Kylie Dorton: Helping Your Players Develop their Personalities Makes Your Team Stronger

My name is Kylie Dorton and I was born, raised, and still reside in Delaware County, Indiana. I started playing club volleyball when I was 8 years old. I played club volleyball and school volleyball through middle school and high school. I went on to play at The University of West Florida. However I finished college, graduating from Ball State. I have worked for 7 years as a dental assistant. I’ve been coaching club volleyball for 11 years. I am married and have a 2 year old little boy. 

 

I started coaching club volleyball at Delta Juniors. After 2 years I switched over to Munciana. I was an assistant coach for 4 years of the 12’s team, head coach of the 11’s for 3 years, and head coach of the 12’s for the past 2 years. I have also coached 6th and 8th grade at Delta Middle School. I assistant for 1 year at Burris for their varsity team. I coach 12 and under. I have been with this age group for 12 years. On my team I have 10-12 girls. At my camps I’ve had up to 60 kids. Camps can have very large numbers, which you try to keep no more than 10 to a court. 

 

 

Every year club sports seems to become more intense and all-consuming. Also parents are much more involved now than when I played. There are fewer kids that are all around athletes and more that are 1 sport athletes and are complete gym rats. I find myself teaching throwing mechanics and how to jump rope because kids are not outside playing and being active kids.

There are more opportunities for scholarships and kids really set their sights on that from a very early age. When I was a kid that was just not on my radar. The game is played at such a high level even at 12’s. The speed at which 12 year olds can play is amazing. I have kids at 12 that have already been playing for 5 years! 

 

I love coaching 12s because I am a big believer in fundamentals and repetitions. However getting reps in can be very tedious. I preach and preach discipline. I try to keep the amount of repetitions we do in a drill very high and keep the drill moving quickly for a shorter period of time because they lose interest very quickly with basic movements and skills. 

 

 

I think it’s important especially in today’s age to understand that (most) coaches are doing the best job that they can with the knowledge they have. Coaches chose to coach because they have passion and want to share that passion. On our team we stress that we are making confident, self-reliant, responsible, disciplined young women.

For so many of us there’s more to coaching than just the game. When practices were first cancelled I wrote out a detailed workout and practice plan which they could do at home. After a couple weeks Munciana also came out with some workouts which girls would alternate with my workouts. So they had my workouts M W F and club wide workouts T Th S. We stay in touch each week about what they are doing, how the workouts are going, or if they have any questions. 

 

 

 

As a coach one of the hardest things to develop is the mindset that winning is not THE most important aspect of the game. You really have to invest yourself in each individual. Find out what their goals are, where they see themselves as a player in the future, what their strengths and weaknesses are.

When you become more dedicated to meeting your kids needs, helping them develop as a person as well as a player, your team naturally becomes stronger. When kids know you support them and there is mutual respect, they are more willing to buy into your game plan and to let you lead them.

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