Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Newsletter for Digital Portfolio

Follow the following "Newsletter" link to my Newsletter.

EDGE Project Digital Portfolio Archive: Volleyball Coach

EDGE Project Proposal
1.     Explain how the project connects with your personal motivations and career aspirations.
First of all, I played volleyball in high school and have loved and missed the sport ever since graduating high school. My team was very successful, as we won two consecutive state championships when I was a junior and a senior. This sparked my interest as being someone who can help young girls develop volleyball skills before high school. Without playing volleyball before high school, my team would not have been near as successful as we were.
In addition, I plan on being a social worker or therapist. While it may not seem like coaching and social work go hand in hand, I know that working with adolescents will help me develop the quality of empathy that is so necessary when working in human and family services. This experience will help me gain a knowledge base for adolescent development, as well as learning how to connect with individuals. It is very important to be able to have well-rounded communication and “customer service” skills when being associated not only with clients, but any person you come in contact with.
2.     Explain how the project ties in with concepts of community engagement.
Because I am volunteering at Parowan High School, I feel that I am providing community service. Not only does the athletic director and other Parowan High School staff appreciate me, but I hope that the community will appreciate me as well. In my experience, if my teammates and I had not had a dedicated coach in middle school, we would not have been successful in high school. Without being successful in high school, the community would not have rallied together at all of the games and in celebration after we took state two years in a row. I feel that because our volleyball program was successful, it brought our community together. I hope to be able to provide a community and individual service to Parowan by coaching and helping develop girls’ talents, skills, and interests in volleyball and in life.
3.     Provide a timeline for completion of each step of the project.
December 28th, 2014 – e-mail athletic director at Parowan High School about helping coach the high school volleyball team.
Beginning of January 2015  - I received an e-mail back from Parowan High School’s athletic director stating that the volleyball program that Parowan HS needed help with was the 7th and 8th grade girls’ volleyball team.
Beginning of January 2015 – meet with Parowan High School athletic director and talk about certain guidelines, rules, backgrounds, and practices that will need to be implemented into the volleyball program.
Middle of January 2015 – Go to the Iron County School District office and complete and pass a background check.
Middle of January 2015 – provide background check receipt to athletic director and get reimbursed for background check.
End of January 2015 – Go to the grocery store and purchase Gatorade and ribbon. Type up motivational quotes to tie to the Gatorade bottles using ribbon. This little compilation will be given to the volleyball players before each volleyball game for a treat and motivation.
Middle of February 2015 – begin coaching volleyball practices and games. I do not have a tentative schedule for games yet, but I will be going to Parowan High School Mondays, Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays to coach the team. We will also have games every Tuesday either in Parowan or Fillmore, Beaver, Enterprise, and Delta.
11.  Provide a budget, with projected expenses and revenues, for your project.
Expenses Revenue
Mini Gatorade 12 pack: $5.98 X 9 games (TBD) Personal Income: $600/mo.

Ribbon: $1.97 for three yards X 3 spools Pell grant/Regents’ scholarship: $375/mo.
Gas: $35/gallon, will probably end up spending
$200+ on gas including traveling to and from Parowan
to Cedar City, as well as from Cedar City to Beaver
and back. Savings (not disclosing J)

Total Expenses: Approximately $260 (may end up being more)

12.  Explain how your personal strengths will help you complete your project.
Volleyball-wise, I believe my personal strengths include: knowledge of volleyball fundamentals and skills, experience with volleyball skills, experience will winning, communication skills, and leadership skills.
Other strengths of mine that will aid me in completing my EDGE project include: leadership skills, communication strengths, happy and positive attitude, wisdom, adolescent development knowledge, quick thinking, and not taking everything too personally. I assume there will be eye-rolling from the 7th and 8th grade girls I am going to coach, and I will need to learn to not take it too personally or seriously. I also believe I am patient and understanding, but look forward to developing those qualities more as I coach these girls.
13.  Explain how you will overcome your personal weaknesses and outside threats to complete your project
Like stated above, I can sometimes have a lack of patience and understanding. I know that this community service experience will be a learning opportunity for me, where I will be able to strengthen my weakest qualities in order to provide a beneficial and successful experience for the players, Parowan High School, the community, and myself.

Edge Project Journal Entries
Week one:
Even on day one, I could already tell which girls that were not as well liked as the others.  One girl was left without a partner every practice this week because there were an odd number of athletes.  I couldn't help but think it was because she was noticeably overweight. However, she was one of the better players. 
The first day I realized how little experience these girls had with volleyball.  I was able to teach them the basics of passing and serving.  We will see how quickly they catch on, but I'm sure we will be practicing passing and serving much more than the other skills. 
The rest of the week we practiced passing and serving, as well as rotations, because we had a game the following week. During week one, I began to realize that this EDGE project would be more difficult than I thought it would due to never coaching volleyball and being inexperienced with adolescent girls (at least since I was one). I am anxious and excited to begin this service project. 

