SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — Starting a program from scratch is no easy task. There are learning curves, growing pains and more to endure as a new program is berthed.
However, forming the Social Circle volleyball program this summer has gone over well for the Lady Redskins. It started with tryouts in May when expectations for turnout were blown out of the water for first-year head coach Joseph Paul.
“I was very pleasantly surprised with the amount of interest,” Paul said. “When they spoke to me at first, they said they had a lot of interest in volleyball, I didn’t know we would have as much interest as we did. In the beginning, we weren’t going to start a middle school program, but we had so much interest that I wanted to go ahead and get it started to start so we can go ahead and get that program building a little bit more.”
Nearly 100 students attended tryouts in May across the three teams. Now, 30 players are on the junior varsity and varsity teams while 20 students are playing in middle school.
Among those 50 players, though, is limited volleyball experience, according to Paul. He labeled two to three players who have any prior playing experience.
Nevertheless, as the summer has progressed, Paul has noticed a substantial boost in volleyball knowledge.
“Every practice, we’re trying to teach and show things from our coaching philosophies, mechanics and techniques to see which kids can do those type of things,” Paul said. “And their growth has been phenomenal. In the final two practices of June, we were really excited to see the progress and them understanding things we want them to do.”
While the formation of Social Circle volleyball hasn’t been easy, Paul feels like his past experience has prepared him for the challenges that lie ahead.
Paul started coaching volleyball eight years ago. He was an assistant coach at Loganville Christian Academy, middle school coach at Athens Academy, but the main source of experience comes from coaching club.
Paul also brings in assistant coach Ryan Surrett to help coach the Lady Redskins in 2022.
Now, as the season commences at home on Aug. 11 against Athens Christian, Paul and the Lady Redskins have one goal in mind for the program’s inaugural season.
“The only goal for them is go to out and compete,” Paul said. “We know the challenges that are ahead of us, but we also know we can go out and compete. If we can get these girls to start doing the things we’ve been teaching, then we believe we can be a good spot by the end of the year.
“We just want to make sure that the girls have a good experience moving forward and that we continue to grow Social Circle volleyball.”