Not just volleyball …


… but also a place to learn some of life’s lessons.

Last weekend we went to a volleyball tournament of sixth grade teams in Chicago.  It included two teams from Coco’s school, one of which is coached by DD.  Neither team won it all, but both won some of their games. 

DD says that in fifth and sixth grade, volleyball isn’t about winning.  You are teaching the girls the rules of the game and possibly a love of the game.  Then, if they like it and have an aptitude for it, they can go on to play on competitive teams in the higher grades.  I love that idea.

But, DD and the other coaches at her childrens’ grade school really act out this concept, not just talk it. 

There are eighteen girls in sixth grade who play volleyball, all at varying stages of development of their skills and interest.  That number of girls means that there need to be two teams so that everyone can play.  And, apparently, those two teams are fluid — the girls aren’t always divided up the same way.  I say that because I know that before the Saturday tournament, they were re-divided so that they were as even in talent as possible.  For example, the girls who have developed the skill to serve overhand (including Coco) were divided evenly between the teams.

As we were sitting there watching the teams play it occurred to me that each girl on these teams, no matter what her talent level is, is learning some valuable lessons.  Because the teams aren’t divided as an “A” and “B” team, with the “A” team being the one with all the best players on it, all the girls will experience winning and losing, together and equally. 

In all my years “in the bleachers” I have observed that a team or player who doesn’t have much experience losing, can fall apart if they start losing.  And a team or player who hardly ever wins, may have trouble picturing themselves winning, so sometimes mentally defeat themselves.  But in this grade school’s system all of the players are experiencing the high of winning and the disappointment of losing, and seeing clearly demonstrated that there are time that there are actually more important priorities than winning. 

A great lesson that will hold them in good stead in the future in all areas of their lives, not just volleyball.

Of course, we are proud of Coco, and she is blessed with some natural talent.  But, I am especially proud of our daughter, Coach DD.  When I watch her on the sidelines I see our always competitive daughter very successfully putting her competitiveness aside and just being a great encourager and teacher of young girls who may or may not go on to play the game, but who will hopefully have great memories of their time on her team.

6 Responses to Not just volleyball …

  1. Chrissy Witt says:

    this is such a neat “twist” to the way things are usually done! She has really found a way to bring out the talent in all the girls and teach them the love of the game, even if they aren’t that “A” team player! So cool. I think that passion for the game brings out a far better player anyway, a person who loves to play without the talent, becomes a person who loves to play with the skills!
    It sounds like DD is doing well, is she? I think of her very often, she is always on my mind! Any details you can give or even if you can encourage her to surprise us with a blog update would be loved!

  2. Sandra says:

    Chrissy — I agree about the “twist” — what a great way to introduce the girls to the game.

    DD is doing as well as can be expected, but nothing is final yet. She says it just isn’t fun to blog right now, because of all that’s going on. Please keep her in your prayers.

  3. Amy O says:

    I can’t wait until my girls get to that stage. I’m glad you had a good weekend!

  4. Sandra says:

    Amy — I do love sitting in the bleachers watching children play sports. I hope you will enjoy it as much when your girls reach that age! 🙂

  5. Amy O says:

    I saw Coco at church today. Please tell me she did not tear her ACL. Please know we are praying for DD and actually the whole family. It is rough for her and I know blogging should be the last thing she should worry about. I miss seeing her. Give her a hug from me the next time you see her.

  6. Sandra says:

    Amy — I called DD and asked about Coco’s knee. She said it’s just a deep bruise. Thank goodness!

    I will definitely pass on that hug. Thank you for being such a caring friend, Amy. 🙂

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