Volleyball player of year leads by example

Published 6:44 pm Thursday, December 27, 2012

Of all the intangibles it takes to propel a team to great heights, outstanding senior leadership is undoubtedly important.

Truly great teams always have that one senior player that steps up and displays effort on the floor, as well as acting as a mentor figure to younger players. Such was the case with Jemison’s Shelby Griffin, The Clanton Advertiser’s 2012 Volleyball Player of the Year.


Coach Leighsa Robinson said the team’s postseason push to a Runner-Up finish in the AHSAA 4A Area 7 tournament, and a berth in the super regional tournament in Montgomery was due in large part to Griffin’s leadership.

“We knew we were going to have great senior leadership,” she said. “[Shelby]’s a good leader on and off the floor. She works hard and expects everyone to work as hard as she does. She has a great work ethic.”

Griffin tallied 123 kills and 26 blocks on the season, but her versatility on the floor is what made her such a valuable asset to her team. Her role as a middle blocker keeps her at the front line close to the net most of the time, which makes her 120 digs incredible.

“I’m just trying to get to all the balls and pass them,” said Griffin. “I’m just trying to do what’s right for the team.”

Robinson was quick to point out that these weren’t easy to get to, either.

“A lot of them came from balls that were in the middle of the floor, that she’d go dig up,” said Robinson. “Her agility and quickness allows us to play wider defense and cover more area of the floor. She’s also an excellent server; she didn’t get to serve much this year.”

Arguably the area where Griffin is most valuable is training the younger players trying to gain experience.

“I show them the way to do it,” she said. “[I tell them] ‘Just one step at a time and you’ll get it.’”

Robinson said Griffin’s eagerness to work was what made her a leader.

“When it comes time to practice, she always works hard,” said Robinson. “She always helps younger players. She’s a person of character; very coachable. She’s a selfless player who wants to do whatever it takes for the team to be successful.”