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The Chrisman Lady Eagles have a new volleyball coach for the 2022-2023 season. Kelsey Potter will be the new coach following former coach Emily Hollingsworth moving to coach the Chrisman Lady Cardinals.
Kelsey is a 2013 graduate of Chrisman High School. After high school, Potter went to Danville Area Community College and earned her Associates degree, then transferred to Eastern Illinois University to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management.
Potter is no stranger to volleyball, having played her entire Junior High and High School career. “I still remember my very first day of volleyball practice in sixth grade. It was all about expectations and our coach setting the ground rules but all I could think about was how I was ready to learn the skills and fundamentals of the game,” Potter told us. “Something that I look forward to is the possibility of the players bringing home additional Regional Championships. When I was a Junior High volleyball player, we brought home the very first Regional Championship.”
In mid-April, Kelsey saw the opening on the Chrisman Junior High Facebook page. The thought of applying was just a thought and something she had discussed with a few friends and family members.
“The word got around to Mr. Huber that I was interested in the position and shortly after that I received an e-mail to set up a time to discuss the coaching position,” Kelsey said.
Potter always had a love for working with children. This upcoming year will be her fourth year working at Chrisman Elementary School as a Resource Aid. During the summer, she provides childcare, which keeps her busy.
“I have always loved working with children and I want to help them grow to their full potential. During the last few years that I have worked at the Elementary School, I have seen many students reach goals they are working towards academically,” she said. “Being able to see those students have that ‘light bulb’ moment is what I think about when becoming a coach. I want the girls to feel successful even when they’re feeling defeated.”
The Junior High Volleyball team has been a force on the court for a number of years, something that Potter wants to continue with the team, showing them that she’s committed to making them succeed.
“The volleyball team has been lucky to have so many great coaches over the years. I know that I have big shoes to fill to keep the program as successful as it has been.”
Though she’s never coached, Kelsey believes there’s a parallel between being a coach and teaching in that both positions must remain consistent in the skills that they are working to achieve and plan ahead to know how things will be run throughout the year.
“I think back to the coach that I was lucky enough to have throughout my Junior High and High School years,” Kelsey said. “Coach (Kelly) Schluter always pushed us to do our best and set the bar high when it came to expectations in practice, games and school work. All of these years later, I think about how she made sure we were having fun while meeting the expectations she set and I hope to do that with the players now.”
Though taking this position is out of her comfort zone, Kelsey says its a learning experience not only for herself, but for the players as well.
“I could not pass it up due to my love of the game. For the players, I’m sure it will be an adjustment having a new coach, but it will be worth it in the end,” Potter said. “I have been lucky enough to know the majority of the girls that are in Junior High now due to having them in the Elementary School, which will make them more at ease in the beginning.”
Kelsey’s goal as a coach is to be a positive role model to the players as she expects that out of the players representing Chrisman Junior High.
“My goal is to maintain good rapport with the players as well as the parents. I want to get the players focused on the game all while having fun,” Potter said.
“Something I know that is difficult to do is maintain a positive attitude during the tough times. My goal is to turn those negative situations into positive situations and learn from them on how we can do better whether that is in a practice, in a game or academically.”