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HS season is here

posted Aug 9, 2017, 11:04 AM by Cynthia Dang

Wow, the summer has flown by! High school tryouts will be starting in just a few days. I'm happy to hear that a lot of our athletes- even our freshmen- are practicing with their JV and Varsity squads in the open gyms leading up to tryouts. 

The next week or so is going to be filled with a lot of emotions: happy, excited, nervous, scared, and maybe even disappointment. That last one can be a real doozie.....

I know that we have a lot of girls that demand the best of themselves- I would almost say "perfectionists". You work hard and won't settle for not reaching your goals. So how do you handle the disappointment of maybe not making the team you wanted to? I would urge you to take time to think and analyze before you make any rash decisions (like deciding to quit).  

I'll let you have a glimpse into my own mind as a coach and things I consider when doing team placements. Creating a dynamic program with dynamic teams is not an easy task. Here are some of the big things coaches look at when it comes to team placement: 

1. What grade are YOU in? How many girls in your program are older than you?
If you're a freshman/sophomore and there's a ton of seniors you likely won't be making varsity even if your skill level could land you there. When you play HS sports you are representing your school and community and the seniors have usually earned their positions over the last 3 years. Programs that choose not to cut seniors and allow them to play are showing respect to those athletes. 

2. How many other girls play the same position as you? 
In addition to the above consideration, sometimes it is necessary for the FUTURE success of a program to keep some athletes on "lower" teams in order to start developing their chemistry. The coaches have probably recognized your skills, but perhaps they need a leader on another team and they already have someone on JV or Varsity fulfilling that need this season. 

3. How many open gyms did you attend? Did you play at all this summer? 
One thing I tried to stress to all of our athletes was to attend your open gyms or at least get out and play over the summer. Every day you skipped was another day and opportunity for the coaches to notice someone else. It was another day for everyone else to progress with their skills and maybe surpass you. 

4. During open gyms did you show a true interest in learning from your new coach? 
As I mentioned A LOT during our club seasons, different coaches have different ways of doing things. There's more than one way to perform every single skill in volleyball. Were you open minded? Did you try the things the coach was trying to teach you?

5. Did you attempt to befriend other girls in the program, or did you stick to your usual clique? 
Coaches do take special note of how you interact with your potential teammates. If you segregate yourself and only speak to a couple of other people, we will notice. We want someone that demonstrates that they want to be a part of a TEAM.

6. Did you have a good, supportive attitude of everyone else in the gym regardless of THEIR skills or attitude? 
Coaches have you practice with people of different ages and skill levels for a couple of reasons. One obvious one is for a direct skills comparison to other kids in your age group. The other can be a mental test. If you ignore, make furn of, or are mean to someone with less skills than you, can I trust you to be there for a teammate that's maybe just having a really bad day? 

7.How did you react after a mistake? 
We ALL make mistakes... what's important is how we react to and overcome those mistakes. Did you have an outburst after a mistake or did you brush it off quickly and get on with the drill? Did you blame your mistake on someone else (bad pass, bad set, etc)? The ability to get over mistakes quickly is crucial to team and individual success. We also want people that are accountable for themselves and not always blaming someone else. 

8. Did you show sacrifice for your team during drills and games? 
If you just stood around and didn't give 100% effort, including not diving/hitting the floor when needed we will notice, and we don't like it. Sacrifice is needed to be successful. 

9. Were you attentive and respectful to the coaching staff? 
How many times did the coach have to explain things to you? Did the coach have to wait for you to be quiet while they were talking? Did the coach have to just talk over you? If the coach or another teammate is addressing the team/group, you should be quiet. Lack of respect in this regard is a huge red flag and tells us you're not committed to your team. 

10. Were you shy, or did you step up and try to be a leader? 
Coaches look for athletes that are comfortable on the court. This means showing that you know what is supposed to be going on and TALKING about it. Calling for the ball, helping teammates that might be confused, cheering for teammates successes and helping them shake off bad plays. 

11. Were you flexible and accommodating if the coach tried to have you play a new position?
We try to make sure that each of our athletes is exposed to multiple positions for exactly this reason. Maybe your program has a lot of kids all playing the same position. If you can show versatility and eagerness to learn so you can help your team you will certainly get the attention of the coaching staff. If you tell us that you CAN'T  or WON'T play a certain position we'll move onto the next athlete that can. 

