Friday, September 17, 2010

One Week In

So as our first week as a team nears its end, I though I might share my thoughts with you. As expected, we have a great amount of talent on our team. Currently we are without two of our left-sides, as Niko Rukavina just had surgery on his foot and Will Sidgwick is still away in Turkey at the World Beach Volleyball Championships. Niko and Will are two of our best passers, so their absence – while felt daily, creates a great opportunity for others to step up and increase their reps.

It is always interesting and challenging as a coach when you have a team like ours. What I mean by that is, we now have 5 guys in fourth year who are all very experienced and have extensive backgrounds – from the Canada Games Team – to the National Team, Queen’s aside. They are all 21 years old, have played at this level for three years, have spent 3 years training with us in the weight room and were all starters in our National 5th place finish and OUA title, last season.

Then there are the new guys. One had his 18th birthday yesterday, another has never played club, a third had to sit out a year because there was no program at 19U in his community….. so there is a gap. Actually, it is a big gap. Not unexpected, but a gap none the less. Of course the gap is somewhat bridged by the guys in second and third year, which is great, but there is still a gap.

My job is to close that gap and still keep the vets moving it forward towards our goal. It is going to take patience and support from them and perseverance and determination from the new guys, but I have complete confidence we will get it done. We have been quite technical all week and there has definitely been progress, but we aren’t there yet.

To that end, we are getting into some bonding stuff tomorrow. After practicing late and doing a beep test tonight, the boys will come together again tomorrow, in their jerseys to do some community service. The Team will be cleaning up the campus and ghetto between 1:45 and 3:15pm tomorrow and once we dispose of the heap of garbage bags, we will get cleaned up, attend the Kill McGill 100th Anniversary Women’s Basketball Game in the ARC and then head back to my place for a Bar-B-Q (steak) dinner.

We will stay in a technical phase for one more week, despite the fact that we have an Alumni Game next Saturday, but then we will move more to systems, because we will be going out to Winnipeg to test ourselves against the Wesmen and Bisons in 4 matches out there.

Our first big gig at home will be a pretty special one! On October 15th to 17th we will be hosting the 24th Annual Queen’s Invitational. Trinity Western, last year’s CIS silver medalists, along with Brandon (2009 CIS Bronze) and the University of Western Ontario (2010 OUA silver medalists) for 3 days of exciting matches. The games are at 6 & 8 (we play at 8) both Friday and Saturday and then at 1 and 3 (we are at 3) on Sunday.

Hope to see you there!