Not long ago, they were on the front lines for a pair of Kaysinger Conference volleyball teams. Now Lindsey Blaylock and Sydney Smith are back in the area as assistant coaches.
Smith, a 2013 Sacred Heart graduate, is in her first season back with the Gremlins as a part of David Fall’s coaching staff. Blaylock, a 2013 Northwest graduate, has joined Mark Dakenbring at Knob Noster.
“I absolutely love it,” Blaylock said. “It’s an awesome experience. It’s different to be going from being so competitive to being on the sidelines. When you’re on the court you can’t always say what you’re thinking but when you’re a coach you have to say it, think it so the girls understand it.”
Blaylock played for Dakenbring when he was the coach at Northwest and is starting to see things from his perspective.
“I feel bad for all the coaches I gave a hard time to, especially Mark because he and I always butted heads,” she said. “I am thankful that he did butt heads with me because he did it for the right reasons.”
Smith is also seeing where her former coach was coming from.
“It’s a lot different from playing,” she said. “It’s kind of cool to watch instead of be the one playing. You can see what he was talking about when I played.”
Coaching could be in the future for Smith. She said her parents often made that suggestion but she didn’t think she would go that route. Now, she is considering it.
For Blaylock, the chance to one day be a head coach is part of why she is going into teaching.
“She loves the game,” Dakenbring said. “She’s really excited about the game. She helps the girls on the net. The enthusiasm is the main thing I see from her.”
Blaylock plans to become a math teacher and has already learned that the job requires patience, both on the court and in the classroom.
“Like in a classroom, girls learn differently,” she said. “Trying to relay things to girls differently so they understand everything. One of the biggest things is getting them to understand what I’m saying, you have to use different techniques.”
Smith coaches a team that includes some former Gremlin teammates and several other players she knew when she was in school. Current Sacred Heart seniors were freshmen when Smith was a senior.
“I’ve seen them grow so much compared with when I left,” she said. “It’s cool. I think they respect me more since they played with me.”
Smith said that since the current Gremlins saw her play firsthand, that helps them see her as someone who understands the game and will help them improve.
Blaylock is also not far removed from her playing days and sometimes gets the urge to get back on the court.
“That’s why I’m thankful to have practices,” she said.
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles