A first-year head coach never has an easy job during their rookie season. Whether they come into a winning situation with high expectations, or a rebuilding scenario where they are expected to build a program from the ground up, there are always more roadblocks during that initial campaign.
The difference between most first-year head coaches and Kassidy Allen is that while other coaches had a full offseason to prepare, she had about two weeks. Allen was named the head coach of the Jackson County volleyball team a mere 14 days before their first match, a situation that doesn’t require much explanation regarding how tough it was.
“Coming into my first year two weeks before the first game, it was very hard because we were a young team,” Allen said. “It’s hard to pick out who works well together, and it took us a while (to gel).”
What was the silver lining to this situation? The team is only having to replace two players, one due to graduation and the other due to relocation. Even though it’s tough to replace anyone on a team that spent a year playing together, it will make Allen’s job much easier to manage.
“Knowing everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, and having some athletic upcoming freshman, I really think this season is going to be a lot better,” Allen said. “I have a better idea of what we need to work on.”
Chemistry will be the factor in whether or not this team takes a step forward next season. With a full year under their belt, one would expect that they know where each other will serve the team best, and Allen is certainly banking on that being what propels this team forward.
“Given that most of them played together last year, I feel like they’re going to do a much better job this year at communicating,” Allen said. “We’re going to be better at playing together than we were last year, so I’m pretty confident about us this year.”
This is a team-game, and it requires that everyone works together in unison in order to be successful. Allen just has a simple expectation for all of her players, but it could be the difference in winning and losing.
“I expect everyone to know their jobs and what they need to do,” Allen said. “Losing two starters, a lot of schools lose more than that. They know that I expect them to step up and play a lot harder than last year …I think they’re going to give me everything that I expect.”