The last thing to ask yourself actually has little to do with the coaches, but your own personal outlook on volleyball. Would you rather ride the bench on a higher team, or play on a "lower" team? Are you playing for the label that comes along with being a Varsity athlete, or are you playing because you love the game? 
Often times underclassmen that are pulled up to higher teams do not get as much playing time. Sometimes it is extremely beneficial to remain on the lower level team, develop yourself as a leader, get more playing time, and mentally and physically prepare for the next season. Show the coaches that you will are invested in their program and that you will work hard no matter what team you're on. 


I'll close this today with a simple reminder:
Be Confident: In yourself, your skills, your attitude (but don't be cocky)
Be Disciplined: With your skills, interactions with other athletes, and habits (RUN EVERYWHERE)
Be Determined: Do NOT give up. Make opponents work for their points. Don't stop working yourself until you've reached your goals.

http://corevaluesvbc.blogspot.com/2017/08/hs-season-is-here.html

Are you ready for HS Tryouts?

posted Jul 5, 2017, 10:21 AM by Cynthia Dang

We hope everyone is enjoying their summer vacation and that you had a great holiday yesterday. Can you believe that high school tryouts are just about a month away?! Are you prepared? Some of the questions we’ve received about tryouts will be addressed in our blog today.

 

Q: Do I have to attend the summer open gyms to make a HS team?

A: This completely depends on your HS program. Are the open gyms optional or mandatory? If mandatory, I’d say yes you NEED to go. If the open gyms are optional, then ultimately it’s up to you. HOWEVER, I will say that in my experience going to open gyms is essential to show casing your talents prior to tryouts. It also allows you to start building relationships with the coaching staff and other players. Plus, if you take the entire summer off you’re going to get rusty…. Attending open gyms is a good way to stay on top of your skills and work on skills that aren’t as strong prior to tryouts. Really it’s a win-win for you as a player if you make the effort to go to the open gyms.

 

Q: What is the biggest challenge to make a HS team?

A: Again, this will completely depend on your program. Some programs (especially in our area), aren’t big enough to make cuts to their program so everyone that tries out makes a team. BUT there are also programs in our area that routinely cut 20-40 players each season.  No matter the situation with the amount of girls trying out, you will face the same challenges as everyone else. Proving yourself to the coaching staff not only with your skills, but your attitude. Being “coachable” is usually in the top 3 things that coaches look at when deciding who gets to play and who gets cut. Being coachable can be hard. You have to learn to take criticism with an open mind. You have to be willing to try new things without much hesitation. Be willing to work on and perfect the little things even if they aren’t your favorite things to do. Keep a good attitude with the coaches AND the other players in the gym.

 

Q: Do I really have to have good grades to play HS volleyball or is that a tactic used by my parents?

A: You absolutely have to meet academic requirements to play HS volleyball. This is a huge reason why Core Values also has an academic requirement starting with our 13U teams. We want you to get used to earning your right to play. Volleyball may be a life sport, but ultimately it is not going to carry you through life. You need an academic background to fall on to be successful. HS sports, college sports and some clubs like ours will enforce academic policies. You’re a Student-Athlete: the student part should ALWAYS come first J

 

Q: Words of advice for preparing for tryouts and the HS season?

A: YES! You need to be working on your weak skills over the summer at drop-ins, camps, open gyms or even at home alone! Stay in shape and go swimming a lot, go on runs/hikes, etc. You have to remember that there are a lot of girls out there that will be willing to put in the effort to get better. If you sit around all summer they WILL pass you up.


Once tryouts are actually here you need to think “CHALK”.

C: Coachable- I addressed this above, but just remember not to take anything really personal. Our jobs as coaches is to criticize. Some coaches have more tact than others. It’s a hard job. If you get criticism take it constructively and try to make the changes your coach is asking for.

H: Hardworking- There is no excuses for not giving 100%. Don’t let someone out-work you, ever.

A: Aggressive- If you stand around and watch volleyball instead of jumping in and playing volleyball you will not leave a good impression in your coach’s mind. Show your coach that you want the ball and work hard to get it.

L: Loud- communication is important (how often have I yelled “TALK!” at you?). LOUD and confident communication is better.

K: Kind- stuck in a group of girls you don’t know? Be nice, introduce yourself, learn names, be genuine. Someone makes a mistake? Nicely tell them to shake it off; be encouraging. Some else makes an awesome play? Celebrate with them; give them a high five, etc.

Any  advice I give wouldn’t be complete without telling you to practice our Core Values.

Be Confident: In yourself and your team. If you have a crappy attitude about who you’re playing with you will come off cocky. Be confident enough to step up your own skills and help those around you that may be struggling.

Be Disciplined: RUN to get water, use the bathroom, shag balls, etc. Don’t talk while the coach is talking. Pay attention to instructions for new drills, etc. Don’t rely on the person next to you to know what’s going on.

Be Determined. “You don’t know if you don’t go”. If you stand and WATCH a ball fall you’re letting yourself and your team down. ALWAYS give 100% effort. Struggle on day one of tryouts? Don’t hang your head in shame. We all have bad days. Shake it off, clear your mind and get back to work the next day. 

Sand Volleyball

posted Jun 10, 2017, 1:26 PM by Cynthia Dang

Did you know that today is National Get Outdoors Day?!  Yep, summer is officially here and Coach Mike and I will be celebrating by going to play some sand volleyball with friends tonight, which made me think of writing this blog post. With our summer program starting on June 13th, one question I’ve been asked frequently is “Why should I play sand volleyball?”

Beach volleyball was actually a “late comer” to the sports scene. While it’s been popular for eons in coastal areas across the world, it wasn’t introduced as an Olympic sport until 1996… but since that time it has grown to be one of the favorite summer Olympic spectator sports worldwide.  There are several organizations for professional beach volleyball players (AVP, NVL, EVP, etc.), but traditionally there wasn’t really a “feeder” program or great training program to introduce players to the beach. Usually indoor players would casually play on the beach, discover that they enjoyed it and try to make the transition into the tournament scene.

In 2011 sand volleyball was finally added as an NCAA women’s sport; by 2015 there were about 50 sand programs nation-wide. In June of 2015 most programs changed from the name “Sand Volleyball” to the more widely accepted “Beach Volleyball” and the NCAA Beach Volleyball Committee was created.  The first NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship was in 2016; USC won the inaugural championship and followed up their performance with back-to-back Championships taking the win over Pepperdine in 2017.

Ok, so now you’re thinking “That’s great, but you still haven’t answered my question”, right? 

 

WHY SHOULD I PLAY BEACH VOLLEYBALL?

Playing indoors with 6 players on the court we often become accustomed to certain movement patterns; we rely on our teammates to help fix our mistakes; we take for granted that we have stable conditions to play in; we often specialize in one position that we excel at. Take away the walls, the floor, the (usually) consistent lighting, and all of your teammates… now add the sun, the wind, the rain, uneven playing surfaces, lines you can trip over (I may have personal experience with this one! haha), and now you only have one teammate… and now you can no longer only play your position… you have to do everything…. Sounds like chaos, right? That chaos is what makes beach volleyball not only a great challenge, but an incredible learning tool.

Now that the NCAA has approved Beach volleyball as an official collegiate sport, college volleyball coaches increasingly are using beach volleyball training to improve even their indoor players. In fact the vast majority of women’s collegiate beach volleyball players also compete on their college indoor teams and their collegiate coaches expressly recognize the benefits that beach volleyball has for their player’s indoor game. John Cook, head coach of the University of Nebraska Women’s Volleyball Program states:

 "We feel there are many advantages to training in the sand and we have gone as far as building an indoor sand court at Nebraska. Not only can [the players] play on the sand, but we can train them there as well."

 

USA Volleyball’s John Kessel (Director of Sport Development) recommends beach volleyball for improving your indoor game. John says that:

"The beach game is GREAT for improving your indoor skills/game. Whatever your weaknesses are, you get to work on them a ton. Unlike the 6 person game, you touch the ball in every rally, and with just two of you covering the court, you learn to read and anticipate much better. Dealing with the sun and wind helps you be more adaptable. Player height is less important outdoors where ball control and skill is more important." 

