Bay Roberts vol­ley­baller a stu­dent of the game

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Watch­ing tape and study­ing how oth­ers play the game is an in­te­gral part to the de­vel­op­ment of any young ath­lete.

See­ing how oth­ers ap­proach cer­tain sit­u­a­tions are all things a young­ster can take and ap­ply to them­selves in the prac­tice gym or dur­ing games.

It’s called be­ing a stu­dent of the game and it’s some­thing Bay Roberts’ Dy­lan Mug­ford tries to do ev­ery chance he gets.

The Level I stu­dent at As­cen­sion Col­le­giate spends be­tween two-three hours a day scour­ing YouTube and other stream­ing ser­vices for vol­ley­ball clips, prac­tice drills and other pieces of video in­for­ma­tion.

“I see how they prac­tice, do drills and ap­ply it to my game,” said Mug­ford.

He prefers to watch games fea­tur­ing Brazil, but re­ally he’ll take a chance on any­thing that can help him get bet­ter.

It’s a ded­i­ca­tion to the game that has paid div­i­dends for the young ath­lete. Last month, Mug­ford was named to the province’s un­der-17 pro­vin­cial team.

They’ll travel to St. John’s for this year’s East­ern Elite Cham­pi­onships July 29-30, where they’ll square off with some of the best tal­ent the At­lantic prov­inces have to of­fer.

Mug­ford learned of his selection on May 14 via email. He ad­mit­ted he was ner­vous prior to open­ing the email. But, he was glad he did. “It was pretty great to see it come in,” he said. “I got mes­sages af­ter that from some friends who play too.

“I told my mom right away.”

Quite the leap Mug­ford’s ath­leti­cism plays di­rectly into the strength of his vol­ley­ball game.

The young­ster boasts in im­pres­sive 51’ ver­ti­cal leap, which more of­ten than not puts him above the com­pe­ti­tion, lit­er­ally. That means he can jump roughly 4.25 feet in the air.

A ver­ti­cal leap is mea­sured from a stand­ing jump. Chances are when Mug­ford gets a good head of steam; the power gen- er­ated could launch him even higher.

“My jump­ing abil­ity is one of my strengths,” said Mug­ford.

That might be a bit of an un­der­state­ment. Play­ing the power po­si­tion it’s his job to pun­ish op­po­nents from the left side.

Be­ing able to get that high in the air al­lows him to send the ball at his op­po­nent with im­pres­sive force and at un­ex­pected an­gles. It also gets him above and around the de­fence.

Test­ing him­self

When you get the chance to go against the best at your age group, some­times you can’t help but look for­ward to it.

As an ath­lete, it lets you know where you stand and what you need to do to get bet­ter. That’s how Mug­ford sees it any­way.

“It’ll be great to test my­self against those guys,” he said.

That’s just the com­pe­ti­tion side of things. In­ter-pro­vin­cial tour­na­ments like this pro­vide ath­letes with the op­por­tu­nity to net­work with their peers from dif­fer­ent parts of the province and the Mar­itimes.

It also pro­vides them with the chance to learn a lit­tle bit about team chem­istry. You might find your­self play­ing along­side some­one you haven’t played with be­fore or you’re not ex­actly the big­gest fan of.

Yet, you need to be able to play with th­ese peo­ple if you want to be suc­cess­ful. That means learn­ing a lit­tle bit about work­ing to­wards a com­mon goal.

“Just play­ing with peo­ple I’m used to play­ing against and learn­ing how to build team chem­istry might be the big­gest thing (I bring back),” said Mug­ford.

PHOTO BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER/THE COM­PASS

Bay Roberts’ Dy­lan Mug­ford was named to this province’s un­der-17 male vol­ley­ball team last month.

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