Fritz Sees Improvements on Day 1

Kathleen Ludwig

Aug. 9, 2011

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Before two-a-days started for the Kansas State volleyball team, players and coaches both said they wanted to get on the court so they could work together again to officially start the season. That day came on Tuesday with the start of practices for the 2011 season, and head coach Suzie Fritz said she was glad to coach her team again and glad to see the team work so hard on the first day.

“It was a very productive first day. I don’t think they could have worked any harder during the summer, but it’s hard to make technical corrections by yourself,” Fritz said. “With us not able to coach them in the summer we were a little undisciplined today, but I could see how they got better in a lot of ways during the summer. We really got after it in the gym today. We got an enormous amount accomplished in one day and we got better in one day.”

Getting better was the focus of the players as well, and junior opposite Kathleen Ludwig said she and her teammates could hardly wait to start practice Tuesday.

“At the beginning we were all a little anxious to get going right away. You could tell from the energy that we were ready to get on the court and all eager to learn,” Ludwig said. “I was happy that our coaching staff was finally able to be here with us because they all know so much and when something came up during the summer they couldn’t be here to show us how to make a certain situation better. I’m excited to start the season and have them be able to get their hands on us and coach us again.”

Fritz and her staff put an emphasis on handling the first two contacts throughout the morning and afternoon practices in order to down the road put hitters in a better position to terminate the play and score points. How her team handles the unexpected can translate to better handling those situations and expected situations come match time this season.

“I think we raised the bar for our expectations of what we do after people hit the ball at us,” Fritz said. “The simple explanation is dig and transition. A lot of things can happen on the court and I tell our team it’s not what you do in the good situations that make you great. It’s what you do in the bad situations. Do you have the ability to better the ball and respond to the spontaneous things that happen out there?”

Now in her 11th year as the head coach of the Wildcats, Fritz said the day was a success because the team did improve and her players all pushed each other on the court. After the commitment made during the summer, Fritz was excited to see it in action on the court. She commented that she now has a better understanding of where her team stands in terms of development and what direction to go to continue making improvements as the season progresses.

The season gets underway in a few short weeks when the Wildcats head to the Georgia Tech Courtyard Classic to take on Louisville, Tennessee Tech and host Georgia Tech on Aug. 26-27. The hard work started in the spring and summer during voluntary workouts when Ludwig said the team came together and unified with the goal of getting better.

“We’re all on the same page. I think we all have a general understanding of what our work ethic needs to be,” Ludwig said. “We have an entire team of positive, hard working girls that are very coachable. We are all genuinely excited to learn more about volleyball and compete and ultimately win matches.”