 

I want to touch on the player height statement for just a moment. We all know by now that I am short; very short in volleyball standards. I’ve often said to my shorter players that size means nothing- it’s your skill. Last year while watching the NCAA Beach Volleyball Championships I was elated when I read the bottom of the screen and saw that this girl that was playing for Stanford was only 5’5”. I thought she looked small next to her partner, but in my world EVERYONE is tall and sometimes my judgement is off. After the player stats flashed on the screen I really engaged my brain and watched this girl play. In that particular match she was absolutely dominating the other team (whose players were 5’11” and 6’1”). This girl really proved that size doesn’t matter during the match. After the conclusion of the match I went and did some research and found that it wasn’t such a rare thing to see “short” players in the sand. In a world where indoor players seem to keep getting taller and taller, being under 6ft in the beach game still fairly common. Not that I ever thought you HAD to be tall to be a beast… Misty May-Treanor (my idol) is a three time Olympic gold medalist and the most successful beach volleyball player in history, and she’s only 5’9”.

 

So we know that Coach Cook and Mr. Kessel recommend it, but they’re not the only ones. Olympic gold medalist/Women’s National Indoor Team Coach and beach legend Karch Kiraly recommends beach volleyball for indoor players. According to Karch Kiraly:

"It’s easier to take your outdoor skills into the gym than to bring your indoor skills outside. Simple reason. Beach volleyball forces you to have all the skills. That’s why I think it’s a good idea for indoor players to play on the beach. . . . Learning those skills can only help improve a player’s indoor performance. All my years playing on the beach as a kid certainly helped my indoor game. If nothing else, a player’s quickness and jump will be increased by playing on soft sand."

 

In an Art of Coaching Volleyball interview, John Dunning (formally the head coach at Stanford University), says:

“If they learn how to play in the sand, because it’s a different game, they are going to enjoy the sport of volleyball longer in their life. It’s a social game, it helps build the love of your game; you just go out there and play with friends.”  He goes onto say that, “It makes you such a better indoor player. A lot of things get hidden by the 6 people out on the court indoor; when you’re out there in the sand they don’t hide. I think it helps, they both help each other.”

 

There is a TON more coaches out there that believe playing outdoors is THE way to train and strengthen your skills. For me personally as a coach the bottom line is this: If you want to get better at EVERY aspect of the game and get in shape for the next high school or club season, the sand is where you need to be. If you can’t make it to a sand court, even playing outside on the grass will be a different challenge and teach you so much about the game. Our program starts next week! If you can’t commit to the summer program, join us for a drop-in or at least go to the park with some volleyball friends a few times over the summer!  You’ll be having fun and making yourself better at the same time!

http://corevaluesvbc.blogspot.com/2017/06/sand-volleyball.html

Happy Memorial Day

posted May 29, 2017, 10:51 AM by Cynthia Dang

Happy Memorial Day from the AAU West Coast Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada. I figured today was a good day to address another popular player question.


Why did you choose red, white, and blue for our colors


When I was deciding on the image that I wanted the club to portray I felt it was important to do a couple of things; one, it needed to be easily recognizable and two I wanted it to fall in line with our "core values". One of the things that was important to me was having the club get involved with the community in different ways, including supporting our armed forces. Representing Core Values using red, white and blue just made sense. 

I

Our current uniforms were a couple of years in the making. We played around with several designs before deciding on the tattered flag look. Traditionally a tattered flag is a symbol of strength and endurance. It shows that you still stand tall even in the hardest of times. It shows that victory isn't always easy and it's definitely not free. A tattered flag has been battle tested, but is always standing tall at the end of the day. 


On this Memorial Day Core Values VBC is participating in the final day of our first travel tournament ever. We've had two hard days, but an amazing thing happened last night. At the end of day two our girls overcame all of the struggles, the tiredness, the soreness, the frustration and came out victorious. I've been asked many times this weekend if we had our flag jerseys made just for this tournament... the answer was no, it's our every day uniform and this weekend I feel like our girls lived out the symbolism of those uniforms.  


