by Adam Burns
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the midst of a position change, Alex Sinik needed advice. On Friday, Sinik found herself in the right place.
Sinik, who plans on making the switch from setter to libero, received instruction from four college coaches during a 90-minute session for setters and defensive specialists Friday morning ahead of this weekend’s Triple Crown Volleyball NIT inside the Kansas City Convention Center.
So after the first camp session, Sinik made her way to ask Stanford coach Kevin Hambly, one of the four instructors, about her transition.
And Sinik did so with confidence, approaching the man who only two months ago to the day led Stanford to the pinnacle of college volleyball — a national championship.
Sinik’s thought process? No reason to be shy.
“You just have to put yourself out there and see if you can get what you need,” said Sinik, who made the trip to Kansas City from Calgary, Alberta. “If not, then at least you tried, right?”
Ultimately, the proactive Sinik got the advice she needed.
Said Sinik: “I’m a smaller setter so I told him I was thinking about making that transition to libero, so I asked; what’s the most important thing I can focus on, what are the differences and what should I be keying in on?”
Developing players is one of the many reasons Hambly is here.
“It was fun,” said Hambly, who just finished his second year in charge of Stanford after eight seasons at Illinois. “It’s just a little introduction into what we do and it’s a good opportunity to get these kids exposed to college coaching, but also for recruiting opportunities as well. It serves the coaches, the players and it’s really fun to be a part of.
“I like to work for Triple Crown,” he added. “It’s a nice way to start the year and all the coaches are great. So I choose to do this one quite a bit and some others in the summer.”
Hambly, along with Morehead State coach Jaime Gordon, Lipscomb’s Brandon Rosenthal and Gannon’s Matt Darling, put the campers through passing and digging drills in 25-minute increments.
“It’s really just a taste of something that’s unique and different for them and how we operate as a program,” Hambly said. “Just make them a little uncomfortable.”
Camper Tori Gelles was exposed to something new — the running set.
“Taking off of the right foot instead of taking off on two feet was one thing I haven’t done before, so it was great to learn that,” said Gelles, who plays for the hometown KC MAVS. “It was really great working with the coaches because I felt I learned a lot on footwork and technique.”
Much like Gelles, Sinik got exactly what she was looking for from the camp session, which precedes tournament action beginning Saturday morning.
“In playing a new position,” Sinik said, “I definitely learned a lot.”