Change in coaching facilitates ideas of intensity

Adam Schoelz

The girls’ volleyball team’s 2011 season has been full of new situations. New coaches, new ways to practice and almost a whole new team underscore a year that has been all about intensity.
“The coaches are brand new, and we have a lot of underclassmen on varsity,” junior Maddy Jones said. “The way things are being done is very new.”
The girls’ volleyball team has a new head coach, Tatum Anderson, who is new to coaching but not to volleyball. Anderson’s grandfather coached volleyball for 30 years, and her entire family has played competitively. Anderson was part of a state championship team in Nebraska and enjoyed success at the University of Missouri-Columbia. In addition, she trained with the U.S. national team in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“I have not coached many teams in the past, [I’ve] mainly just done private lessons and small group camps.,” Anderson said. “A few years back I coached a club team that was filled with Rock Bridge girls, which is where I got my introduction to the RBHS community.”
Anderson has taken new ideas down to the lowest level: practice. She hopes to intensify and simplify the program from the ground up.
“Our approach to volleyball is keeping things simple. Volleyball can be a very complex sport, leaving small room for error. When you keep things simple, you give yourself a greater chance to succeed,” Anderson said. “Also, we have been blessed with many pure athletes who have raw volleyball skills. So teaching everyone about the physical and mental side of the game has been the challenge and the excitement going around the program.”
For the volleyball players themselves, the simplicity has manifested as a new intensity in practice.
“When we go into practice, there’s no goofing around. We have to be there on time, ready to go, ready to run,” junior Katelyn Race said. “She expects perfection out of us, and it really pushes us to be better. She’s really intensified the program, and it takes a lot more out of the team and I think it’s really going to push us.”
Despite training harder than ever before, the Bruins opened the year with twin losses to Jefferson City High School and Ozark High School. However, Anderson was certain the team would improve, and a win in the Independence tournament over 12 other teams confirmed it.
“We haven’t got off to the best start; however, there were improvements from our first match. We have played two of the tougher schools on our schedule, which has been great for the players to see where we could be with hard work,” Anderson said. “We have a great amount of talent on both our varsity and JV teams; it’s just working on putting all of those talents together to making them work as one unit. Volleyball is a team sport, not one person can win a game for us. So continuing to build that chemistry and trust, as well as the technical skills has been our focus.”
With many sophomores on the team, Race believes that the victory at Independence is indicative of a larger trend of gaining experience.
“We have a lot of underclassmen on the team this year, and we’re getting the groove with people who have less experience,” she said.
By Adam Schoelz