It always feels like a really long time between the last practice of the previous season and the first practice of the new season. But here we are! The first practice of the 2021-2022 season. Before practice, we had a team meeting to go over club policies and my expectations for them. I gave them two goals I want them to strive for and as the season progresses, I will add more goals.
At the club where I coach, our first practice is a joint practice with 3 other teams. We call this our CAJ Way practice. All of the teams are learning the same foundational skills and drills and learning to communicate using the same language. For the last 40 minutes, we play games competitive against the other teams.
I like for my teams to be HYPE. I put a lot of energy into my teams and I like for them to meet my energy level. That is my personal preference and the culture I like for my teams to have. It usually takes them a couple of weeks to warm up to each other and to getting comfortable being hype.
But tonight… My team was SO HYPE. I’ve never had a team that was this HYPE at the very first practice. They were genuinely having fun playing with each other and it was as if they’ve known each other for years.
At the end, one player said “It’s like we’re already best friends”. Other players echoed that and also added “We feel like we already trust each other on the court. The Setters trust the passers and the passers trust the Setters.” They set a high bar that I never knew was possible with a brand new team.
But that doesn’t mean they are without fault. Each player has things they will need to focus on. For my Middles, staying out of the net and working on their blocking footwork to the pins. For my pins, they all have their hitting tendencies (hitting only to zone 6, hitting only line), but I am excited to work with the pins to build a variety of hitting strategies. My setters really just need to get more comfortable with each hitter and they both need to work on bringing their Right Side sets a little more inside, especially for the left-handed hitter. One of my DS’s is fierce and will sacrifice her body for any ball. The other DS will get there but she will definitely need to gain the confidence to have that mindset.
I am really excited to see what this team does.