- Alma School District
Only ONE Airedale means … only ONE Airedale- 05/27/2021
By Kevin Taylor
Alma volleyball coach Kim Weaver couldn't be any happier with Tuesday's first-ever spring volleyball match. She spoke to the parents of kids in elementary and middle school about growing the program.
The Lady Airedales played a spirited best-of-three match, too.
But the real message is one her program struggled mightily with in 2020. Weaver’s memo to potential players and their parents was to encourage everyone, from the kid at the end of the bench to the one missing a potential game-winner.
Win as one, grow as one.
“The challenge is to better equip ourselves to believe in each other and trust each other,” Weaver said. “One of the things we talk about every day is, 'If I don't trust the person next to me, am I really going to work hard for that person?' But when she's my teammate, and her success is my success, I'm going to chase down that ball because I'm not just doing it for myself — I'm doing it for my teammates. Once we grow in those two areas, we're going to see that skill work explode.
"We can't neglect this idea of investing in trusting each other."
The Lady Airedales will move into Weaver’s second full season as coach without a lot of key seniors from 2020. But the program does have key pieces such as Rachel James, Rebekah McIntosh, Makinzie Erwin, Jocelyn Harless, Chara Dean and Riley Vann, to name a few.
Alma’s also adding players from the 13-7 ninth grade squad and the 11-7 eighth grade team.
"As a whole, the high school program is in a really, really good place," Weaver said. "Our girls that we have coming up in our program have worked extremely hard over the last few months. Even though we're closing this chapter of school, we're super pumped to kick off our 2020-21 season."
Alma opens the 2021 campaign Aug. 23 against Charleston.
"Our kids have worked really hard this semester," Weaver said. “It means so much to see every part of our community that's involved in volleyball come together for volleyball for one night. I'm super excited.”
Weaver spoke about the team’s circle, which includes everyone, from players to parents.
"Obviously, it's my job to build a winning program," she said. "But I believe there are other things we need to do to prioritize and take steps to win ball games. You have to look at yourself first. Are we a part of the problem, or are we a part of the solution? If you think about this big circle, it includes our kids, the staff, and you (parents) inside that circle. What I really need is for that circle to be safe; a safe place where they can make mistakes or maybe miss the match-point serve, but they're encouraged to keep working and not encouraged to quit. How are we talking about teammates? What relationships are we building within our circle? How are we building each other up?
"Those kids want to do nothing more than to please you and make you proud of them. They pay attention to so much; they see our body language as a staff."
The ‘Green’ team unofficially defeated the ‘White’ team, two games to one, Tuesday.
"We've been looking forward to this for a couple of months," Weaver said. ""It's a chance for them to put on the uniform and compete. I think it closes one door, yet opens another."
"For us, we view it as our jumping-off point for what we want to do in the community."