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Wednesday, February 03, 2010Lipscomb Lady Bisons volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal is always looking for ways to improve his team.
He hasn’t been basking in the glow of the best season in the history of the program. In January he headed to the West Coast to learn and share ideas with several volleyball coaches.
Rosenthal attended men’s practices at Pepperdine in Malibu, Calif. Pepperdine is coached by Marv Dunphy.
“Obviously, there are some pretty big differences in the men’s game and the women’s game,” Rosenthal said. “It was good to refresh and see the way they do things. I took a lot of notes. The practices were very competitive. And the way their guys interact is neat.
“Marv is someone I talk to on a pretty regular basis. He is a legend. He has won gold medals. He has won national championships. It was good to be around that and get to see some old friends.”
Rosenthal then made the trek to Anaeim where the U.S.A. women’s national team was practicing under the direction of Hugh McCutcheon.
“That is our highest level team in the United States,” Rosenthal said. “It was good to experience that and to see some of the drills and how Hugh approaches practices. There are some similarities to what we do and it is not just because we are both tall and bald.
“The practices were kind of laid back. There was a very informal atmosphere. You could see how the players responded to that.”
Rosenthal also looked at some different strength and conditioning programs that he might implement at Lipscomb.
“Overall, I thought our conditioning level for the season was O.K.,” Rosenthal said. “There is a balance during the season. I felt like we needed to push the practice side of things, but I want to see a higher level of conditioning.
“I want to do it in a way that the girls are still going to be excited about it. We are always evolving. I want to rejuvenate what we are trying to do.”
He also had the opportunity to spend some time with Kevin Barnett, an Olympic team member.
“I was able to relax a little bit, but also get a lot of work done,” Rosenthal said. “I was able to take stock of what we have here and see how we can improve.”
The Lady Bisons won both the Atlantic Sun regular season and tournament titles this past season, finishing the conference with a perfect 22-0 record. They also earned their second berth in the NCAA Tournament in the past three years.
“We have mentioned to the players that we are about to get into next year,” said Rosenthal. “And next year starts right now, not in August.
“All of the pressure we faced last season with the streak is going to be multiplied because we are the champion. And anytime you are the champion it just adds another level of pressure.”
Rosenthal is confident that with the players has returning and his incoming recruiting class, that the 2010 team will be able to deal with the higher expectations.
“All of them are on the same page,’ Rosenthal said. “They all want to go to that next level. I think they all agree is it just going to take a little more work.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations