Tag Archive | volleyball

First Games of the Season

Friday night arrived and it was an exciting place in our household.  It was game night for the 5th Grade Volleyball team AND my first time as Head Coach.  Frank had volunteered to be my Assistant Coach, since the teacher who was at all of our practices would be keeping score during the game.  I was very glad to know my husband would be by my side during the game, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I was a little worried that we might end up stepping on each other’s toes.  You see, my husband is a big sports fan and I am not.  I don’t care if the kids win or lose, I just want them to play the game.  My husband loves sports so much that he will yell at the refs that are on the TV when he’s at home watching sports.  I often like to remind him that they can’t hear him, but he does it anyway.  🙂

As I have said before, “God works in mysterious ways.” and this time was no exception.  Having Frank by my side during the volleyball games turned out to be just what I needed.  It was good to have two set of eyes on our seven players.  Seven players don’t seem like a lot to deal with, but when you add the new environment, the ref, the cheering crowd and the opposing team, it all adds up to a big amount of noise and action.  So I was very grateful to have my husband standing by my side during the games.

There were many victories that night.  Having all seven players show up for the game was the first victory in my mind.  It seemed to just get better from there.  We won our first game, to my surprise, and it wasn’t an easy win.  Our team would gain some points and then the other team would fight back and catch up.  So it was a true competition, not a massacre by any means.

To my surprise and probably theirs too, my two new recruits had a few good bumps and serves during the game.  In fact, our whole team did and considering the fact that this was the first time the whole team was together, they really did work as a team.  I did my best to talk them up on the sidelines and kept reminding them to “Shake It Off” like the Taylor Swift song goes, whenever they made a mistake and started to get down on themselves.

We walked away from both games that night the victors.  I was pleased and very surprised.  We had only won 1 game last years and that was towards the end of the year.  So to have two games in our pocket at the beginning of our season was pretty sweet.  It was a great way to start out the season and to get my two new recruits hooked enough to stay with the team for the rest of the season.  Maybe this coaching thing will work out after all.  Only time will tell.

Crash Course in Volleyball Anyone?

If you are a Beach Boys fan, you should be familiar with the song “Be True To Your School”.  I don’t know why, but I have always loved that song.  I also know from past experience that our small school community is an awesome group of caring families.  Yet, I was still blown away from the loyalty and willingness that I encountered when I sent out my S.O.S. message.  I asked one mother, who had two children that were old enough, if one of them would be willing to be a stand in for one night.  Luckily for her children they did not have a current sports physical on file, because she was willing to throw them both into the ring with no volleyball experience what so ever.  You gotta love those moms who will volunteer their kids willingly and without their children’s knowledge.  He he he

The next mother I texted had asked her daughter and the daughter was willing to step in because her school needed her.  Her mother had told me that her daughter did not know any of the volleyball rules, but if her school needed her, she would be there for them.  The mother told me that she could tell her daughter was doing it out of an obligation to her school, not because she really wanted to play.  That was a bit of an eye-opener to see a young girl that had that sense of loyalty to her school at such a young age.  That shows how well her parents have raised her.

I had spoken to one of the faculty members earlier in the week who had mentioned that they would have loved for their daughter to play volleyball, but her daughter was not interested.  Well, I decided to send an S.O.S. text to her, hoping that her daughter would stand in for one game.  She asked her daughter again, yes, this mother asked her daughter.  The daughter was willing to try, but she really would feel better if she had someone work with her on what to expect.  So I volunteered to give her a crash course the day before to the game.

There was one other girl that I had spoken to about playing for the night.  She was very eager to try, even though she had never played before.  So I sent her mother a text and got her approval for her to play.  After I had found a second girl that was willing to play Friday night, I got back with the mother of the loyal daughter.  I told the mother that her daughter was welcome to play for our team if she wanted to AND if the mother wanted her to.  I knew that she was a mother of four children and that her girls already participated in gymnastics.  So I didn’t want to put an additional task on her plate.  The mother appreciated my offer, but said that if I was covered for the game, she would prefer her daughter did not add another extra curriculum activity.  I told her I totally understood and appreciated her daughter’s loyalty for her school.

After school Thursday, I arrived with a volleyball in my hand and a plan to give a crash course on volleyball.  I was hoping to use the school’s gym for the practice, however, it was being decorated for Grandparent’s Day.  So I ended up giving the two girls a crash course on the school playground, during a heat advisory.  So the heat was on in more than one way.  It was physically hot outside and I was teaching them everything they needed to know about volleyball 24-hours before their first game.  No pressure!  I decided that if I didn’t die of a heat stroke, then that was a sign that I was making the right move on getting a make-shift volleyball team together.

