Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Secret City Smashers

I have spent the last year trying to learn as much as I could about club volleyball. Since we did not have a volleyball club here in town I was forced to get what information I could from the web. There are a lot of clubs in southern California and the two things that they all seem to have in common is that they are expensive and they are all a long drive from Ridgecrest. The closest club to our little corner of the world is in Tehachapi which is about 80 miles away.

I really want to try and get my daughter onto a club team during the off season. This would give her something to do other than sit around the house and it will force her to continually improve her athletic and volleyball skills.

I have been talking with a parent of another freshman player for several months about the possibility of starting our own club team. He was researching into what was needed to start a team and trying to find a place to practice he was proceeding under the assumption that if he could get this started that I would be willing to coach the team. I am willing to do that but I was very nervous about it. My limited coaching experience is dealing with middle school aged athletes. The level of club team we were talking about would be a year or two older than that.

Three weeks ago my club team co-planner tells me that there is going to be a club team here in town. When talking to the city about renting their gym for practices the administrator loved the idea of a club team in town. His daughter was on the JV squad at Burroughs High School this year. He apparently didn’t think that the other parent and I were going to be able to pull this off so he went ahead and started up a club himself.

So suddenly there is a 16 and under club team here in Ridgecrest. This is a couple years too old for my daughter who could play on a 14 and under team. But it had two desirable things that I really liked. It was much cheaper than most other club teams and it is right here in town. So I contacted the administrator about getting my daughter on the team.

The administrator was reluctant to let my daughter join. She was younger than he wanted, and she would have been the ninth player. He was trying to keep the team to about 7 or maybe 8 girls and was looking for 16 year olds. He had let the daughter of my fellow club planner join because he felt that he owed him something for stealing his idea.

So we played phone tag for several days with me trying to convince him to let my daughter play, or at least try out for the team. Unfortunately he was being pretty stubborn and not too willing to add an extra young player. So I tried a different approach. I started asking if I could add a younger team to his club so that they could have a 14 and under and a 16 and under teams. He was slightly receptive to the idea but not sure he wanted to get that deep into this club volleyball thing this first year. So I kept nagging and he kept saying “no.”

Then last week, things changed. Crunch time arrived and two of the players he had lined up to play canceled out on him. This new club may be cheaper than most other clubs in southern California but it is still quite a bit of money. So suddenly the new club team only had 6 players and only one of them was a setter. So after several failed attempts to get an older setter to join the team he finally relented and signed up my daughter. This accomplished several goals for the team – it got them back up to 7 players, got them a second setter and it got me to stop nagging him about adding a separate younger team to the club.

I still want to add a younger team to the club but I am willing to wait until next year. That way I will have a year to watch how things work and get ready to coach the team myself.

So now my daughter is a member of the Secret City Smashers. This means she will have volleyball practice 3 or 4 times a week and will have to play in 4 or 5 out of town weekend tournaments between now and April 2007.

I volunteered to help the coaches this year but they don't seem too willing to accept any help. So I guess I will just sit in the stands and watch and learn. I would love to help out, even if it was just shagging or tossing volleyballs for drills. But if the coach doesn't want me helping then I'll just watch.

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