.
"For us it is about the process of improving and gaining experience, states Proffitt. "We are learning how to get better every time we step on the floor no matter what the score of the match is. Learning how to compete has been a common theme. We have to be mentally tough when things are not going our way and I think the message is sinking in."
The Olympians will host back-to-back home games starting with Palomar College on February 13th. They will then play Santiago Canyon College on February 15th. Both games are scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. start.