Thursday, June 19, 2014

Checking In

Happy happy Thursday, everyone! I apologize for my absence these past couple of days - I truly had all the time in the world to post on both Monday and Tuesday, but I had absolutely nothing to write about - and I went home Tuesday evening to attend a Texas Girls Coaches Association (TGCA) Sports Clinic in Houston that took place all day Wednesday and part of Thursday. Though my Wednesday was a long one, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the clinic. Many of the other - veteran - coaches sort of tuned out during some of the UIL (University Interscholastic League) stuff at the beginning, but this being my first time to be on this side of it, I found it fascinating. I never realized just how intricate everything within the UIL is, and it makes me appreciate just how well taken care of I was over at Stratford. My coaches never missed a beat, and there sure are a lot of little hoops they have to jump through!

After almost three hours of UIL information, we broke up into our sports, so I went with the JV coach at Bellaire over to the competition gym at Tompkins High School, where we had the privilege of hearing from Tammy Clark, the head coach at Granbury High School. Her main talking points focused on:


Defense, and

Off-Season (everyone's favorite!)

I think I enjoyed being in a classroom-like setting as a student, because I sure took a lot of notes. Then again, I am a note-taker by nature.

A lot of the drills were geared toward middle school teams, but obviously freshmen aren't that far removed from middle school, and they can easily be made more challenging. I so remember doing many of these drills myself, so they were easy for me to picture, but I also learned of a few new drills that I hope to implement into my future practice plans.

We also had the privilege of listening to Johnny Quinn - a member of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Bobsled team - as our motivational speaker, and these sorts of things can be very hit-or-miss, in my opinion. Well, Johnny was quite the hit, and I walked out of the common gym remembering why I agreed to become a coach in the first place. I had so many wonderful coaches who not only taught me volleyball skills, but above all, taught me life lessons, and if I can do that for even one of my athletes, I'll consider my job a success.

Immediately after the last lecture of the clinic, I hopped on the Westpark Tollway and drove on over to Bellaire, making it just in time for open gym to start. Open gym takes place every Monday and Wednesday night, but since I am in Austin a majority of the summer, I am unable to attend. I decided that since I was home, I would go to one, and I had to smile when I walked into Bellaire and it just smelled like a high school. That may make absolutely no sense to any of you, but it just further reassured me that I made the right decision - especially after running into my high school principal and athletic director at the clinic and becoming nostalgic for all things Stratford (hey, once a Spartan, always a Spartan).

I made it home right around 7:00pm, where I hung out with my parents for a little bit before dragging my tired body off the couch so that I could go on an evening walk around my neighborhood. I wasn't really in the mood, but after sitting all day, I had to get my body moving at least a little bit. And I absolutely love taking walks, so I ended up being glad I did it, as per usual!

This morning once again started bright and early for day two of the clinic, and the morning started off with a discussion of our "legal duties" as a coach, and how we can stay out of the hot seat. Again, coaching is far more intricate than I ever imagined, and I once again applaud my high school coaches for taking such good care of us - y'all rock!

We moved back into the competition gym for two more lectures - from two coaches against whom I played while I was in high school - and I absolutely loved both of their lectures. Their love for the players and for the game just radiated off of them, and I hope I can bottle and display their enthusiasm in my own coaching duties. I especially liked that the Cy-Woods coach talked about keeping it fun, because so many girls will come to you burnt out and just tired of the same old things. I absolutely fell into that category at one point in my career, so I definitely want to keep things fun for my players.

From The Woodlands coach, I loved what she had to say about choosing a setter. I was a setter, so setters will always have a special place in my heart, and I loved that she said they are like "the quarterback of the team." The setter is a part of every play, and according to this coach, they should be athletic, intelligent, and mentally tough, as we tend to have a lot of the blame placed on us. Even when I play now, and it's just for fun, I find myself taking as much of the blame when a mistake is made as I possibly can. I guess it's forever in my blood!

Anyway, I truly enjoyed the clinic, though it definitely made for two long days. It was absolutely worth it, though, because now I don't feel so much like a fish out of water in terms of this coaching thing!

I headed straight back to Austin from Katy, where I attended a 5:45pm spin class at the gym, and then cooked myself a dinner of Brussels sprouts, zucchini, squash, and pork - all topped with salsa (of course).

And that concludes my exciting(?) week. Check back tomorrow for another round of Things I'm Loving!

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