Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Little Miss Perfectionist--Volleyball Edition

The weekend just past was a volleyball weekend. DD#2 had games on both Saturday and Sunday (it's CYO, which means games are scheduled after 1:00 p.m. on Sunday so everyone has a chance to go to Mass. ;) )

Our family isn't particularly athletic, although we do enjoy the outdoors. But running and hitting, kicking, or throwing a ball is just not something we do on a regular basis. So our kids depend a lot on the ability of the coach to teach them the skills they need, 'cause they aren't going to get them from Mom and Dad. And because they are not natural athletes, their learning curve takes a bit longer. Once they have it, though, they will have the skill for life. (So it's important that they learn the correct way as well!)

After watching, oh, a couple of thousand volleyball serves in my life, I am truly impressed by DD#2's coaches. All of her teammates have a smooth, controlled underhand serve. They don't toss the ball into the air; there isn't much wasted motion; most of the serves go over the net cleanly. There isn't one girl who can't serve at least part of the time, including the two girls who have never played before.

And the coaches emphasize teamwork. Last week they concentrated on setting the ball twice before hitting it over the net, rather than just power returns. When the girls seem to be getting flustered and losing their composure, the coaches call a time out and tell the girls to breathe. They remind them to focus. After the games, the head coach finds at least one thing that each girl did well or a skill that improved.

This is much different from DD#1's experience.

This year DD#2 has become a pretty solid volleyball player. All the old skills have come together and she's become more focused during games, more aware of where the ball is in relation to her position on the court. Her serves are pretty consistently to mid-court. She's made several saves and has served the game point several times. And, yet, she doesn't think she's a good player.

I'm not the only one who has noticed the difference. Her coaches have commented. Other parents, both team member parents and parents we know from other teams, have commented. Hubs and I pass the complements along and complement her ourselves. But she compares herself to the two girls who are on a competitive team during the off-season and to other teammates who are naturally athletic. I'm not sure what it will take for her to realize that solid is good. She doesn't even realize that she's getting more playing time than she did last year or that her playing time has increased over the season.

She's playing in a tournament this Sunday (another CYO event). The tournament team will be a combined team, mixing players from both teams (there are 18 girls total, but not all of them will show up). CYO does have rules about the playing time each team member should have during regular season games; however, these rules do not apply to tournaments. It will be interesting to see how much playing time she'll actually get. If she comes close to what the "stars" get, then maybe she'll realize how much she's improved.