Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Volleyball Evaluations and Draft

Tonight were the volleyball evaluations and draft for this years city recreation league. This is the first time we have done this for the city volleyball league. In the past the league organizer would just divide up the players for the coaches and we played whoever we got. This year they tried something different. Each player ran through a quick set of evaluation drills while all the coaches watched. Then the coaches got together and selected our teams via a draft. This was a novel experience. Trying to rate a player based on seeing her pass 2 or 3 balls, setting a couple balls, two spikes and a couple serves was difficult. But with 48 players we didn't have enough time to do much else.

My draft started out on a down note. True to form my famous bad luck at gambling reared it's ugly head and I drew number eight out of eight for draft order. Since I was going to pick last I tried to get the administrators to let us redraw for draft order each round but they refused. Later after we were done, they admitted that I did get screwed by making me pick last in all six rounds. Next year they promise to redraw the draft order each round.

Since I had the 8th and 16th picks in this draft my selection of known quality players was going to be limited. Fortunately for me most of the coaches used their first round picks to take one of the few high school players that were there. With my pick I was able to select one of my two top 8th grade players from my middle school team. My other top 8th grade setter was taken by the local club team coach with his first round pick. Which says a lot about her abilities. He passed up a tall starting JV setter from the high school team to take a short middle school setter.

The remaining three players that I have coached on my middle school team that were there tonight were all taken in the first 5 picks of the second round. By the time I got to make my second pick all the girls in the evaluations who I had coached or had personal knowledge of their skills were taken. So I had to resort to depending on the evaluations I had made of the other players. When this process started I was hoping to build a team of girls that I liked working with but that wasn't possible so for my last 4 picks I had to settle for my guess of the best player available at that time. I got one girls who I rated weak in passing and setting but a strong hitter. She was fairly tall and hopefully I'll be able to improve her basic skills. I picked another fairly tall girl who didn't hit well, but seemed better than average at passing and setting. My remaining two picks seemed to be overall average players. I will still be assigned 2 additional players selected by the directors from the players who didn't show up for evaluations. Since I think most of my team is going to be fairly young I might get a more experienced player in the final two who will be assigned by the administrators. Or I may not.

I don't know what type of team I will have yet. Only time will tell that. But what I do know is since I only get one hour long practice each week, trying to mold these girls into a team in going to be challenge.

The highlight of the night was the performance of my middle school players. This league is for players between 13 and 17 years old. My two top 8th grade players were taken in the first round. The other three players were taken in the early second round. One of those players had to lie about her age to get into this league as she is only 12 years old. So 5 of the 48 players in the evaluations have played for me during the school year. All five of them were selected by the collection of coaches as five of the 12 best players there tonight. I'm about as proud of those five girls as someone who is not their parent could possibly be. I've repeatedly told their parents that in my opinion their daughters are some of the finest volleyball players in their age group here in town. It seems that other coaches may share my opinions.

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