Coming over as an assistant coach at Grapevine, Kaitlyn Embery is ready to be a head coach and she recently earned her chance to do so as she takes over for Teresa Tynes as the Valley View volleyball coach.
Embery said her aspirations of being a head coach date back to elementary school.
“I’m pumped,” Embery said. “I’ve playing since I was in the fourth grade and I’ve been head coaches of club teams, just never high school teams. I played for 14 years, so I’ve seen a lot of different coaching styles and I feel like that helps more having seen different things. And I’m able to kind of like plug what I thought was beneficial for them.”
Embery said she had a good feeling after her interview at Valley View.
“I think it’s my love for the game,” Embery said. “It just flows out of me. I can’t imagine going a day without it in my life. I really can’t. And I always wanted to leave a legacy with people. I want to build a program from the ground up. I think they really saw that and thought this is someone who’s going to be here and really build.”
Beginning her collegiate volleyball career at Murray State, Embery transferred to the University of Texas - El Paso for her final two seasons.
It was in the fourth grade where her love of the game began to blossom before earning her Division I offer from Murray State, where she helped her team win two conference championships.
“When I was fourth grade, my brother started playing with me and I just fell in love with it,” Embery said. “And it was such a blast. I started playing club when I was in sixth grade and I played all through high school. We won two championships at Murray State, but I was tired of being so far away from home, so I moved back to Texas.”
Embery played outside hitter and high school and transitioned to libero in college, so she feels she has a good grasp of the positions on the court.
With the new University Interscholastic League rules that allow for two hours per week of sports-specific instruction, Embery says she has enjoyed her interactions with the team so far.
“Coming in as new head coach, I have a new system that’s going to be different and that’s what I meant by building from the ground up,” Embery said. “I’m bringing something brand new. It’s a little different perspective and I think the girls will appreciate it. I’m going through the stuff with them and they’re kind of going ‘OK, we are in a new world.’ I’m saw their heads turn a little bit.”
Embery said her new system is built around perimeter defense.
“The way it was described whenever I first got introduced to it was called gold medal squared,” Embery said. “It was used to be run by the USA a long while ago. I don’t know if they still run anymore, but it’s perimeter defense. They will follow center rotational lines and certain things like that. It’s almost like breaking it down to the core and really just slowly implementing some different things as we go along as they’re progressing in their technique.”
Valley View made the playoffs last season, but after meeting with her team, Embery said next season’s goals are much higher.
“I asked them what’s your goal for next year and they said ‘we want to be state champs. That’s hundred percent what we want to do,’” Embery said. “I was like, all right, that’s our goal is to push you every day, not to beat Lindsay and not to beat whoever’s at our door, but to get all the way to the tournament.”
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip