By JACK ROSSI
IOWA CITY, Iowa — It’s been an offseason of new ideas and the University of Iowa volleyball team has taken a creative approach to its training this spring.
Head coach Vicki Brown and her staff have been hard at work preparing for the fall 2020 season, but she’s been thinking out of the box to help connect with her players and staff.
“We all love volleyball, but it’s been fun to do team activities outside of what we normally do,” Brown said. “That is something that this opportunity has brought. It’s letting us do more non-volleyball things with the team.”
For Brown, on some days it’s about settling into her new house and on others it’s about trivia, sharing recipes, and workout tips through her team’s group chat.
A major part of the team’s new approach to the offseason has been putting the players into three roles that best describe the type of people they are.
“We have three different team roles that players with fall under,” Brown said. “The three roles are Delta Force, Seal Team Six, and Ranger Force. Through some research of what those groups do in our military, it describes who they are as a group.”
While the Ranger group has decided on their creed, the Delta Force and Seal Team Six are still workshopping their mottos and quotes to fall back on all in an effort to stay connected in a time when the team is supposed to be separated.
The efforts made this spring by the team will help transition the team to a new era inside Xtream Arena. The team’s new 5,100 seat arena in Coralville, Iowa, is on pace to open this fall and host the Hawkeyes in its first event.
“The new arena is still on track for our home opener,” Brown said. “We are finally seeing things we’ve been seeing on blueprints for months and it’s more exciting because the community is excited and that fuels our players’ motivations.”
With so much happening within the program and around the world, Brown doesn’t remember a team that has had so much adversity.
“This is the first team that I’ve been on with this much adversity,” Brown said. “We are truly a team of grit and we will do things in the upcoming season despite all the adversity in front of us.”
After a nationally-ranked recruiting class in 2019, the Hawkeyes return a talented group of underclassmen with a proven core that will compete with the best in the Big Ten in 2020.
The last thing Brown has tasked her team to do is reflect.
“It’s a time to self-reflect,” Brown added. “What is your motivation and how are you applying that motivation? It’s a great moment to ask what motivates you to be a great student, athlete, and person. As a staff, we are asking ourselves similar questions.”