It's super important that I also take the time to say that our battles as a club are in no way comparable to those amazing men and women in our armed forces. Core Values VBC fully supports our soldiers and we do several things each season to try to support them. From helping spread awareness on veteran homelessness, veteran suicide awareness, sending cards/letters and care packages and volunteering with organizations like Operation Care Package and the Marines Toys for Tots, our small club is trying to make an impact on our community. 

So on this Memorial Day we want to say "THANK YOU" to all of our active and retired military for your many sacrifices to our country. 

http://corevaluesvbc.blogspot.com/2017/05/happy-memorial-day.html


Subscribe to our blog!

posted May 12, 2017, 9:00 AM by Cynthia Dang

http://corevaluesvbc.blogspot.com/

You can also view the blog posts directly on our website.... but you might miss some bonus material that will only be posted to the blogspot site. 

Core Values is catching up!

posted May 12, 2017, 8:58 AM by Cynthia Dang

Well.... here we are.... our very first blog post for Core Values VBC. Over the years we've asked for feedback and ideas from our players and parents and this was one of those ideas that we knew we HAD to jump on. So, this week in practice our players got to write down some questions that they've been dying to ask about Coach Cindy, Core Values, and just volleyball in general. I'll tackle some of the more personal and intense questions in the coming weeks (like, "how does the 1st rule of thermodynamics play a role in volleyball?"), but for now I will start with the one that I think matters the most. 



WHY DID YOU START CORE VALUES? 
The answer to this comes in several parts. I have been coaching volleyball for just about 15 years, starting as an unofficial "assistant coach" my junior year in high school for a boys club team that our JV coach started. My senior year of high school I suffered a serious knee injury and thought that my days of playing volleyball were over. I knew at that time that I had to continue coaching to share my passion for the sport. Even back in high school I knew that eventually I wanted to start my own club. 

Fast forward a few years and I started as the Head Coach for the City of Golden CARA Volleyball program. Over the next few years I worked with some great kids and parents. As the kids approached high school age the parents usually came to me and asked about club volleyball. I would give them the names of some local places, they'd go to a camp or visit during a practice, and some would even tryout and make a team..... but they'd come back to the CARA program. They were having some awful experiences and wanted an environment where their kids could be more competitive than CARA, but still be able to enjoy volleyball and life outside of it. Traditional club programs can be very grueling and cause a lot of stress on the athlete and family. Stress coming in the form of school work failing because of spending too much time at the gym, confidence failing because of a coach that acts like a drill sergeant and is demeaning to players, and a HUGE financial stress with parents sometimes paying over $4000 for a season of volleyball. The more I heard the stories and the struggles, the more I knew I HAD to try to help these kids and their families have a positive volleyball experience. 

If you've read the "About Us" section of our website, then you also know that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to play club volleyball if not for my high school coaches, Tim and Wayne Trotter. They were the factor that made club volleyball possible for me and some of my teammates coming from families that lived paycheck-to-paycheck or were below the poverty level. Because they had access to local school gyms, and because they just had big hearts and wanted to see us play, they were able to create this low-cost option... when listing to our CARA parents I often thought to myself, "if they could do it, so can I". 

At the end of 2013 I started looking into starting my own club.... but wholly cow.... everything was so expensive! I learned quickly the value that the Trotters had provided. It took me several months, lots of credit card debt and countless hours, but I soon found everything I needed to get a club running. The last thing I needed was a club name. There are a lot of good, strong club names. There are over 100 clubs in Colorado alone, and wouldn't you know most of the names that popped into my head were already on that list. I spent a lot of time thinking about what the goals of the club would be, what impression do I want people to have when they see our name, what impression did I want to leave on our athletes? My past and the things that drove me to success kept coming into play... and then one day in random conversation with my boyfriend at the time I said something along the lines of "I really want this to align with my core values"... and well, there you have it... Core Values VBC was born. 

I am proud to say that three years in I believe that Core Values VBC and its athletes have a strong future ahead. I believe in teaching confidence so kids don't feel like I did growing up; I believe in teaching discipline so kids understand when it's time to focus and when it's okay to relax a little and just have fun; I believe in teaching determination because I never want a kid not to achieve their goals just because they gave up. When we start our season I try to stress these three "core values", and at the end of every practice, the beginning and end of every tournament we say "To the Core" as a reminder that it's not just about growth in volleyball, but life. 

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