Thinking outside the box means thinking inside the service box for Skyler Williams. The junior middle for the Hawaii women’s volleyball team is determined to become more proficient at serving, a skill she rarely used in high school and one used sparingly as a Rainbow Wahine (no serve attempts as a freshman, 49 as a sophomore with three aces and 16 errors).
“I’m feeling way more confident about my serve,” Williams said after Monday’s practice in Gym I. “All our middles can do the same thing, hit and block. I asked myself how else can I get on the court?
“It was, ‘OK, work on my serve.’ I don’t want to sub out. I want to play all around. I’m feeling really confident.”
What has changed is her contact point. The 6-foot-1 Williams jumps well and is coming down on the ball, resulting in something akin to a sinker ball in baseball.
“I guess you call it a float downball,” said Williams, who prepped at Mayfair High in Bellflower, Calif. “I noticed that if I go up on it, it sails. I’m trying to go down on it so it drops. I want to be able to serve if Coach Rob (Robyn Ah Mow) needs me.”
Ah Mow has noticed the improvement in Williams’ serving and defense.
“She came in her freshman year not knowing how to pass a ball,” Ah Mow said. “Now she can pass. She can play defense, not to the point where we’re going to put her there all the time, but we know if she needs to stay in, she can serve and play defense.
“She couldn’t serve when she got here. Now she can. She serves bullets.”
Sometimes stray ones. During one of Monday’s drills, Ah Mow was standing on a box at the net, recycling volleyballs back to servers.
She was nearly knocked off by one of Williams’ errant serves.
“Oh, no, I almost hit Coach Rob,” Williams said.
No harm. No foul. Just go back to behind the baseline to serve.