Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What a Winter!

I am blogging and crying. I am watching the Olympics and just watched the Canadian ice skater whose mother passed away of a heart attack 2 days ago. Wow! I have been watching the Winter Olympics the majority of the games. I must admit I lost some of my dedication during the ice dancing. I think the team has been watching them a lot too. When I see the girls, I hear them talk about the half pipe, curling, and snowboard cross.

When the Olympics started, it was colder in Nashville than it was in Vancouver. They were bringing in snow to Canada while the Belmont field was covered in it. This is my 5th winter in Nashville, and I think we have had more snow in 2010 then the other 4 years combined.

We had planned 6 small group sessions for each player in January and February, but because of the weather, each player had 2 sessions. Today, we had our first team training session. It was my biggest spring training session ever with 23 players. This is the first spring when the team will be able to play full sided at practice. Last spring, I think we were lucky to be able to play 6v6. I am very excited about our potential this spring. I think it can be productive for the team and fun for the girls.

One thing that is not fun is hiring a new assistant coach. Derek left at the end of January to become the new assistant coach at Vanderbilt. If that sounds like it may have been awkward, it was. Everything is fine now. The Vanderbilt coach and I are long time friends. It was a test for me to not allow professional relationships affect personal relationships and vice versa.

Hiring a new assistant will test some of the very same principles. It is not easy to find a qualified, loyal, experienced person for this position. The salary does not allow a person with a family to stay long. A younger person who is good will work for this salary long enough to gain experience and move on. It makes it hard for me to keep good help, and I feel like I am taking a big risk every time I have to hire a new assistant. I don’t work well with a new person right away. It takes time to learn each other’s strengths, weaknesses, expectations, and philosophies. I also feel bad for the players. It is a stress on them too – learning a new person, trying to make an impression, and adjusting to the way a new staff works together. It takes some of my players a while to trust a new person. Who could blame them with our recent track record with assistant coaches?

I hope you have read the article about the 2010 signees. I am happy with the class and think we got exactly what we need. Several people have been very complimentary about our recruiting class. They have said to me that the article makes it sound like an awesome class. In my sarcastic way, I like to tell them that Kenisha is not going to write stuff like, “She is an average player and a part time starter for her high school team. She started playing soccer when she was 6 years old and quit when she was 12.” I say that all in fun. The players are as good as the story.

I did something for the first time yesterday that I am going to continue doing. We practice at 4:00. From 3:00-3:30, I watched game video from last season. I watched 10 minutes of our game against USC-Upstate and 20 minutes of our regular season game against Kennesaw State. It was a very good transition time for me. I went to practice energized and motivated. Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

In the weeks ahead, I look forward to telling you more about our practices, our games after spring break, and introducing my new assistant coach. Here are the best things I have heard people say they have given up for lent – facebook, using sarcasm, and pressing the snooze button.

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