She also expects her team to be dedicated, which is why she has had to play enforcer some while still trying to get better herself. She admits it’s not always easy.
“It’s kind of hard when they play around, and don’t take it serious. I take volleyball to heart,” she said. “They’ll be getting out of practice and getting snacks, and I have to warn them, ‘This is volleyball practice, not snack time.’”
Does she mind playing the bad cop?
“No," she laughed. “Not at all.”
Mercer coach Lynn Flach said she has gotten a lot of leadership out of Ford.
“She doesn’t always necessarily do a lot of the talking, but she’ll do a lot of the actions. I don’t have one person on this floor who does all the talking and the actions and is your one complete leader,” Flach said.
“I have several you can take bits and pieces of and you put it together to get that, and Denisha is the enforcer by actions.”
Ford said she still has to work on her hitting and serves, but said she has improved from last season, and even since the beginning of this one.
“Even from the beginning of the season to now, there were a couple of times we were on one side of the court where the ball was set to tight and she tipped it over and had to stay out of the net, and she did it. At the beginning of the season, she wouldn't have,” the Mercer coach said. “She has gained a whole lot of body control, and when you’re at the net that’s really important.
“Because it’s working, I haven’t corrected her on it. I don’t want her to stress and worry. I have confidence in her and I think she has gained a lot of confidence this year, which has helped her tremendously.”
There are still plenty of things to work on with such a young team that has just two wins and no seniors. But Ford thinks the biggest key has nothing to do with fundamentals.
“Coming to practice to every day, don’t miss practice,” she said. “No excuses. You should be here or you shouldn’t be on the team.”