Monday, August 09, 2010

I'm Not Dead Yet!!!

With apologies to Monty Python - "I'm not dead Yet".

Sure it may seem that way since I only seem to be able to post on this blog about once a month. I want to write more, really I do.

So why don't I write. Its not like I have a lot to say right now. Its just that most of what is going on in my head is so jumbled up that it never makes sense when it shows up on the screen in front of me. The rest of what is going on in my head is stuff that I really don't want to talk about here.

There is so much I could be ranting and raving about politically that I don't even know where to start. I am so disgusted by what is happening in this country that I can not adequately express myself about it. Every time I start talking about our socialist president, his facist race baiting staff, and elitist self serving progressives that have taken over congress I start ranting and raving and end up sounding like some radical whacko. So I try not to talk about it too much. First off not being able to control my emotions about this makes me sound silly or stupid. Also I am in so many ways so depressed at the damage being done to this country. We are hemmoraging freedoms on a daily basis. Unfortunately the blame for this problem is spread pretty evenly between both political parties. There are many days that I think the only way to stop this death spiral that we are in is to clean house - every single elected official in Washington has to go. The democrats have an agenda that is going to lead to the destruction of everything that made this country great. The Republicans are not serious about stopping them.

So I have been avoiding writing about politics. I have avoided reading many of the political blogs I used to read, I avoid the news since they have sold out what little integrity they had when they stopped reporting the news and started trying to make the news.

My other favorite topic to write about here was my volleyball club. But late in the season this last year my team of 7 girls gathered around me during a team meeting at the end of a tournament - then encouraged by their parents they unloaded on me with a long list of complaints about me as a coach, then they all quit.

I have struggled a lot with this. Three of those girls are three of the original 8 girls that I started this club for. I know that we had some trouble this year. It was a tough year for most of my players. They weren't little girls any more and they really struggled trying to make the transition from little girls who just play volleyball for fun and athletes who find their fun in playing volleyball well.

Since they all quit I have been riding a roller coaster of emotions. One day I am ready to get back out of the court and start coaching again. The next day I start thinking that I should just walk away from the game and never coach again. If I can push girls who loved playing volleyball as much as those girls did to quit, then why would I ever walk out on the court with another group of young athletes.

Things are getting really bad now, the middle school season volleyball season starts again in a few weeks and I am not sure how that is going to go. I asked the Principal to find another coach to take my place this year. But she didn't so I am in a situation where I have to either leave those girls without a coach for the season. Or I stick them with a coach that they may be much better off without.

I have a lot of friends, family, coaches and other club administrators who all are very quick to tell me that what happened was not my fault. But that has not been much help because not one of those people have ever experienced something like this. Sure every coach has to deal with athletes that quit, or leave the game. But I don't know of one that lost an entire team before. If these girls had left because they didn't enjoy the game, or had other interests or such I would be a lot better off. But the only complaints they had were personal ones about me.

So there, I wrote a lot more about that than I ever wanted to. So I am trying to listen to my friends and let my head make the decisions here. But my broken heart keeps getting in the way and right now my head isn't ready to over rule my heart.

I guess I could start writing about our new family hobby. About 6 months ago my daughter started cowboy action shooting. Then three months later my son started. Last month I finally got my rear in gear and gave it a try myself. We have been having a lot of fun with it. So I'll try and write more about it later.


Old Retired Petty Officer said...

I understand how it goes. Sometimes it is an effort to get an articulate and interesting post up. At least I have a digital camera and a place to get some neat pics every now and then.
I figure my occasional rant at ORPO and Parrothead Jeff and Friends has gotten me noticed by Janet and her little friends. Oh well.
Just a random thing. I hear that the Navy is going civil service at NAWC,NAS Lemoore, MCAS Miramar and Pendleton. Keep your eyes peeled, will ya? The Air Force needs help here at Edwards. Just remember Clint Eastwood's line from Heartbreak Ridge and you will get the idea.

Will Brown said...

From a long way away, it sounds like your coaching style is based on the first-person approach, that your instruction and direction is formated around the individual player personally; your (her) success still needs improvement, your (the player again) burden of responsibility increases apace with capability, etc., all of which are true and necessary input a good coach must provide. Can you offer that same input in a third-person format? "a champion player ...", "the more skilled player also does it ...", and so on. If so, you'ld be a winning coach struggling to adapt his personal style a bit (and likely the only one to notice). Which has to be better than no coach at all.

Such being the "wisdom" from a mostly umpire's POV at least (you know, the other team taking part in the game :)).

Looking forward to reading about the CAS activities. Do remember not to mix the Cowboy ammo with the other stuff - the difference in oompf! will get you talked about. :)

David said...

Thanks for the advice Will. I will give that a try. I've only been coaching for 8 years so I know that I still have a lot to learn.

Generically speaking - I have always tried to take the approach of compliment the play, compliment the effort and make a small suggestion on how to do it even better. For example: "Great Swing, good movement, now, this time, move and swing just like before and try to hit the ball to that spot, or this way."

Unfortunately what seemed to have upset my players the most was my insistence this year that they not only learn what to do and how to do it, but they also learn why they are doing it.

I did this using a socratic method of teaching - asking questions - "That was a great defensive move, so why did you set up right here." or "Nice hit, why did you cut the ball instead of swinging straight away." The only unacceptable answer they could give me was "Because you told me to do it that way." I wanted them to think about what they were doing and decide for themselves why it worked well that way.

This irritated them to no end. It turns out that most of them only wanted to be told what to do, how to do it and then left alone to play.

It has become apparent since the season ends that I badly over estimated my team's desire to be better players and to learn how to be elite athletes. It turns out that all they wanted to do was play.

As for mixing up the ammo - we shoot 38 specials in competition and the only 38s we have are handloads that are loaded to CAS specs. I have let the kids compare some normal 38 special loads with CAS loads, and 357 loads. Just so they will recognize the difference if they happen to get their hands on some non-CAS ammo.

We have a two day shoot coming up this weekend in Bridgeport and are all looking forward to it.

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Stan said...

Most players are not driven to find out why they do things but rather to do what the coaches tell them to so that they can keep playing. Some have lots of ability and get by on that. Some really love the game and study it and learn it but still have limited ability. Others have all three and are very lucky and blessed in athletics.

I was the first one that played for fun. I'm not much good at sports and never cared to take it to a higher level. It has taken me over a decade to begin to see what might have been had I studied and practiced a little more and trained for the game. But frankly I was more interested in dating than I was in making the starting O or D line.

Unfortunately it is a rare breed who make a coaches job easier. Most of us just want to get through practice with the least yelling possible and the chance to run on the field just long enough to get winded.

Give it some time and some reflection and I think you'll find where you could have done things a little differently. Then try again if you want to continue to develop as a coach.

Anonymous said...

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