With the anticipation of tryouts right around the corner, athletes at all ages are focused on getting coaches attention and impressing them so they can earn a spot on the team. Here are some key attributes coaches look for according to Revolution Volleyball Academy Director and Badger Region Board member Heather Curley:
Coaches will look for speed, agility, flexibility, coordination, movement and footwork. They look at an athletes build, looking for good strength.
Because volleyball involves a lot of jumping, coaches will look at how high the athlete jumps and how high above the net they can reach.
Most coaches will look at athleticism even more than technique and skill because if the tryout candidate is not a really good athlete, volleyball becomes a lot harder.
The coach will look to see if the athlete demonstrates that they are willing to try new positions, willing to change their current technique and take corrective criticism rather than being set in their ways. Some players have skill and athletic ability but they don’t want to change.
Coaches look for athletes that are vocal, energetic and encouraging with teammates. They will look to see if the athlete has a good volleyball IQ or court sense which involves quick thinking and problem solving. There is a difference between talking – calling for the ball and communicating which includes giving information to their teammates as the game is being played out.
Coaches check to see if you demonstrate leadership by your example, instruction, how you communicate with your teammates and your hard work ethic. Athletes that are leaders make the other athletes around them better.
Personality plays a important role for many coaches because as they are deciding on what players to take on to their team they must consider the kind of team chemistry they wish to build.
My name is Heather Curley, and I am excited to be this year’s Junior Rep on the Badger Region Board of Directors. I am also the Club Director and 10s and 11s coach for Revolution Volleyball Academy and Varsity Assistant Coach at Kettle Moraine High School.
These positions allow me to stay involved in the sport I love all year round. In her column this issue, Heather answered a few questions offered up by Badger Region staff.
What do you want the Region to do more of? Less of?
I would like to see more programs for our younger athletes Particularly 6-9 year olds. There has been an increase in the last couple years but I feel there could be more opportunities. Not necessarily tournaments but more camps, clinics and ways to introduce the sport at those age levels.
What programs are important to you?
The new Serve United program is important to me as I coach 10s and 11s and this program is especially helpful with our younger teams. The best take-away from this program is that parents get the opportunity to step in and know what it’s like to have to make decisions that our officials and athletes have to quickly make. I see too often parents charging the work crew pointing out missed points and supposed bad calls. I hope this eliminates a lot of these issues.
What are your favorite events, and how do you want to see them grow?
The Badger Region Championships is my favorite event run by the Badger Region. It’s awesome to see the players faces in awe as they first step into the Wisconsin Center. The Badger Region does a great job at promoting this event as it continues to grow. With all the players and families that attend this big event it would be great to see some introduction clinics for the younger siblings of the players or possibly education clinics for the parents on volleyball.
Do you like tournaments or do you like practices?
Definitely practice. You can do more instruction. Tournaments will be more enjoyable and less stressful if you have put in the practice time. Practice is simply the only way to get better.
What influenced you to coach?
While loving the many sports I participated in I was always fascinated in the coaching aspect. To this day I remember every coach I had whether it was in a good way or bad way. Too often I hear athletes say “I never learned that skill or position.” I can relate as I grew early and as a fifth grader stood 5’6. I was the middle on the volleyball team and the center on my basketball team. Coaches did not teach me to pass or dribble a ball.
As eighth grade approached and other athletes started to catch up to my height and grow taller I needed to learn those skills and was behind. I knew when I became a coach I would made sure my athletes were taught all fundamentals. I feel a good coach works with each player to be the best athlete they can possibly be by teaching the right techniques while offering valuable lessons about teamwork, hard work and competition and by educating parents on the sport. Which for volleyball is not the sport most parents are familiar with.