Tryout day has arrived

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, November 17, 2004, 3:04 PM | comments: 0
I didn't sleep a bit last night. Today is tryout day, when I choose the nine girls that I'll spend six months with, hopefully shaping them into better people and athletes, and for my own private needs, get a team to nationals.

What's exciting about it as of this moment is that absolutely anything is possible. There's no telling which kids from the area will show up, how they'll work together, how they'll work with me, etc. It scares the hell out of me.

I had a couple of kids that I knew tryout early on Sunday, so I think I've got my libero and one middle lined up already. That leaves a setter, another middle and five outside hitters to fill in the gaps. If just three of those outsides are big, and can really work my offense, it could be the year.

I'm insecure about a lot of things, but my lack of certainty that I know what I'm doing as a coach probably affects me more than anything. I don't think the kids key in on it, but I'm my own harshest critic. I think I'm finally coming to terms with that though, given the realization that every year gets better and better, despite having I think a fairly level skill plateau with the kids I've had. I'm comfortable pushing the limits of what you can do with the sport, and adapting it to what the kids are capable of. My teams have all been pretty firmly in the middle of the rankings for our region (one of the toughest in the country).

This year's challenge is to figure out what motivates the kids, and gets them to believe in themselves and their abilities, both as a team and individually. That's tough because I think you need to invest a lot into it emotionally yourself, something I haven't been able to do well in past years because of one shitty job after another.

So tonight I begin, for the seventh time, that journey toward a rewarding and successful season. Hopefully this journey will end in Salt Lake City.


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