With their coaches seated up in the bleachers at North Central Texas College in Gainesville, teams from Guyer, Lake Dallas, Aubrey and Ryan played against each other in a preseason tournament last weekend.
The coaches were relegated to being spectators, watching as their kids played one another, no guidance or advice being given.
“It’s really kind of interesting, because as coaches, it’s hard for us to sit up in the stands and watch our own kids, but it’s so good for them because they have to start figuring things out on their own,” Lake Dallas head coach Heather Van Noy said. “They’re so used to looking at us for answ ers.”
The tournament is one of the few devices used to get kids ready for the start of the volleyball season, which officially begins Monday — the first day coaches can conduct workouts outside the school day.
But for most coaches, the preparation for the upcoming school year started long before August. It started in the spring and continued through the summer as kids played in open gyms, worked out with their own personal coaches or played in a summer league.
As the first day matches can be played — Aug. 13 — approaches, coaches want their players to start training on their own well before the season’s official start date.
“When school starts, we’re already in district [play],” Van Noy said. “So I don’t rely on that first week. The kids have to be ready in the summer. I look at the summer as our preseason, even though I can’t coach all of them.”
Guyer went on to defeat Lake Dallas in the seven-team tournament. The team Ryan fielded was missing two of its key players and some of its players were in unfamiliar roles.
Cindy Williams echoed the sentiments of Van Noy. Williams, in her eighth year as Ryan’s head coach and her 31st year as a head coach overall, said most of her kids stayed active over the summer, getting the extra repetition needed for the upcoming season.
Ryan is moving up to Class 5A this season, when it will face the likes of Hebron and Flower Mound Marcus in District 5-5A.
“I think they know it’s a challenge,” Williams said. “With us being as young as we are, this is something we build off of. With them, I think they’re excited about it, but I think in the long run they know how [much] … we’re going to have to do to play at this level.”
Lake Dallas will have its own share of obstacles, as Megan Dando is the lone returning starter from last year’s team.
Van Noy and the Lady Falcons wrapped up their team camp last week, culminating with a team lock-in. Additionally, Van Noy brought in Kentucky assistant volleyball coach Keith Schunzel, who brought in other coaches as well to help train and teach Van Noy’s players.
Williams and Von Noy will be among coaches across the state eager to map out formations, see who’s going to fill voids in different areas and see how the season plays out.
“As far as I’m concerned, all the coaches and myself are excited to get started,” Williams said.
BEN BABY can be reached 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.