Irish Slated Fourth In Preseason ACC Poll

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the second straight season Notre Dame has been selected fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference volleyball preseason poll, the conference office announced on Friday. The Irish placed two players on the Preseason All-ACC Team in senior Ryann DeJarld and Jemma Yeadon.

The Fighting Irish received 137 points in balloting among the ACC’s 15 head coaches. Pittsburgh topped the poll with 196 points. Louisville (180) was slotted second, with Florida State (171) third and Duke (121) fifth.

DeJarld cemented her status as one of the top liberos in the country in her junior campaign, shattering the program record for digs in a season with 747, which ranked fourth in the nation. The libero finished the 2017 season averaging an astounding 6.12 digs per set. DeJarld has also excelled in the service game, hammering out 41 aces, the second most on the team this season.

DeJarld also set the all-time Notre Dame program record for career digs this season, accumulating 1,808 digs in just three seasons of play. The Chicago native ranks fifth for all active players in Division I in career digs per set with a mark of 5.06.

Yeadon carried much of the load in the attack for the Irish in her sophomore season. The outside hitter averaged a team-high 3.91 kills per set to total 453 in 2017, which rank sixth in program history for kills in a single season. Yeadon also added 315 digs, 70 blocks and 29 aces.

Yeadon was one of Notre Dame’s most consitent hitters all season, posting double-digit kills in 26-of-30 matches she played in during the year. The Mercer Island, Washington, native posted a career-high 27 kills against Syracuse (11/22), the most any Notre Dame student-athlete logged in a match since the 2012 season.

DeJarld, Yeadon and the Irish open the 2018 regular season with the Golden Dome Invitational on August 24 and 25. Notre Dame welcomes Weber State at 7 p.m. on August 24 and then will host Toledo and Northern Kentucky on August 25. All three matches will be played in Purcell Pavilion.

The Irish 2018 schedule features 14 home matches, nine of which are conference matches. Notre Dame is coming off a 2017 season in which the Irish earned their first NCAA Championships berth since the 2012 season this year and finished with a record of 22-10. Notre Dame has now recorded back-to-back 20-plus win seasons for the first time since 2004 and 2005.

Balance: The Foundation of Success

The 2017 World Series was balanced. The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers were neck and neck in every game, making for a very exciting series to watch and learn from. But if one team had totally outmatched the other, we wouldn’t be calling it one of the best World Series ever. It was as if both teams made each other better by continually raising the bar.

That’s what competition is all about: two equally matched teams, each tipping the balance in their favor—if only by one run.

But balance isn’t just physical; it’s a way of living one’s life. Striking a healthy balance in youth sports has much to do with perspective and good judgement. When my son was six, his baseball team won every game with scores like 20 to one and 30 to three. Because this rec team was unfairly stacked with the most talented athletes, there was absolutely no competition; any type of learning life lessons from failure was unfortunately put off until a later date. And how do you think the inexperienced six-year-old kids on the other teams felt? In this unbalanced situation, created by adults with poor judgement and lack of perspective, nobody won.

When winning is over-emphasized in youth sports, imbalance is usually the result.

In youth sports, there are often two philosophies when it comes to winning: winning is unimportant or winning is the only thing. Neither of these extremes represents a balanced approach. Winning is important, because without the desire to win, it’s no longer sport and any opportunity to learn life lessons through competition will be lost. But when a coach’s sole desire is winning, kids are the losers. Overtraining, playing too many games and pressure to perform beyond their ability results in burnout and over-use injuries.

The rising popularity of travel teams has produced many unbalanced situations. They are not all created equal so research is important. When managed responsibly, however, they can be a good venue for kids whose interest level matches the commitment. Being on a travel team is not an automatic stepping stone to the future. If you think it is, you may be disappointed. There must be a proper balance of playing time and personal training on skill development for progress to happen, whether playing travel ball or not.

The only stepping stone to something bigger lies within one’s self. There must be a self-motivating notion that drives a player forward, no matter what.

Physical Balance:

Mastering one’s physical balance is the first step in developing athleticism. In martial arts, the code of karate states: “A person’s unbalance is the same as a weight.” Trying to execute a difficult athletic movement without a solid foundation of balance will be futile as the body fights to overcome unwanted movement or weight. Whether it’s a boxer delivering a punch or a baseball player swinging a bat, it’s all about focusing all of your energy into the movement in the most efficient way possible.

When the body is unbalanced, this does not happen. The nervous system must recruit muscles to try to regain balance, leaving less energy to put into the ball, resulting in a weaker hit, for example.

Mental Balance:

When a hitter steps into the batter’s box, or a basketball player steps up to the free throw line, their mental approach will prove to be the difference maker between success and failure. At this moment, an over-competitive mind will cause an out of control body and mechanics will suffer. When mental stimulation is balanced, previous physical training will manifest itself to the highest degree possible. Achieving mental balance starts with taking a breath before every pitch, free throw, serve or swing.