Week two:
This week at volleyball practice was a little more frustrating than the first week.  One of the girls is very uncoachable, disrespectful, and quite frankly kind of a brat.  She texts during practices and games; she constantly asks when practice will be over and leaves games and practices early. It's kind of like these girls have never been on any team with any sort of rules.  This particular girl TELLS us coaches what position she wants to play.  She rolls her eyes when I try to coach her and it's getting really frustrating.  I began to wonder where this 13-year-old attitude was coming from.  I figured it was because she was 13 and her hormones were taking over, but after one of our practices my question was answered when her stern, know-it-all mother walked in and started demanding me to end practice earlier. 
Our first game was pretty bad, if I’m being honest.  I didn’t expect us to win or anything like that, though.  I am really excited for the growth, progress, and potential I see that will happen.  I am excited to be a coach and a role model for these girls in volleyball and in life.
I feel appreciated when the players, teachers at Parowan, and parents tell me thank you for the volunteer work I am doing.  They tell me it has taken a huge load off of their shoulders, and I’m really happy that I can help so much.
I look forward to the following weeks and improving on coaching fundamental skills. I hope that I can help these girls learn how to be good student athletes and learn to love the game of volleyball.

Week three:
This week we made a lot of improvement involving volleyball skills.  I noticed how different intellectually each girl is when learning different skills.  Some things are much more confusing than others to each girl.  We finally won some games and it was fun to see their excitement and progress.
There is a young girl on my team who is extremely happy, positive, excited, and hyper.  You would never guess she has a hard family life.  She mentioned to me that her mom got in a severe car crash and was hospitalized for several days a few days ago.  The girl was supposed to pay the registration fee for the volleyball season, pick up her uniform, and attend practice before our first game.  When I was telling her these responsibilities in order to play at the game, she told me, quite bluntly (and in front of everyone), that she wasn’t going to be able to complete these tasks because her “mom is in the hospital and my dad is in jail”.  My heart sunk for her because of the things she’s going through and is still so happy and positive.  It makes me realize that there are probably much more bad things going on in these athlete’s lives than I am aware of.  From this incident, I want to learn to be more aware of her and her actions, as well as the other girls.
I am starting to get excited for the following weeks and how much we have to improve on. I am looking forward to getting to know the girls more and helping out the school and community by being a coach. I'm starting to realize that while I am helping these athletes learn to play volleyball and have sportsmanship, they are teaching me to be positive, enthusiastic, and patient not only on the court, but in my everyday dealings as well. 

Week four:
This week was more frustrating than the past three. 13-year-old girls are OFF THE RAILS! I am kind of a serious, competitive, get-it-done type of person.  When I was in high school, playing sports was fun, but I was extremely competitive and hard on myself.  Coaching these girls has been a task because I can’t get them to take it seriously (or as seriously as I want them to).  They acted like they didn’t care, and I was upset that they weren’t appreciating me for the efforts I was putting in to coach them.  Realizing this, I kind of was ornery last week and practice and games weren’t all too fun.  One practice, two girls were out of control.  They were hyper, disrespectful, and didn’t care about what was going on in practice.  They were running around, spinning around the volleyball pole, making noise, and not caring about the scrimmage at hand.  I let it go on for a while (I was more worried about how the team was doing, than how hyper said two girls were acting), but the frustration finally built up and I had to yell at them to stop, which I did not like.
The girls I coach interrupt me, roll their eyes at me, ignore me, avoid me, disrespect me, and I could swear, purposely try to annoy me.  I have to remind myself that they are pre-adolescents and that they’re just in a stage.  I just hope that I was never like that, even though I’m sure I was (sorry, my old coaches).  I have realized much more difficult this is than I expected. I still love it and learn so much, but it can definitely get frustrating.
Another thing that happened this week is I had to get mad at one girl during the game.  In games and practices, she gets frustrated with herself, her teammates, and me.  She rolls her eyes, doesn’t slap hands, and is extremely uncoachable.  She ignores my coaching and it honestly makes me feel bad.  I am doing this several hours a week, taking important time out of my day, schoolwork, relationships, etc. and sometimes I don’t feel like it’s worth it.  Not only does said girl offend me as a coach, but she offends and disrespects me as a person.  I do not, as a human being, deserve to be treated like that.  I pulled her aside during the game, after an eye rolling incident, and said, “You have got to have a better attitude.  No more eye rolling ignoring me, not slapping your teammates hands, etc. It’s not acceptable, and it never will be.  I don’t deserve to be treated like this, no one does.  You won’t play if you continue with this bad attitude”.
I realized I am a little impatient and need to be more understanding, especially if I plan on being a social worker or therapist someday.  I have a lot to learn, especially empathy. However, I believe this service experience is making me better at those things I am not so good at. 

