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One Game At A Time

More learning, more success

/ 05:10 AM November 02, 2017

Karch Kiraly. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

United States national women’s volleyball coach and three-time Olympic gold medalist Karch Kiraly was clearly delighted that the Philippine volleyball community knew him very well.

“I covered you in the 1988 Seoul Olympics,” I told Kiraly as we were introduced by Philippine Superliga president Tats Suzara. “That surely dates us,” Kiraly smiled back. ESPN 5 sports head Patricia Bermudez-Hizon and I were clearly fans as we talked shop with Kiraly, who also dabbles in the game’s TV coverage.

The younger generation of volleyball fans may not exactly know of Kiraly’s game until they hit the internet for a quick review. But the PSL coaches, who were to undergo a clinic with Kiraly later in the afternoon, clearly knew him and had followed his indoor and beach volleyball accomplishments.

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Kiraly was in town for the clinic and the formal opening of the PSL Grand Prix tournament. Suzara invited the game’s legend when they met in Japan in a recent international tournament. It didn’t take long for Kiraly to agree to come over as he was aware of how the game has grown in this part of the world.

In the press conference and in the clinic, Kiraly shared lessons from years of playing and coaching. “You don’t have to be the tallest team to do well,” Kiraly explained, citing the Thai and Japanese volleyball teams as great examples of what sound fundamentals can do.

Aside from discussing the game’s technical aspects, Kiraly emphasized in the clinic that “If there’s more learning in a team, there will be much more success.” The nature of the game, with its limited number of passes, compels teams to have players with multiple skills so that anyone on the floor should know how to set, dig, block and attack. “We don’t have a lot of time to handle the ball,” he pointed out.

Trust is also important, Kiraly explained to the local coaches. It spills over to allowing assistants to teach and have a say in how things are run. “You might get sick one day and your assistant needs to take over,” Kiraly said.

All sports should make an effort like that of the PSL to continuously look for ways to upgrade their game. And with Karch Kiraly’s visit, you get lessons not only on how to play but a serving as well of the values indispensable for team success.

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TAGS: Karch Kiraly, Patricia Bermudez Hizon, Philippine Superliga, PSL Grand Prix tournament, Tats Suzara, Women’s Volleyball
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