It makes life easy for a coach when a team takes it upon itself to be assertive and proactive.
Glenbard West boys volleyball coach Christine Giunta-Mayer finds herself in that situation.
Giunta-Mayer has a squad that wants to get better and is not afraid to make it happen in practice.
Take this week, for example. A recent point of emphasis for the Hilltoppers was to be efficient in their attack and not make unforced errors.
Glenbard West took those lessons out on the floor and easily dispatched Hinsdale Central in two games, 25-12, 25-6 in West Suburban Conference Silver Division match played on Tuesday evening in Glen Ellyn.
"We've been saying, 'If it is not there, don't hit (the ball) and do something else with it -- be smart.' The boys were," Giunta-Mayer said. "We also served outstanding today. We didn't beat ourselves."
The Hilltoppers never trailed in either game as they consistently worked to establish their middle attackers, junior Galen Horvath and sophomore Parker Swartz.
Horvath and Swartz combined for 8 kills.
"We came out aggressive and played with the right amount of intensity," said Horvath, who had 6 kills. "It was nice to see the way we came out and took care of things."
Giunta-Mayer has been pleasantly surprised by the development of both of her middles.
"Horvath really needed this," Giunta-Mayer said. "It was a big game for him. Both middles go about their business in completely different ways, but they both work harder than anyone."
Glenbard West senior outside Johnny Davis added five kills as he steadied the Hilltoppers' attack, while Kyle Blane added four.
Glenbard West (14-4, 3-0) is in the middle of a busy stretch after having gone 3-2 this past weekend at the Brother Rice Invitational. The Hilltoppers will be tested again at this weekend's Benet Invitational -- with a match looming against conference foe Lyons Township next week.
"When you play four or five matches in a day, it helps the team really identify areas of strengths and weaknesses, which is what we did last weekend," Horvath said.
Glenbard West's ability to keep the ball in play and few mistakes really put pressure on the Red Devils, and Hinsdale Central did not respond.
The Red Devils (3-12, 0-3) struggled with the fundamentals from passing to keeping their serves on the floor and in play.
"We played very poorly," Hinsdale Central coach Alan McCloud said. "You can only win if you play well. It's not about what the (opponent) is doing -- it is about what we are doing on (our) side of the net. We just couldn't do anything with the ball when it came to us. (Glenbard West) didn't have to earn many of the points. We shot ourselves in the foot. We have to get back to the basics in practice."Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.