Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lady Raider Varsity and Junior Varsity Volleyball 2014

Don Norris kindly sends over a couple of photos of this year's varsity and junior varsity volleyball teams.

Varsity. What stands out immediately is more height up front.

Junior varsity.


Developing a personal brand greatly influences both your perception and results.

Jayson Demers writes, "personal branding requires you to find a signature image, a unique voice, and a recognizable standard that your readers, fans, and customers can grow to recognize."

He outlines a five step process to branding:

Step 1: Determine Your Area of Expertise
Step 2: Start Writing and Publishing
Step 3: Flesh Out Your Social Media Profiles
Step 4: Speak at Events and Develop Case Studies
Step 5: Network, Network, Network
Melrose has had a number of successful players who played all-around (front and back row), but increasingly developed players with specialized expertise. For example, Sarah McGowan achieved All-State honors as a devastating hitter (although she had excellent back row skills), while Jen Cain may not have been as well-recognized but made great contributions both in the back and at the net, both at Melrose and at Merrimack College. 
Developing your brand involves promotion in a variety of areas, such as blogging, social media sites, LinkedIn, and other publications. Whatever your accomplishments, credit your mentors and teammates, and never criticize a teammate. 
Never write anything on social media that would disqualify you from consideration on a future position because of an indictment of your character or values. Major colleges often have social media consultants who monitor their athletes. suggested that you never write while angry and consider writing on another source (e.g. Notepad or Notes rather than composing on the fly on social media). 
Become a storyteller. The power of stories has historical roots in Gary Klein's "Sources of Power" and is exceptionally well-developed in the Heath Brothers' "Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die." This is a book about giving presentations deserving a read by every secondary school student. People remember great stories that have personal, credible, emotional, and often unexpected twists. 
Your brand grows in concert with your leadership and communication skills. Influence doesn't happen automatically; you must nurture your skills Voltaire wrote in Candide, we must take care of our garden.” “You are in the right,” said Pangloss; “for when man was put into the garden of Eden, it was with an intent to dress it: and this proves that man was not born to be idle.” Consider reading leadership authors such as John C. Maxwell, Jeffrey Gitomer, Stephen Covey, or Tony Robbins. 
Melrose volleyball has grown in proportion to the excellence of its leadership, its winning tradition, positive culture, and the character of its most important assets, the players. Find new ways to grow the program and cultivate your personal brand. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Good Problems

“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” -- Duke Ellington

Good problems for TEAMs include having a surfeit of good players, competition for a limited number of spots, players working to get more time on the floor.

As Melrose prepares for the 2014 season, Coach Celli will look for players to step up to rebuild the back row, with the departure of graduating All-State libero Jill MacInnes, and strong back row players like Annalisa DeBari, Maave Moriarty, and Cassidy Barbaro.

As a (basketball) coach, I appreciate players who not only want more game opportunities, but those who ask specifically how they can EARN MORE TIME. As a former volleyball parent, I recognize the frustration for some TEAM members and their families who wonder how coaching decisions are made. Again, wearing my coaching shoes, I recognize that excellent coaches make decisions based on their evaluation of what serves the TEAM best. It is both unethical and irresponsible for coaches to make decisions for political reasons.

Having observed Melrose volleyball since the 2002 season, I can unequivocally state that players get opportunity based on ability, consistency, and production not on years on the team or seniority. For example, during the State Championship run in 2012, Cassidy Barbaro, a junior, carved out an important role by becoming an offensive weapon from the service line. Prior to that time, she had practiced hard yet been unable to develop a specific niche.

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. At the volleyball banquet each season, Coach Celli clarifies that every spot on the TEAM and every role is open for competition. Some players will force their way onto the floor through their contributions in practice, preseason scrimmages, and games. Inevitably, one player's rise comes at the expense of a TEAMmate's 'minutes.'

Not everyone can be a great player, but everyone can be a great TEAMmate. As a player, whatever your role, you should work to perform that role to the best of your ability. I read a story about a player being recruited by Roy Williams at North Carolina. The player fouled out during an AAU game. He didn't sulk or pout, but immediately took the time to get cups of water for his TEAMmates when he came off the floor. He showed his commitment to the TEAM, impressing Williams, and earned a scholarship and subsequently went to the NBA.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Early Season Schedule

Melrose launches its 2014 season with several attractive early matches.

The Lady Raiders open up against Ursuline (2013 record 16-6) with an evening contest and have their Middlesex League opener on Monday September 8th. After traveling to Belmont, they return home against perennial Division I powerhouse Newton North.

When we hosted North coach Richard Barton on our "Let's Talk Sports" show, he spoke about the importance of "intent" in volleyball. He emphasized hitter development with power first and accuracy second, and when North comes to Melrose you will see uninhibited hitters at the net.

Monday, August 25, 2014

2014 Varsity Roster


The 2014 team returns with a customary blend of youth and experience. The roster breakdown shows five seniors, three juniors, three sophomores, and one freshman.

Newcomers include junior Meagan Leyne, sophomore Kaitlyn MacInnes, and freshman Lily Fitzgerald.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Highlight Videos

Jeff Mate' has provided contract video services over the years which can help players continue their volleyball at the next level. Please be aware that most college coaches want not only a highlight video but a full game to review. Players may also find video useful for developing their mental "highlight" video for sports psychology (see Jason Selk, "Ten Minute Toughness"). Here are a couple of recent ones...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bay State Games

Coach Scott Celli has assumed duties as the coach of the Northeast team in the Bay State Games volleyball tournament. The games will be held at the UMASS-Boston facility on July 12th and 13th, 2014.

Melrose teammates on the Northeast squad include Meri Lessing, Allie Nolan, Hannah Mulcahy, and Marissa Cataldo.

Melrose High School has generously volunteered the Middle School Gymnasium for tryouts and practices leading up to the Bay State Games.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Bring INTENT to the Floor

Cross-post from Bring INTENT to your game.