In our series of blogs from first year coaches, here is the narrative of a coach who struggled with the delicate synergy of head and assistant coaches. In this case, it affected both the coaches, the team and the season.
During Festival my logic was very simple. All the kids should play equally since the tournament did not affect our region tournaments. She had different ideas such as taking into account the flow of the team and didn’t want the girls to get confused. As the games went on I grew more agitated and it showed on the court. She started arguments in front of the kids and would just try to take over the whole team. I did not want to argue in front of the kids so I really didn’t say much until after the tournament. I did say something but she insisted everything was great. As practices and region tournaments went on we, as a team, went downhill. We started to lose and some practices were a nightmare. She would tattle on me to the assistant director about complaints from parents that she was getting. In turn the assistant director would tell the director who would then tell me so I was hearing everything last.
The worst part of this was she was telling me on the court that I was teaching them wrong when I was instructing their form and this was in front of the kids. I took her aside and asked if she would stop. Well it did not stop. I thought I could take care of the situation myself but the practices became worse and games got worse. The friction between us was obviously affecting the kids’ play during games. Practices were unorganized as were rotations.
At the beginning of the season I took the advice of a friend who said white boards are great. So I would write down everything we would do during the practice with a few words of encouragement as well. After the Festival Fiesta Tournament she did not like this idea as she felt I was trying to take over the team. I would call other clubs wanting to scrimmage and set those up however she wanted me to call her to ask her before I set up any scrimmages.
We finally had a meeting with our director. I never once threw her under the bus as I am not that type of person and never will be. I only told my director that she has great potential and gets along with the girls. As far as our season goes, I thought we did o.k. but should have done much better. The friction between us caused our team to slip and our girls never meshed as a team.
Coaching indoor volleyball has been a challenge since I am a beach player. After learning by taking classes, watching other coaches, researching online, the game became easier and it flowed better for me. The best part of this experience was to coach and teach these young ladies the fundamentals of the game. Since most of the girls already knew the basic skills it was easier to teach more complicated skills. Teaching girls to jump serve that they’ve never tried before and to watch them succeed at it made me feel that I accomplished what I set to do. My daughter was also on this team which made it fun and challenging at the same time. I felt I was hard on her the most but warned her at the beginning of the season what was expected.
I felt so attached to the girls and actually tried to stay away from the parents as much as I could. I would speak to my girls individually and get there feedback as to what their goals are. I thought getting to know them on a personal level is important such as what there favorite animal or food is. They would always have fun even though some practices were tough and long. I really liked their honesty with me and they trusted me to help them reach those goals they set.