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feedback on volleyball advance for college paper

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by fl2010, Sep 11, 2007.

  1. fl2010

    fl2010 New Member

    Was really excited about the story idea, but not sure I really achieved what I wanted. And the lede was left for last and was rushed. Any and all comments are appreciated.
    The casual volleyball fan may see serving as just a way to get the ball over the net and start the action.

    But when the No. 6 Gators host Florida State tonight at 7, the serve-receive aspect will have a big impact on the match’s result.

    The Seminoles (3-2) come into today's match with 50 service aces so far this season, averaging 2.6 per game.

    UF will hope to overcome the serving prowess of outside hitter Mira Djuric, a junior transfer from Oregon.

    Djuric led the Pacific-10 Conference in aces her freshman season and was second in the league last year. In just two seasons with the Ducks, Djuric had 103 aces, good for a tie for eighth all time in the Oregon record books.

    "When you're getting aces in the Pac-10, you're packing some heat," UF coach Mary Wise said.

    Wise characterizes passes as being 0-, 1-, 2- or 3-option passes. The number refers to the number of hitters Angie McGinnis could potentially set from that pass.

    McGinnis doesn’t believe a 3-option pass has ever come her way, but it would make for an ideal opportunity.

    "I have all my options (in a 3-option pass)," McGinnis said. "I can see the block [and] see where the block moves. I can get it to any person I want."

    Coming into today's match, the Gators have 39 aces on the year, averaging 2.44/game. If UF maintains that rate all season, it would rank as the fourth-best average in school history. Through five matches last season, the team had just 16 aces.

    Hampton rates the toss as the most important part of the serve.

    "If you don’t have a good toss, you're gonna mis-hit the ball and not hit it out of the correct part of your hand," Hampton said. "That's where you get a little funky."

    Hampton said the team prioritizes serves on three levels: get the ball in play, then make a good serve, then make an aggressive serve.

    "We're trying to be aggressive servers, serving a tough ball to defend, but also the ability to pinpoint accuracy," Wise said. "It's one thing to rip it, but it's another thing � can you rip it to the right place?"

    Elyse Cusack, who leads the team with 10 aces, knows the serve can change the momentum of a game.

    "There's hardly anything more exciting than an ace," Cusack said. "It's a free point."

    A good serve translates into other parts of the game, as well.

    "Serving helps defense," Wise said. "If you can serve aggressively and eliminate one of those hitters as an option, then it's easier blocking. It's hard to be a great blocking team without being a great serving team."

    Of course a UF serve at home would not be complete without a yell from the students' section. Each Gators player has something different shouted as they serve. As Hampton starts her serve, the enthused fans yell, "What did the five fingers say to the ball?" and then "Slap!" as the senior makes contact. For Cusack, the students call out the name of a different John Cusack movie each team the sophomore serves.

    Don’t worry, "super fans," the team does hear you.

    "It gets really funny," Cusack said. "We always talk about the different things they have for us."
  2. Rusty Shackleford

    Rusty Shackleford Active Member

    Your first line is very true. If I'm any kind of volleyball fan, which is a questionable in its own right, it's a casual volleyball fan. And I don't put any more thought into the serve than to get things going.

    But your second line, even to Mr. Casual me, is kind of a 'No duh' statement. It's kind of like saying the relationship between the pitcher and batter will have a big impact on the baseball game.

    Also, some of your transitions seem a bit rough. For example, between grafs 10 and 11 you go from talking about ace stats to talking about the most important part of a serve. Seems like either the stuff about stats or the stuff about mechanics of the serve graf should have been moved somewhere else in the story.

    Frankly, I would be more interested in reading a story (and maybe you've already done one) about the stuff at the end -- the funny chants they have for the servers. That stuff was funny. And for anybody who's never been to one of their games, or even to those who have, it would make for an entertaining read, learning the players' thoughts on them and the fans who yell them -- and how they come up with the stuff they say.
  3. fl2010

    fl2010 New Member

    Thanks, Rusty, I appreciate the feedback.

    That lede definitely wasn't the best. I think the first line was workable, but the second was definitely an obvious statement. Point taken.

    The rough transitions I probably blame on the fact I went too long and we had to cut it late that night, which ultimately is my fault for writing too long in the first place, but that's why things are kinda zig-zaggy at times.

    And yeah I got a lot of positive feedback about the stuff at the end about the chants. Funny enough, it was actually an afterthought, one of those questions I just threw in the interview to lighten things up and see if I could get a colorful quote.

    Having already mentioned it in this piece, I'm not sure if it'd really work to break out a whole piece about the chants. We pretty much only run advances, gamers, and maybe one mid-week story per week and I have already talked about it.

    Thanks again for your thoughts.
  4. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    fl2010 -

    Thanks for posting your work for us to share. Just a general note on your piece. And I think it's an important one for writers young and old.

    When you're budgeting the time it's going to take to get the story written, leave proportionately more time to fuss with your beginnings and your endings. Those are the money moments for every story and for every writer. One gets them into the tent, the other is what they carry away.

    So if you're pressed for time, worry more about your lede and your close than about how you fill in the middle. Yes, you want smooth transitions, too. But if my choice is one quality or the other, I'll fix my lede and my ending every time.

    In this instance, two options leap to mind. Use the chants in the lede and again at the end. It's the best part of the story. Or, lede with a broader thought about 'aces' - fighter pilots or poker hands or whatever - and let that broadness of thought be your insurance against one of those 'well, duh' moments.

    Thanks again for sharing your work.
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