Train with the Best

Pepperdine Athletics
The legendary Marv Dunphy gives an interview with ESPN2.

Every summer for the past 35 years, the legendary Marv Dunphy has hosted a boys and a girls setter/hitter camp at Pepperdine University where he has been the men’s volleyball head coach for 30 years. Trying to become better volleyball players, campers spend nine or more hours a day in the gym and helping them are at least 25 Division I and former Team USA coaches.

Under Dunphy’s coaching, the Men’s National Team won Olympic gold in 1988. That year Dunphy received the coach of the year award from the FIVB. He was then inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1994. He’s a co-founder of Gold Medal Squared and regularly conducts coaching clinics for the company.

Other coaches who have made frequent appearances at the Dunphy camp include Beau Daniels and Rod Wilde. A former All-American at Pepperdine with a degree in sports medicine, Daniels is now a certified strength and conditioning coach. Wilde, an assistant at Pepperdine, was also a national champion while playing at the school, again in 1986 as a coach, and was a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team in 1982-84 and 1989-91. Pepperdine players from the men’s and women’s teams act as councilors and demonstrators during camp.

The Marv Dunphy Volleyball Camp is conducted with the precision and intensity you would expect from a former national team coach. The day starts early in the morning with an hour and a half of setter-specific training with Coach Daniels. Then after breakfast everyone joins in for the three hours before lunch. “We used to have camp for the setters and hitters separately,” said Dunphy. “But then we realized, these setters need someone to set!” So now the two positions train together, for everyone’s benefit. Things pick up again between 2 and 5 p.m. and then after dinner from 6:30 to 10 p.m., after which it’s back to the dorms and lights out.

When asked if he approaches training high school athletes any differently from his players at Pepperdine or on the national team, Dunphy said, “Not one ounce. I think my methods work and I don’t change them.

“I enjoy these camps as much as anything I do. I could work with these young people every day.” Lucky for him, people are still clambering to sign up, and it looks like he’ll be able to keep doing the camp for years to come.

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Originally published in March/April 2013

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