Week five:
This week, I realized I was not really connecting with the girls at practices or games.  I was kind of a mean coach up until this point.  I realized I was thinking about other things that were going on in my life while I should have been more engaged with and focused on the girls.  Because of this, I decided to buy small Gatorade for each of the girls and tie ribbons to them.  I plan on continuing this little project to give each girl before the remainder of the games.  When I was in high school, a tradition my volleyball team did was each girl wear the same ribbon at each game, and by the time state rolled around, we wore all the ribbons together (we won two state championships…. So yeah, I think it worked. J).  I was expecting the girls to not really care and not really understand or appreciate it, but they were extremely happy, excited, and appreciative.  I think this incident was one of the only times I heard the girls say “thank you” to me.  After this, I felt a little more connected to the girls.  I realized I shouldn’t hold it against them that they aren’t very successful in volleyball, but that I should connect with them, care for them, and be a good example to them.
I realized that if I want to be a professional in human services, I need to be more aware of those I’m helping/dealing with, and I shouldn’t let my busy and stressful personal life get in the way so much.  I had been impatient, ornery, and wanted thing done exactly my way.  I’m slowly but surely realizing that’s not the point.

Week six:
This week one of the girls on the volleyball team quit.  It was out of nowhere, and she didn’t even talk to me about it; she talked to the athletic director (my boss) about it instead.  I was talking to my assistant coach about why she thought this girl quit in the middle of the season.  We both agreed on many factors:
1. She was not talented, successful, or athletic in volleyball, whatsoever.  She was small and simple unable to progress.
2. The other girls may have verbally bullied her.  She was outspoken and bossy and sometimes annoying, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the other girls hurt her feelings so much that she didn’t want to be there anymore. 
3. She wasn’t getting much playing time on the court.
4. She has other extra-curricular activities going on.
This whole situation made me want to be much more aware of the FULL situation going on, so I can prevent possible bullying and misunderstanding (if that was the case, I never found out).  Interestingly, this girl seemed to enjoy being there and was the most active and talkative of the group, so I was slightly surprised when she suddenly quit.
Another thing that’s becoming slightly frustrating, that I didn't really anticipate, is that the moms of the players are not minding their own business.  These girls say they can handle things on their own, but I never hear problems from them; I hear it from the mothers!  Parents in the stands, trying to referee, coach, and solve problems on the court is getting so frustrating.  None of these girls are learning to be independent, and I am definitely not feeling appreciated.
It does sound like I'm being super negative, so I think it's time to start being more positive, especially with the girls and when I'm talking about my service project. It's supposed to be an enjoyable experience, but it's been more difficult than anticipated. I am having fun though, at some times. 

Week seven:
This week, I was just straight up disappointed.  I thought that the girls would easily beat the team we were playing Tuesday.  NOPE. Big, fat, NOPE.  We are skilled enough and have made so much progress that I was finally looking forward to having a successful game.  I think I’ve figured it out, though: I’m coaching 13 year olds girls! That’s the problem.  I doubt they go home and think about volleyball.  They think about their friends and boys.  I doubt they practice on their own.  There are only two girls who are apparently and obviously competitive, but the rest of the girls couldn’t care less about losing or winning.  It’s frustrating because I know they can be successful, just like I was when I was there age.  I really did care about the sport and improving!
I am excited to be almost done, but I know I am going to miss it once it's over because there has been many good moments as well. I keep focusing on the bad ones, but they have improved so much as individuals and as a team, and I hope they keep improving and end the season on a good note.

Week eight:
“Wow,” is all I can say about this week. I have learned so much from this experience.
Thursday was our very last volleyball game.  We have 11 players, and only seven of them showed up in Fillmore to play against Millard.  That started the frustration for me.  It made me mad that I had put so much time and energy into practices and only had seven of them show up to their last game!  And they didn’t even tell us.  I had to drive 1 ½ hours to find two of my best players weren’t there, and four of them not even there.  I had told them all season that they absolutely had to let us know if they weren’t coming to practices or games.  Nope, they never understood that concept (preteens L).  Even if we didn’t let them play in games for missing practice, they never learned.
Oh, and it gets better.  Two girls started bleeding during the game (you can’t play with blood on your body) and that left five people on the court, and six are required to play.  One girl fell and hurt her wrist and was absolutely bawling the rest of the game.  That left six girls (after the other girls stopped their bleeding), which screwed up the whole rotation line-up that we had.  Then another girl lost her shoe and felt really embarrassed trying to get it back on in front of the whole crowd.  Five minutes later, said shoe girl started bawling.  When I asked her what was wrong, she said she hurt her ankle.  I didn’t believe her for a second (she wasn’t even limping), she was just crying because she was embarrassed.  And then we lost.
On our way home, our bus driver passed out, hit his head and was bleeding everywhere while we were still in Fillmore!  He had to go to the hospital and his distressed bus-driver wife had to drive us home from Fillmore to Cedar City.  What a strange spiral of events for the end of the season…
This season was overall a very good learning experience. It had its ups and downs for sure, but I am so grateful for the opportunity. I am grateful I was able to teach many girls who had no idea how to play volleyball improve on their volleyball skills. I am grateful I was able to help out the school and community by providing coaching, because without me, they wouldn't have even had a team because there was no one else to coach. I had a very fun time, even though it was more difficult than I anticipated. I am so glad I chose coaching volleyball for my EDGE Project!

Photos of Team and Ribbon/Gatorade Idea