Rainbow Wahine warm up to new drills
After 30-plus seasons, Dave Shoji is not opposed to rethinking his thinking.
Take warm-ups for the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine volleyball team. Static has become stagnant when it comes to stretching.
Dynamic is in.
"These are the kinds of things that go through constant change," the Rainbow Wahine coach said. "Deciding what's good for you and what's not good for you.
"Even 30 years ago, we were doing what they termed 'static stretches,' where you're holding the stretch. What we're doing now has movement to it and I'm sure it's better. It makes sense when you think about it."
Shoji, beginning his 32nd season, didn't need much convincing to try something different.
"If Tommy Heffernan says this is the way we're gong to do it then I'm good with it," Shoji said of the UH weight-room strength coordinator the past 13 years. "I rely on him to be up on the latest techniques. If he tells me this should be done, it will be put into effect.
"He talked to me about it last spring and it sounded good to me."
Heffernan has become more involved with the Wahine volleyball team this season, running the warm-up drills before most practices. The routine includes ladder runs, side-to-side moving and other agility drills.
"We used the dynamic approach during the offseason and we've kept the same routine now (in fall camp)," Heffernan said. "It seems to work pretty well. Dynamic stretching gets the muscles warm. The body sweats, is warmed up and ready to go.
"It's becoming more popular now and I like the combination of static and dynamic. I can tell you, this team is totally committed to what we're doing."
The warm-up session lasts about 15 minutes and "it actually lets us start off our practices with energy," senior setter Kanoe Kamana'o said. "A lot of it transfers from warming up to Tommy pushing us and everyone pushing each other. There's competition going on during the little warm-up drills.
"It's a better difference. Everyone pushes each other and it goes straight to Dave (Shoji) taking over. Everyone is in the heat of the moment and it's a good transition into practice."
One of the differences in the warm-up routine is more running, short sprints from sideline to sideline. As a kinesiology major, junior hitter Tara Hittle understands the dynamics behind the dynamics.
"I don't really like to run, but it warms us up in a good way," Hittle said. "The other kind of stretching supposedly makes your muscles go to sleep and you don't want muscles sleeping when you're trying to get ready to play.
"I like it, especially in the morning, when I'm not ready to practice. After warm-ups I'm ready to go."
And that's the whole purpose.
"You've just got to make sure you don't overdo it in the beginning," Kamana'o said. "You could get hurt.
"It's good to get some of the traditional stretching in, too, the 10-second holding. Tommy's is more of a quick-twitch muscle stretching. Both are good."
Dynamic stretching uses speed of movement, momentum and active muscular effort to bring about a stretch, and is believed to reduce muscle stiffness which can lead to muscle tears.
Static stretching, however, is beneficial in increasing range of motion.
"I think it would be hard for an outsider to see any difference," Shoji said, "but there haven't been any pulled muscles or hamstrings, and just one minor abdominal strain (since fall camp began).
"It seems to be working. We're a little banged up right now, the usual bumps and bruises. And this might have helped prevent some injuries."
Notes: Shoji said he'll make a determination tomorrow as to how many players to keep for the season. He's currently at 18 and "I like that number," said Shoji, who had that many last season, including two redshirts. ... Hawaii lost one more libero candidate when sophomore transfer Spenser Rigg decided not to continue. The Punahou graduate led Division II Barry last season with 4.12 digs. ... Hawaii officially returns to single practices tomorrow with the start of school.
UH's Mason could miss season opener
Hawaii senior outside hitter Sarah Mason sprained her left ankle during a scrimmage yesterday afternoon at the Stan Sheriff Center and could miss Friday's opening volleyball match against Pepperdine.
Mason collided with junior hitter Tara Hittle when both went to attack the same ball, with Mason landing awkwardly.
"It's a Grade-1 sprain," Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said. "It's not as bad as last year, but I don't know what it means. I'm not sure she'll be back (by Friday)."
Last season, Mason missed 11 matches with a sprained right ankle. She missed five after injuring the ankle in the first match of the season against Nebraska on Aug. 26, then another six after re-injuring the ankle in the Nov. 9 match at Utah State. Mason also missed six matches while playing at Oregon her sophomore year.
No. 7 Hawaii opens with No. 19 Pepperdine on Friday and Saturday. Earlier yesterday, Shoji said Mason would be in the starting lineup at right-side hitter.
Shoji said earlier last week that No. 2 on the depth chart on the right is sophomore Jessica Keefe. Freshman middle Amber Kaufman has also practiced on the right. Mason has also been hampered by a torn labrum in her right (hitting) shoulder.