LaGrange Academy is building a volleyball program, not just a team
Posted 9:15 a.m. Saturday, September 17, 2022
These are the fundamentals. That’s what the LaGrange Academy volleyball program instills in its young sixth-grade team.
“Four years ago some girls came up to me and asked me why we didn’t have a volleyball team,” Warriors middle school coach Christy Dolinger said. “A fellow teacher and I decided to take it on.”
The sixth-grade team plays three-on-three games against each other before most university and college home games. This gives the girls a chance to master the basics of the game, so they will have a chance to shine once they reach the higher levels of the game.
“I mix up teams every week, so they learn to play with everyone,” Dolinger said. “We usually go three-on-three, but we went six-on-six this week, and that seemed to really help them a lot. They move their feet faster, they become more confident, they gain more experience and they all want to follow the sport of volleyball.
It’s the inaugural season for the sixth-grade team.
LaGrange Academy volleyball is starting to see the fruits of its labor. The team returned after more than a decade without a team. Now, the teams are in top form since the reform of the program. The college team is currently undefeated and the varsity team had a seven-game winning streak earlier this year. The program has grown in terms of the technical ability of the players but also in the number of young girls willing to participate in the volleyball program.
“We lost a lot early on, but it was okay,” Dolinger said. “We made it fun, and last year I ended up with 22 girls on my bench for the college team.”
LaGrange Academy is about building a better program, not just an individual team. It’s one of the reasons freshman varsity coach Scott Lewis was intrigued by the opening of the head coaching position.
“One thing I asked for was that I would have some influence on the feeding schedule,” Lewis said. “I felt that to have a successful college program, you have to invest and produce a good college program.”
The improvements and gains made by Dolinger and Lewis at the college level will help the university in the long run.
“It’s about reaching them at the grassroots level,” Lewis said. “If volleyball is introduced to them at a young age, and they are taught the techniques and skills and given a bit of competition, that will make them a much better volleyball player at the future.”
This is a collaborative effort between two people who love volleyball and want to see it grow within the confines of LaGrange Academy.
“Christy brought a lot of really great ideas to the table,” Lewis said. “We share our knowledge. We are not the keepers of what we have learned. We want to pass it on to others. »
Although Lewis is new to the Warrior Way, he has already adapted quite quickly. Dolinger, on the other hand, helped build the Warrior volleyball culture from the ground up. It was hard work, but his creativity and ingenuity helped the Warriors reach the state of prosperity they are in.
“My husband and I went to Home Depot to get some duct tape, and we made our own sidelines so we could make mini-courts,” Dolinger said. “We got creative. I used Pinterest and YouTube and threw a whole bunch of ideas together. It is a conglomeration of several ideas. The first practice was a bit chaotic and we had to find a way to improve it.
It’s been a long journey to get the LaGrange Academy volleyball team back up and running and competing at a high level. There was blood, sweat, and tears in the process, but the rewards justify the rocky start to the journey.
“When we started there was such a skills deficit that all we could do was react and play defense, but we became more attacking,” Dolinger said. “Once you are able to hone your skills and more importantly develop a team culture where everyone wants to help. When someone makes a mistake, it’s everyone’s mistake, and when someone’s successful, it’s everyone’s success. This allows teams to start playing offensively and be proactive instead of just reactive.