Even in the heat of the summer some individuals are still thinking about volleyball. The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) recently released new rule changes for the sport for the 2007-08 school year.
Among these changes is likely one that could have a big effect on the game. Under the new guidelines put out by MSHSAA, schools may now chose to play a best-of-five set contest. The normal match in high school to this point was a best of three match.
There are regulations to this new rule though. First, it is entirely optional, so schools may choose to still play with the best-of-three set format. Second, this type of format may only be used in head-to-head matches; they cannot be used in tournaments, triangulars (three teams) or quads (four teams).
Also, to be used, both schools must agree to the format. Finally, if a fifth set is needed to decide the match, the score to win drops to 15 as opposed to the usual 25, although teams must still win by two.
This new type of format is most common at the collegiate level.
When asked about the new rule changes Cassville Ladycat Head Volleyball Coach Mandy Henry had this to say:
"Having played three out-of-five's in college, I know that as a player you have to be in much better shape physically, but also mentally. I think it would be interesting to see kids on the varsity level playing three out of five."
Henry also has some concerns about the new rules.
"It can make the night much longer, and I am afraid most people won't see the point," Henry said.
She also thought that "prospective" numbers might go down due to an added level of stamina that athletes would have to obtain; however, in the long run, the coach sees it as a good change.
"If kids step up to the challenge, I think it will only make programs stronger," Henry added.
The second-year coach would really like to see a rule change on the libero position. Currently under MSHSAA guidelines the libero, a defensive specialist, cannot serve. This restricts coaches from using their libero as often and therefore restricts the position's playing time.
Henry would like to see this rule changed so that the libero may serve if they come to the "one" position in the back row. The libero rule change has passed on a national level and mirrors the collegiate level.