Whether it’s an entertaining World Series or our kids seeking joy in playing sports, balance is needed for good outcomes to become possible. For kids, a balanced approach to their sports experience is crucial whether it’s to avoid overuse injuries and burnout, or to avoid laziness by thinking others will make them great by creating unrealistic opportunities for them.

Chuck Schumacher is the author of “How to Play Baseball: A Parents Role in Their Child’s Journey,” available at (signed copy) or Amazon. Chuck has 20 years experience as a youth baseball coach and 40 years experience in martial arts. In 2006, he opened Chuck’s Gym in Franklin, Tenn., where he teaches baseball and Okinawan karate. You can contact Chuck at

Bringing Best Practices from the Classroom to the Ballfields

Here in the United States, we have 150 years of research in the field of education, however hardly any of it is being applied to youth sports. But why? Young athletes are students of the game, while coaches become their educators. Oftentimes, parents have the same high expectations for their kids in school as they do on the ballfields. At iSport360 we believe in applying best practices from the classroom to the ballfields, courts or rinks and we’re providing coaches, parents and kids the tools to do it.

Back-to-School Night – for Coaches and Parents

The beginning of the school year always starts with Back-to-School Night, the perfect opportunity for a teacher to set expectations, an agenda and the tone for the year. I like to use the same strategy with the teams I coach. Before each season, I typically get the team parents together to set the tone and talk about goals for the kids. I always emphasize skill development; however, I also remind parents that encouraging life skills, fun and a love of the game are equally important.

I also set the important expectations that parents should not coach from the sidelines. It’s not that I’m a control freak. Countless studies have taught us all the reasons why kids benefit when their parents stay quiet on the sidelines. (More on this topic in another article.) The most important point is to use a “Back-to-School Night” to get coach and parents on the same page.

Parent-Teacher Conferences – at the Ballfields

Every school holds periodic parent-teacher conferences so teachers can share feedback and get parents to help in areas where their kids need it most. Since most school districts now have an online parent portal, there’s no excuse for parents and teachers to not be on the same page. If parents and teachers are collaborating to accelerate student achievement, why are we not applying this in youth sports?

Parent-coach conferences do happen at the ballfields; however, they are usually of the “unscheduled” variety where a heated parent confronts a coach to find out why their kid didn’t get more playing time or didn’t make the travel team. Coaches HATE this. So, let’s apply what we know works in the classroom. Proactive player feedback and regular coach communication would do wonders for coaches and parents, as well as helping to avoid the dreaded coach-parent arguments. And with all of the great youth sports software coming to market, we now have “parent portals” for youth sports. TeamSnap is the leading platform for managing communication, rosters, schedules and more! iSport360 is the first-ever platform for coaches and parents to share objective player feedback. 

Report Cards – for Youth Athletes

Could you imagine if your child’s school told you they would no longer be sharing report cards, test scores or quiz scores with you? Would you ever accept that? Then why do we pay thousands of dollars for our kids’ youth sports programs and accept coaches that do not provide objective assessments and feedback? I’m not suggesting the goal of assessments should be a college scholarship for our kids, but rather to obtain feedback in order to know where we can help our kids build their skills.

Core Standards – in Sports

Every state in the US subscribes to federal or local education standards to ensure that students are on a path to success. In fact, educators are trained to tie their curriculum, tests and quizzes directly to the core standards. Why then don’t we have core standards in youth sports? Wouldn’t it help to have some guidelines that are specific to sport, age and gender to help us guide our kids? Today, every coach and trainer in the US is teaching to a different set of skills that he/she has in their head. Certainly when they are assessing players at tryouts, they are not using any consistent, objective, transparent standards. It’s no wonder tryout season is the most terrifying time of year for the kids and their parents.

Ian Goldberg is the Founder and CEO of iSport360, an early stage SportsTech company that is helping youth sport coaches and parents share objective player feedback. He is a thought leader and fervent believer in the power of ongoing feedback and how it can improve the youth sports experience for coaches, parents and kids. Try the iSport360 app here, the first-ever mobile app for coaches and parents to share objective feedback on their players.

7 Core Values of Youth Sports

Sometimes it’s necessary for coaches to go back to the basics when teaching skills in youth sports. This is how you throw. This is the best hitting technique. This is how to do a lay-up.

I think it’s time for us to go back to the basics in youth sports by naming the core values of what parents and coaches should really be doing in the world of competition. These are the basics that we must remember, the core values that should guide the youth sports journey.

Youth PitchersCore Value #1 Youth sports is not an end, but a means to an end.

It is a golden opportunity to teach character that will impact young athletes for life.

Core Value #2 Youth sports should always be fun.

There will be hard work too, of course, but kids must enjoy it or they will not keep playing. Kids can learn many good things while having fun.

Core Value #3 Youth athletes are better together.

Teamwork will always make each individual player better.

Core Value #4 Youth sports should raise humble leaders.

Leaders that are worth following are those who are servant leaders. They support everyone on the team and are not consumed with themselves.

Core Value #5 Youth athletes should be better people after the experience.

