Because varsity athletes only have a two to four year window to compete at the prep level, change is inevitable.
For North Callaway one difference the volleyball program is dealing with this year is the departure of previous head coach Jessica Hager, which opened the door for Athletic Director Michael Emmons to hire Kayla Peterson as her replacement.
"This is actually my second year coaching volleyball at the high school level. These girls have been amazing," Peterson said. "They're accepting and willing to work. Everybody has been fantastic here."
For 2017-18, Peterson will also be teaching language arts at North Callaway high school. This comes after holding the head job at Linn High School last year and leading the team to a record of 14-3-9 during the regular season.
"I played volleyball in high school and I've coached in the Parks and Recreation League. I've coached third grade, fourth grade and I played club volleyball in high school," said Peterson. "When I got out of college and I went back to Linn they needed a volleyball coach. I've also coached sixth grade and club volleyball."
One part of the game that seems rather similar to Peterson at the various levels she's coached is the techniques she teaches her players. The only variation to that theme is the less experienced kids need more explanation and understanding, a role she's already playing with the Ladybirds by training the varsity and JV athletes as a single unit.
"The practices are very alike. We run the same drills," Peterson said. "For the younger athletes we break things down more. It's not quite as intense and has a slightly slower pace, but I coach all the girls basically the same. They all un the same drills. When I coached the sixth graders many of them had played the game before, so it really depends. With this group we have a range from freshmen who have never played before to seniors who've played for four, five or six years."
Next up for North Callaway volleyball was their Hallsville summer league games on Thursday. The team then returned to the high school on Friday for day three of a four-day camp they're currently holding.
"I know it's hard for these players when a new coach comes in and wants them to do everything different," said Peterson. "They've been very flexible and they're really great girls."