This is the first instalment of a series where I will try to give you an idea of the team through my eyes, as Head Coach of the Cardiff Valkyries. Through the series we will look at all aspects of the team, from development to the drills we run, and then preparing for games and tournaments.
In this first post, we set the scene by reflecting on the growth from our creation to now…
Looking back to February, I remember the first session we held. A group of determined women on a park in Cardiff braving the rain coming in sideways, freezing wind and a ridiculously muddy pitch. For these this sport was completely new. While some had watched games before, or had partners that played, none had ever attempted to play themselves. Yet there they were, battling the elements running routes and making blocks.
Back they came the following week…and the week after…more joined the group…the sun started to show itself…we added more complexity in…the players responded…we added more in…every time the players showed they want more.
Here now in May, the hard work that the team has put in through the training sessions has shown its reward. Growing in confidence each session they now look like a team, with players slotting into different positions and roles. On the Offence, we have multiple formations, motions, miss-directions and combination routes. On the Defence, we have different coverages, including some zone coverage and blitzes. Each week we put a little more in.
The club has big aspirations, and the work ethic reflects that. Everything we do is aimed at competing in the forthcoming national competitions, and some aspire beyond that to the development days for the GB squads. Each week takes us one step closer to that.
Yet, the team never loses sight of the fact that they are also there to have fun. Every session sees the jokes flying between the team and the atmosphere remains light and supportive. New players are welcomed in with current players engaging with them and helping them out with what they need to do.
For me it has been an amazing experience to watch. I can honestly say that stepping away from my previous club to undertake the role with the Valkyries was one of the hardest decisions I ever made, and one which I took a long time considering. However, watching them develop each week and seeing them genuinely enthusiastic to play the sport, I feel I made a good choice. While I will never forget my old club and the memories they gave me, I look forward to many more memories made with the Valkyries.
Head Coach – Cardiff Valkyries