Better athletes, more skilled, a better understanding of the game—yes to all of those. But also better human beings who’ve learned to have compassion, be patient and work hard.

Core Value #6 Youth sports is for everyone.

Regardless of race, economic status, or ability, if a  child wants to play, then let’s find a way for that happen!

Core Value #7 Youth sports is for the kids, not the adults.

Parents and coaches must keep their egos, private ambitions and issues out of youth sports. Let the kids play!

Wishing you a great year of youth sports in 2018 with these core values at the foundation of all you do!

Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called Her new book, 11 Habits for Happy and Positive Sports Parents, is on Amazon.

Dribbling for Beginners

The first drill you do at your first practice… Each player begins with a ball and works in one spot before moving with the dribble.

Pitter-Patter: Have players practice batting the ball in the air from hand to hand using only the tips of their fingers. As they get better at this, have them change elevation of the ball relative to their bodies.

Around the waist: Have the players warp the ball around their waist from one hand to the other. Then change direction and have them try without looking down at the ball.

Figure 8: With their legs shoulder width apart, have the players move the ball in a figure 8 pattern around their legs. They are not yet dribbling the ball, just moving it between their legs without it hitting the ground.

Dribble in place: Show the players the TRIPLE THREAT position – knees slightly bent, back straight, feet forward and shoulder width apart, head up. Have the players dribble in place without moving or losing the ball. Emphasize keeping their heads up and looking at you and using the fingertips. Switch hands.

After a break, move on to these movement drills:

Right/Left Hand dribble: Have the players dribble with one hand all the way across the court. Switch hands and dribble with the other hand all the way back. To encourage them to keep their heads up, hold a number of fingers above your head and have them call out how many they see.

Crossover Dribble: Have players dribble to free throw line with one hand, then switch to dribble with their other hand to the free throw line, then switch back to the next free throw line, then again at the far free throw line to the end.

Change of Pace: Have the players dribble at normal speed, blow the whistle once to dribble on the run, two whistle toots returns to normal pace.

Double Ball Dribble: Have players dribble two balls at the same time all the way down and back.

This practice plan was put together with the assistance of YMBA Basketball Coaches Guide.

Skills Drills Volleyball: Volleyball Serving




This youth volleyball drill will help to improve a players serving accuracy while helping the other player move to the ball.


Players 1 and 2 serve 5 balls each. Player 3 and 4 pass the ball to player 5 who catches the ball and rolls it back under the net to the servers.

  • Servers should try and serve into the open court to make it difficult for the receivers

Coaching Points

  • First look at the target before serving

Sport Physical Form 2017

The most frequently requested and downloaded form is the Student-Athlete Physical Exam / Medical History Form.

There is a new physical form available this year. Please make every effort to fill these out before the season begins.  You can download your form below by clicking on the link.

Sport Physical Form

Grace W. Athlete of the Month

Grace says the hardest thing about playing volleyball is that you always have to keep trying your best especially when you are tired. She really likes Math because it makes her think harder. When she’s not doing homework or playing volleyball she likes playing outside, camping,  reading,  golfing, hanging out with friends and her dog, baking and watching TV. Grace’s favorite food is ice cream, especially any flavor with cookies in it, because cookies are delicious! She doesn’t really have a favorite book or movie. She thinks they are all good! One of her favorite authors is Judy Blume.

Her words of advice for the younger ABVM students …… “Always try your best and work hard“.

Girl’s Athlete of the Month

Samantha says her favorite subject is science “because it is very important to our world & It always leads to new discoveries and new strategies”.  When asked what the hardest part of playing her sports was, she said in basketball its stamina. Sometimes she has trouble keeping up with the others. In softball it’s batting, you have to be careful when it comes to where you hold the bat and where the ball hits the bat. And the hardest part of shot-put is positioning. She says, You can tear muscles if you are not careful. Her favorite foods are three cheese nachos from Qdoba and seafood Alfredo from Olive Garden. She likes hanging out with a friend, playing video games and being around family in her free time. Samantha enjoys the book Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf and her favorite movies are Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and iRobot. She loves fantasy and science fiction movies and books. Her advice to the younger students at ABVM…..  “If you have a passion for anything, follow it. Don’t let what others say stop you. And always be positive. Remember to have fun. Always be there for friends. Don’t forget to make time for friends and family. Try your best. Always”.

Athletes with Concussion Symptoms


• Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness.

• Athletes who have, at any point in their lives, had a concussion have an increased risk for another concussion.

• Young children and teens are more likely to get a concussion and take longer to recover than adults.



• Headache or “pressure” in head

• Nausea or vomiting

• Balance problems or dizziness

• Double or blurry vision

• Sensitivity to light

• Sensitivity to noise

• Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy

• Concentration or memory problems

• Confusion

• Just not “feeling right” or is “feeling down”



• Appears dazed or stunned

• Is confused about assignment or position

• Forgets an instruction

• Is unsure of game,score, or opponen

t • Moves clumsily

• Answers questionsslowly

• Loses consciousness (even briefly)

• Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes

• Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall

• Can’t recall events after hit or fall