ALLYN KRENZ‘s heart has been with Prairie Central volleyball for some time, with the 2012 Hawks graduate a former team member. The ex-Parkland player now is preparing for her second season in charge of her alma mater’s squad:
How grateful are you to already have a season under your belt given the current situation?
It’s awesome because I need to have that time 1-on-1 with the girls. I’ve had time to sit with what went right last year and what went wrong. My planning is all totally different. I’m planning for different situations now. I don’t know when I’ll be with them, so I’m preparing different workouts and at-home drills — things they can do if we don’t get that time together during the summer.
How did you assess your first season leading the team?
I learned a lot about myself, about volleyball, about how to coach young athletes. I knew the environment already, so that wasn’t new. Seeing it from a different perspective — I played in college and now I’m coaching — I’m grateful for the coaches who told me how to do things (and) why to do them. It’s kind of like, “Wow, they were always right.” Being younger it’s like, “I’m not going to do this. I don’t know why you’re telling me to do it.” ... I think I can relate to my athletes more and kind of look through their eyes. So being able to coach different individuals, I think, is something I learned the most.
Is there any concern over the current suspension of summer contact days?
One thing that we’ve been talking about a lot is just the unknown. We can have questions (and) we can have the answers to all those questions, but we really don’t know until it gets there. So I’m trying not to stay negative about it. I’m going to plan accordingly. I’m going to plan for everything so I’m prepared. But I’m going to try and make the most of this time, with or without (the girls). We’ll see where that takes the program.
What does it mean to you to coach your alma mater’s team?
I never saw myself coming back to Prairie Central. I had great experiences there, and (for) any high schooler, there’s good and bad. But coming back to coach and kind of have that leadership role, it’s been pretty incredible. Knowing what the girls can go through or are going through, it helped me to understand and relate to them at different levels than any other coach maybe can. I chose to play volleyball because of the coaches that I had, and I just want to be that person that these girls remember or this coach that they knew they could go to, or they know that I’m trying to be there for them. So that’s why I came back, and I was like, “I’m going to make a difference here and build this program up from where it is now.”
What’ll it mean when you’re able to get back on the court with your athletes?
Having something taken away kind of puts into perspective for me and girls what we take for granted. And being able to play in a gym with everyone, we never thought that would be taken away from us. So when we are able to get back, no matter what that means or how we’re going to have to do it, I think the girls and I, we’re going to work harder. Our passions come out when things are taken.