The first day has finally arrived! This is a day I wait for every year, and one that brings both great joy and a small amount of sadness. The joy part is obvious - I get to coach the kids again. The sadness part simply comes from missing those that have competed in the past. I couldn't be prouder of those that have gone on to do bigger better things, but their absence is always felt the first day of the year.
Now onto the good stuff!
First off, we have over 250 athletes again this year. Checking in that number of athletes takes time and patience. If we didn't have the tremendous (and incredibly large) manager crew we do, we'd be in real trouble. The did an amazing job at "managing" (see what I did there?) our kids as they came in and not only checked in, but also handed in paperwork and other various forms. They have saved us countless hours over the years, and we are extremely grateful!
Once check in was completed we spent a great deal of time going over daily routines and program expectations. We purposely communicate our high expectations and love for the sport right away so that athletes understood what they signing up for. Once that was completed we had kids pick out their athletic lockers for the season and pick up a book we are using for a book study about mental strength.
The next step was to introduce the coaching staff. Just like our manager roster, we may an incredible amount of qualified individuals on our coaching (roughly 20)! The greatest things about our staff though are our dedication to the sport and our athletes, the lack of egos and selfishness, and a true love for one another. We are sincerely like a family, and it is a family that I have seen often during the offseason, but have been eager to coach with again - and that time has finally come!
What's makes our staff and my upcoming season even greater this year, is a new coach on the jumps staff - Coach Kernen. For the first time ever an alumni jumper I coached in my early years has returned to the program as a volunteer coach. Watching her introduce herself was an amazing experience for me and one I honesty will never forget. The realization that you helped build a love for the sport to the point of wanting to coach it after graduating from college is one I don't take lightly. I couldn't be happier that she is on staff this year! Her, Coach Cross (another jumps coach), and I are going to be one heck of a team this season!
After coaching introductions we were supposed to teach the athletes our team warm up ankle ankle mobility drills but ran out of time. Instead, we started our book club; and it was amazing!
The book club is going to be lead by a coach by the name of Paul Frank. In all honestly, he may be the best coach I've ever met. He knows how to approach kids. He is an incredible communicator. He is passionate. The list honestly could go on for quite some time, but the one attribute that makes this book study really exciting is that he is one of our district's AP Psychology teachers. The things he said yesterday during that study was inspiring. He already has laid the foundation for something special this season, and I cannot wait to see how our athletes respond.
Mental strength is not something many teams focus on, but it is of GREAT importance. I highly recommend looking into this at your earliest convenience! Some see it as "hokum," but I can promise you it will be worth your team's time and efforts.
We will be teaching the components we weren't able to tonight, and will be doing some other "testing" to see where our kids are at. Really looking forward to it!