The crash course practice went pretty well and the two girls were willing to try.  So I gave them the run down on what to expect at the game.  I showed them how to serve and bump the ball.  I gave them a chance to try it a few times.  Then I explained to them that I was not expecting them to be this ultimate superstar on the court.  I was mostly looking for them to be a physical body to help us make a team.  I told them if they hit the ball over the net that was great.  However, if they did nothing more than stand there, I would be okay with that.  The girls were enjoying the crash course so much that they were asking if it was too late to sign up for volleyball.  I told them that they were more than welcome to join the team if they liked playing Friday night’s games.  I left the school that night with a pretty good feeling.  I knew that I had enough players to make up a team.  Whether they won or lost didn’t matter to me, they were going to be able to play the games and that was the most important part.

Bump, Set, Have Fun

Yes, volleyball season has started again and it has consumed the Williams’ household.  My two oldest kids, Marie & Patrick, are on their school’s volleyball teams.  But that’s not all, I have signed up to coach the 5th grade team.  Which means my two youngest are being drug, sometimes willingly, along for the ride.  Oh, but that’s not all, Dad has gotten into the spirit and has agreed to not only be the assistant coach for my son’s team, he has thrown his hat into the ring to be the assistant coach for the 8th grade team too.  I guess he got tired of standing along the line at the games.  (That’s a little inside joke, because last year he was a line judge at the kid’s games.)

This is not my first year of helping with volleyball, but in the past I was the assistant.  Which was perfect for me, because I really am not a competitive person.  In fact, I have no real sports ability what so ever, which is why I was always the student manager when I was in high school.  However, as my favorite saying goes, “God works in mysterious ways” and I found myself in the position as head coach of the 5th grade volleyball team this year.  Okay, not a problem.  I can do this!  I have many returning players from last year.  I just needed to be the adult that was responsible during the practices.  Or so I thought.

We started out with 7 kids signed up to play and out of that 7, only one was a brand new player.  We did our best to get practices going, but inevitably a couple were always absent from one practice or another.  That’s fine, I worked with the ones that could make it.  Then it happened, three days away from our first official game, I find out that two of my players can’t make it that night.  That’s when I go into the recruiter mode.  I have a team with 5 players and one of them is brand spankin’ new to the game.  Technically, we could play with 5 players, but we would have to give up a point every time the absent player was up to serve.  That’s okay, the kids would still be able to play.  But what if one of my players became sick the night of the game?  We couldn’t play with four players.  We’d have to forfeit.

Instantly, my personal goal was to make sure that this team would be able to play their first game, not as a coach, but as a mother.  My son and his teammates really wanted to play and I wanted to make sure that was going to happen.  So as soon as I heard about my absent players, I started sending text to parents that had qualifying students.  I couldn’t get just anybody to fill in at the game, they had to be in the right age limit and have a physical on file.  Otherwise, I would have been sticking my 8th grade daughter on the team, even if she had to play on her knees to make it fair.  Heck, my two little ones had been at every practice and could bump as well as some of my players, so I would have gladly suited them up and had them play if I could.

However, I had to abide by the rules and make sure my players were legal players.  We are playing in a Catholic league after all.  So like I said, I started texting parents and asking students if they wanted to step in for at least this one game.  Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine what would happen next.

Assistant Volleyball Coach (Life After Layoff – Chapter 29)

Remember my last post, where I stated that I have no athletic ability in my bones?  That is still true, but I love my son enough to step out of my box and be the Assistant Volleyball Coach for his team.  Boy, I hope one day he realizes how much I love him.

My two oldest, Marie and Patrick, played on the volleyball team at school last year.  However, this year they had to split the grades apart and there was a possibility that Patrick’s team wouldn’t have a coach.  Since I know how much he loves volleyball, I volunteered to be the Assistant Volleyball Coach.  With the understanding that I know nothing about coaching volleyball.  I told them that if they just needed a warm body to fill that space, I was the woman for the job.  They were okay with that and so now I am finding myself going to volleyball practices every week.

I never really plan on doing a lot at the practices.  Yet, I always end up coming home exhausted from shagging balls.  No matter how tired I am, I have a good feeling about helping out Patrick’s team.  He is on a team of 4th & 5th grade boys and girls.  There are only 2 kids that returned from last year, so we mostly work on fundamentals for the new players.

It has been quite an experience and I’m glad I volunteered for the job.  I may not be able to show them what to do on the court, but I can tell them how to behave.  I can teach them about sportsmanship and teamwork.  So you see, even when I’m not substituting, I am still out there teaching the kids something.