COLUMBIA — Dodge, dip, duck, dive and dodge. These are the five Ds of dodgeball, and for the Stephens College volleyball team members, this might be one of their new pregame activities.
Wednesday evening, coach Shane McAfee instructed his players to play four-on-four dodgeball as an exercise to boost energy before practice began.
“We just need to break the monotony up a little bit, and with only eight girls, we can only practice hard so much. So this is just a fun little start to get us going, so we can get going," McAfee said.
With four balls in the middle of the floor, the girls lined up, ready to pounce. McAfee shouted go, and the players ran toward the balls with wide eyes.
Senior Megan Sheffield was one of the first to grab a ball and wasted no time hurling it across the court. Sheffield's eyes lit up when her throw hit her fellow senior, Chrissy Echeverria.
"It’s practices like this, where we just got to have our energy there, and so, like, being able to do stuff like that before practice gets our energy level up," senior Kelsey Benson said. "I already know our practice is going to be 10 times better than what it would’ve been."
The activity did result in a more energized team but did not result in an official win on Thursday. The Stars lost 22-25, 19-25, 25-21, 25-22, 8-15 to Missouri Valley College.
"The girls had lots of energy. In our last match that was a real issue for them," McAfee said. "I consider this a win."
Dodgeball might not be the answer before every game, but a break from normal drills might be just what the players need for an extra boost of energy.
“For me, it just kind of takes the pressure off. I think a lot of times we get nervous before games because, you know, we’re so small and teams are a lot larger than us," freshman Lanie Hurt said. "It loosens us up, gets us excited to play a game, and I think it helps a lot.”
With at least 11 more games left in the season, McAfee is looking for more activities to do with the players to energize them, including going to a Missouri volleyball game.
"I got to come up with some fun things to do for them," McAfee said.