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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, February 3, 2010

MPSF teams clicking together in volleyball

By Stephen Tsai
HawaiiWarriorBeat.com Editor

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Shelton Tang

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The big fat geek wedding between technology and scouting is taking place in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation volleyball.

An agreement among MPSF teams calls for the sharing of detailed video cutups of volleyball matches.

Now, with a click of a mouse, a coach can see, for instance, every serve of an opposing player broken down into several situational categories.

"It is a video geek kind of thing," said Hawai'i assistant coach Shelton Tang, whose Warriors host UCLA tomorrow night and Friday night in the Stan Sheriff Center.

A couple of years ago, MPSF volleyball teams reached an agreement to share videos of their matches, similar to the exchange program between college football teams.

For each MPSF match, a camera is situated behind an end line. Using wireless remote, an assistant coach can use a laptop computer to receive the video feed from the camera, and then code each aspect of every play.

Every serve, Tang said, can be separated into such categories as jump serve, float, jump float, top spin, downball, direction, defensive alignment.

"All of that for just the serve," Tang said. "You can do that for every different action, like hitting or blocking or digging or free balls."

At first, MPSF teams sent the raw footage. Then, the coaches felt, "if we all have codes and commands, why don't we share (the edited) versions."

Tang, who sits on the UH bench, codes each play during the match. The recording is in real time.

"We'll rank the serve, what kind of serve went to the passer, who passes, who hits the ball, how hard it's hit, who blocks, who dig," Tang said. "All of that is coded."

After the match, Tang will compress the footage. It then takes about three hours to upload the video into a program located on the Mainland. The compressed file of the match uses about 1.8 gigabytes.

Tang said it takes the opposing coach about three hours to download the video.

The information proves useful in scouting players.

"If I want to see a player's serve, instead of clicking on that and seeing the whole rally, I can see (up to) three seconds after contact," Tang said.

UCLA coach Al Scates, whose team travels to Hawai'i today, said: "I can watch the (Hawai'i) video on the plane."

Tang was the video coordinator for the Rainbow Wahine volleyball team for 15 years.

This past fall, he moved down the hall, serving as the Warriors' assistant coach in specializing in scouting and coordinating the video program.