The cautiously optimistic coach

posted by Jeff | Monday, January 24, 2005, 11:34 PM | comments: 0

Normally this is something I'd write on my volleyblog, but this is more about me than volleyball.

I'm trying to be cautiously optimistic about my volleyball team's potential this year. I've got ten girls this year, doing 17 open again. Generally at this point I'm optimistic mostly as a self-defense mechanism, but this year they're giving me legitimate reason to be optimistic. Tonight and yesterday we easily dominated playing against our 18's. There are a number of reasons I'm feeling good about things...

  • My setter is better than I thought she was. I mean a lot better. I'm starting to see her leadership qualities come out, and she pretty much does anything I throw at her.
  • Defensively, it's not an uphill battle. My libero is super solid, and even my middles can pass. It's not just serve receive either, these kids have outstanding court vision.
  • Strong transition. This one is another surprise. These kids get off the net and never stop. They move right into the next play. It's the fast style of play that I crave, and they can do it all day long.
  • My "projects" are coming along very quickly. Every year I know after tryouts that I'm going to have to work hard to get certain kids up to where they should be. This year there's one in particular that I saw during the high school season quite a bit, and recognized her potential. She was a risk, but I've got her hitting correctly and she says she can actually feel the difference.
  • Related to that, I think I'm finally getting to be a better skills coach. I've always felt deficient in that area, but especially by looking at video, I'm finally starting to get the mechanics and translate it into useful instruction.
  • These kids have history. About half of them were together as 14's when they went to nationals. Every last one of them played for our club last year. I think only two never played together. They have instant chemistry and they all seem to get along really well.
  • They're talkers. I've yet to tell them, "Hey, speak up!" Even between plays, there's a lot of encouragement and hand slapping, all of it unsolicited.

I'm sure there are other things, but those are some of the main points. It just feels right, and to see them in action, it's all business while remaining fun. They seem to have high expectations, maybe even as high as my own. It's a refreshing change.

Here's hoping we get a ticket to Eutaw...


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