Reflections on volleyball coaching

I coached the midget girls volleyball team during my time at Beurling Academy, which was a great learning experience and very enjoyable. I kept a daily log of my thoughts at the end of the day and occasionally wrote about my volleyball team. Here are excepts which concern coaching.

Sept 10: I will be coaching a midget girls volleyball team during my time at Beurling. I’m very excited to coach but a little bit intimidated by the organization it will take.

Sept 12: Today was my first volleyball practice – nice to meet the girls on my team and get a sense of their skill level. As in the classroom, I will need to make the practices both fun (to motivate the girls) and educational (to improve their playing ability). I sense that I will need to do more preparation for my next practice, as I quickly found that my library of volleyball drills and games require a base skill that some of my players don’t have.

Sept 18: I also held a volleyball practice on Tuesday, when I realized an issue that I will have to deal with throughout the volleyball season: attendance at practices. For various reasons—other sports, parents had to pick them up at the bell, they didn’t hear the announcement, and so on—a few of the players I am counting on for our games were not at the practice, and I feel somewhat powerless (given that I don’t have enough players to make game time contingent on showing up at practice) to improve attendance.

Sept 24: The best part of my day was taking my girls volleyball team to Lakeside Academy in Lachine (too far away!) for a volleyball tournament. The girls gave a great effort and we had a fantastic time, and I felt like the effort of paperwork and hoop-jumping was worth it after all. (That being said, leaving the house at 7:30am and returning at 7:30pm did wear on me a bit.)

Sept 27: The rest of the day was fairly uneventful … I ran a too-small volleyball practice (it turns out many of my players also belong to the soccer team).

Oct 1: Monday afternoon, I also took my volleyball girls to HS Billings (in Chateauguay!) for a tournament. We didn’t do very well but had fun in general.

Oct 4: After school Thursday was volleyball practice, which has become a good thing to look forward to after school.

Oct 10:. I took an early dismissal to take my volleyball team by metro to our last away volleyball tournament. Though we aren’t the best team and only won one of our games, the girls continue to have fun. I’m very excited about our season-ending home tournament on Oct 25!

Oct 25: We ended the year with a fun (for everyone) and stressful (for me) home tournament. I have a new level of appreciation for the coaches who organize home games–in addition to worrying about my own team and how they were doing, I was trying to get the nets set up, consulting with the referees in French, and greeting and directing the other coaches. I was lucky to have the help of Rene from Physical Education, who took care of the nets while I managed the crowds.

After the games got going, things went very smoothly. Our girls again didn’t fare so well, but they showed remarkably good attitudes. We were rewarded afterwards with bagels!

In reflection on the short season, I have to give credit to the few parents who came out to watch and drive to games. Several parents came up to me after they heard I was planning to take the girls on public transit to the first game, saying “why didn’t you ask us? I’m happy to drive!” Since then, they have been indispensable to me and the team.

I also have to give the girls their due. While they occasionally frustrated me by not showing up for practice, they were overall very positive and enthusiastic girls and a good first team. I certainly continue to be stoked on coaching in the future!