Olympians serve up skills to men's v-ball

Campus Times
October 31, 1997


by Michelle Thornton
Staff Writer

Olympian Celso Kalache and former U.S. National team member David Olbright assisted the men's volleyball team in its pre-season open gyms Oct. 9 and 17.

Due to NCAA rules, the head coach is not allowed to instruct the team as a whole unit, only in small groups. Due to that, head coach Jack Coberly is not allowed to practice with the team.

Although open gyms are available for the players to utilize, Coberly has asked personal friends Kalache and Olbright to come offer the team some "pearls of wisdom."

"Traditionally what has happened at this school is that open gyms have become more play around time and I would like to it to be more semi-formal and bring in some instruction," said Coberly.

During the open gyms the players practice on individual techniques and work on conditioning, both of which are essential to improving the team.

"They [Kalache and Olbright] know so much that pretty much anything they say you have to accept. They know what they are talking about," said freshman opposite hitter Alex Lienert.

Olbright first got started playing volleyball when he joined the Air Force. He then received a full scholarship to play at UCLA, where he played for three years. After that, he played on the U.S. National team. After he graduated with his business and economics degree he coached the women's volleyball team at the University of Houston from 1981 to 1986. Now Olbright resides in the Riverside, Calif., area and is in sales with Jostens.

"ULV has strong players and good talent. I think they will have a good year. They have a good mix of young and old players and with a little luck and some good direction that Jack can give them, they could have one of the best seasons in a while," said Olbright of ULV's team.

"I thought it was good. Sometimes you get out of the frame of mind and forget the basics. It was really good for Dave to come and help," said senior setter Morgan Coberly.

Kalache has had quite an experience as well. After watching the 1968 Brazilian national team members play he knew he wanted to play volleyball in the Olympics, although he was not successful at first, he was persistent.

Kalache was cut twice from the team before he finally made it in 1970.

Persistence was one lesson Kalache tried to relay to ULV's team.

"Be persistent. If you love something go after it. Keep your goals and stay focused. You might face obstacles but you will achieve it," said Kalache.

Both Olbright and Kalache worked with the team on passing, blocking, and serving abilities. Olbright focused on serving, commenting that players should keep a wide lower base with their legs in order to keep their balance which results in more control over their serves.

Kalache focused on passing, telling players to concentrate on leg work and positioning themselves in the right spot and keeping their arms in a platform formation to allow them a flatter surface, which in turn helps with keeping control over the ball.

"They have good physical ability but not a lot of height. They have to concentrate on court play, serving and passing, to compensate for net play. If they pass well and have a fast offense then they will have control of the net," said Kalache.

Kalache now resides in Orange and works for UPS.

"The practices are good because we can't have Jack coach us during pre-season, so practicing with these guys is like getting a full team practice and then some," said outside hitter Chris Peterson.