January 7, 2009

Happy New Year!

2008 is gone. I have never been one to lament the past or get too caught up in what happened or could have happened. I had read something to the effect that each of us makes the best decision possible, in the moment of the decision and then we move forward. We could easily drive ourselves crazy by living in the could have and should have of the past, especially volleyball coaches and players.

In the spirit of 2009, which I believe will be an outstanding year on and off the court, these are some of my Volleyball New Year Wishes:

  • That there are no more rule changes to college volleyball. It is at the point that college volleyball coaches cringe at any NCAA letterhead coming in the mail slot. Just leave it alone - Note to who ever is making these changes (and the majority of us don't know these folks), they are not really helping things, just making them more puzzling.
  • The American Volleyball Coaches Association will develop an adjunct association to specifically serve the needs of College Volleyball coaches. As much as the AVCA can do, it cannot support me and the coach of Westview Junior High school the same. This is why the college basketball coaches have their own associations, so their needs are addressed.
  • Change the ball handling rules to what they were many years ago - Double hits are NEVER allowed and lifts are called (lifts should be called but are not because officials are too concerned with legal double contacts). Touches on the ball have just become sloppy; we used to have a game that demanded dexterity and finesse.
  • Allow the NCAA Championship to be played at the same site or a few rotating cities. It looks great when the stands are packed and it looks embarrassing when they are half full. Change the regional sites each year to satisfy the development of volleyball, but let's narrow down the Championship site to ensure full stands and a great television picture.
  • The head coaches of the top 6 programs all need to resign and get hired for another top 6 program! Crazy, but crazy like a fox. Coaching changes drive up salaries in every sport. This is most evident in football and basketball where the compensation packages should be embarrassing to any university, but they are going up each year. I know, not very realistic, but these are my wishes.
  • Move volleyball forward out of the Twilight Zone of NCAA athletics (help me AVCA, your my only hope) - either pay us more and provide more support, or leave us alone. My belief is Time or Money. If we are a Flagship sport, then we will all get more money (coaches, assistant coaches, players) or if we are not, then we will get more time. This 'tweener status is not a good thing.
  • That the basketball coaches at my school stay here. I have worked at schools where the basketball coaches were so full of themselves that it was a continuous bad dream of arrogance, Title IX violations and backstabbing your own gender. Luckily this year I have fellow coaches that are supportive and understand some of the nuances of volleyball.
  • That I continue to develop patience - As I become more experienced (a nice way of saying older) I have learned to not force things, but to allow situations to develop and find a solution.
  • An Outside Hitter. Sounds simple, but my program really needs one complete outside. Passing, attacking, blocking, defense and understanding - She does not need to be great at all skills or 6'3", just be able to do everything at the NCAA Division I level.
  • That Stanford stop being in the Final Four. Let's mix it up a little! Note to upcoming top recruits - Palo Alto rains a bunch and the degree is very over rated (well, it does rain a lot!).
  • Warm weather. Sound strange, but volleyball coaches get out of the gym when the fall is over and old man winter is just coming around the corner. Spring comes to town and we are back into the gym again (this employment thing is a bear!).
  • The impending mid-fiscal year budget cut is not too painful. The reduction is coming and I would think it is coming for every volleyball program. I hope I am left with enough to have a beneficial spring season and continue recruiting.
  • That my team makes good grades this spring. Our fall grades were rather good, better than I expected, and I like having smart volleyball teams. With a bit of luck, we can qualify as an Academic All American team, which is good for all and having a smart team allows me to just smile during Head Coach's meetings when the Athletic Director is admonishing us to support academics.
  • A physically and mentally healthy team. Injuries and drama are the killers of any potentially good season. I hope my players relish the Honor of being called an NCAA Division I Volleyball athlete, while taking care of their responsibilities in an adult manner on and off the court.
Well, enough with the wishes - Time to get to work on 2009!