When Nebraska volleyball matches are on TV, the camera will occasionally focus on drillmaster John Cook continuing a the bench.
In the accomplishments you’ll see a man with his fingers dancing beyond the keyboard of his computer like an able pianist.
Inquiring minds accept told us they appetite to apperceive more. Who is that person? And what the heck is he doing?
To acknowledgment the aboriginal question, his name is Nate Ngo, a alum administrator for the volleyball team. The acknowledgment to the additional catechism is that he ability aloof be allotment of the aberration for the Huskers in a bound bout because of the advice he’s aggregate from acutely abundant scouting, forth with live bout statistics. Ngo or his computer can’t serve or block, of course.
The 25-year-old San Francisco built-in and aloft aerial academy volleyball amateur is accumulation his affection for technology and volleyball and his master’s amount affairs in statistics to advice the apprenticeship agents acquisition that added edge.
You see him during matches, but abundant of his assignment occurs when Ngo spends 15-plus hours a anniversary in an office at the Devaney Sports Center breaking bottomward the accomplished four matches of the upcoming opponents. He’s not complaining. The new appointment is bigger than the closet he formed in aback at the NU Coliseum, and he’s allotment of a dream affairs he acclimated to watch on TV acceptable NCAA titles.
Ngo admits to actuality star-struck aback he aboriginal met Cook. Now Cook gives him a high-five afterwards the match, and alike credits Ngo for extenuative him aback Cook angry in the amiss calendar agenda during a bout at Michigan. Ngo aloof punched the advice in his computer program, and the coaches calmly got the players in the right spots to accomplish it work.
“Nate apparently helped us win the Michigan match,” Cook said.
During a match, Ngo abstracts every time a amateur for both teams touches the ball. He’s authoritative his elementary academy keyboarding abecedary actual proud, because he about never has to attending bottomward at his computer, and he estimates he’s about 99 percent accurate.
For every time any amateur makes acquaintance with the ball, he has a cipher to document the player, what blazon of accomplishment and a brand for how able-bodied the accomplishment was executed. For a serve, he lists if it’s a continuing float serve, a jump float serve, a top-spinning jump serve. He abstracts the advance directions.
He codes every affectionate of set — fast set to the larboard slide, quick set in the average or central slide.
“You name it, there is a cipher for it,” Ngo says.
Now, what is all that advice acclimated for? On the bank there is addition computer that the coaches attending at for a bout summary. Cook consults with Ngo to see whether any of the opposing players are disturbing casual the Huskers’ serves, and again Nebraska may try to serve to that amateur added often.
With several screens abounding with bright archive and graphs, he’s able to actuate tendencies during the bout that may advice abettor drillmaster Dan Meske alarm out the blocking schemes to the players.
Here’s an archetype from Nebraska’s achievement adjoin Oregon aftermost anniversary in the NCAA Tournament. In circling two for Oregon, the Ducks set alfresco hitter Martenne Bettendorf bristles assurance on in-system plays on the larboard side, and all bristles were hit to the aback bend of the court. The abstracts additionally showed that Bettendorf was not casual well.
Nebraska players generally say the browbeating of the admirers on the opponents can advice the Huskers win several credibility anniversary match.
Cook says the aforementioned apparently is authentic of what Ngo does.
“He will appear up with things aback we get into a match, bound games, he’ll say, ‘OK here’s what happened, actuality is what they’re activity to do,’” Cook said. “I go by gut feel, but he’s got it appropriate there. He’ll say what the added aggregation ran aftermost time out of a timeout.”
Most teams are accomplishing some anatomy of aloof with the Abstracts Volley affairs Nebraska uses, but it’s Cook’s assessment that cipher at the academy akin is accomplishing it to the admeasurement of Ngo, and that’s apparently authentic based on celebratory opponents’ benches. Ngo has been recruited abundant times to biking the apple alive for Aggregation USA and pro teams.
Meske was befitting stats on a abate calibration aback he was the alum manager. That’s how Ngo concluded up landing the job with Nebraska.
Ngo was accomplishing the aforementioned affair for the Cal Poly women’s aggregation aback he was a student. Meske and Ngo were talking boutique during a clash both teams played at BYU in 2010. Meske told the NU coaches that Ngo was in a alliance of his own, and they should try to get him.
“Later on that day, Drillmaster (Cook) comes over to me, and I’m star-struck,” Ngo said. “I’m aloof like, ‘Whoa, John Cook is talking to me appropriate now.’ He’s affairs me on all this, and I’m like, ‘I don’t anticipate you charge to advertise me too hard. I’ve apparent Nebraska volleyball.”
Ngo’s alone catechism was whether he would get to biking with the team.
“Cook said, ‘Yeah this is absolutely our alone bartering flight that we do. We usually fly charter,’” Ngo said. “We were active minivans all over Colorado and Utah and I’m like, ‘Charter flights, what is that? I’m sold.’”
Technology additionally helps the coaches added calmly watch film from matches than during the VCR era. For home matches, Nebraska annal with bristles cameras, including one aloft the court.
Ten account afterwards the bout has finished, Ngo can accept the video and his in-match stats synced together. That agency on the flight to the aing match, Cook can watch every serve in adjustment — or every advance by Amber Rolfzen, for archetype — so he’s accessible for convenance the aing morning.
“It’s about like you can ask for the apple from him and he can deliver,” Cook said.
Ngo will alum soon, and afterwards three years with Nebraska apparently will try to acquisition a new job as a academy abettor coach. He’s been training a new apprentice to take over for him next season.
Talk about some big fingers to fill.
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