March 9th, 2012

Elementary Excellence: Round Table Part Two

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: Round Table Part Two
photo by Chris Jung

Round Table of Grade School Coaches

The following feature is a part of a weekly series called "Elementary Excellence" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic elementary schools and its athletic programs, teams, traditions and excellence in all aspects of sports. Do you want your school to be featured? Send us your recommendation to is proud to offer a round table discussion this week as our feature. We had the chance to speak with three well-known Catholic athletic coaches about their experiences in Catholic athletics. This week’s questions and answers are part two from last week’s series, and the coaches we gained insight from this week once again include:


Todd Allen, Sacred Heart Model School Head Swim Coach

Rick Brown, St. Bernard Grade School Football (Grades 5-6)

Chris Hellmann, St. Gabriel Grade School Volleyball (Girls 6A)




1) What was the highlight of your season this year?


TA: Our team performed and scored better than we had been entered.  After scoring the meet based on the seed times as if they were final, our girls team would have finished 5th place, the boys would have finished 2nd, and the combined would have been 3rd.  In the actual meet, our girls placed 4th, the boys were 2nd and overall the team finished 2nd as well.  The kids swam hard.


RB: The highlight of our season was playing in the Toy Bowl. The kids really worked hard and

were rewarded for it. It was great experience and the whole St. Bernard community really

supported us.


CH: My highlight was coaching four girls, including my youngest daughter, that I had started coaching when they were in K,1st and 2nd grades.


2) What goals do you have for your team moving into next year?


TA: I want to win the meet next year. We graduated some strong swimmers since last year and this hurt our depth a bit.  We we have a large group of younger swimmers. If we can gain some additional numbers, we may be able to gain some depth in scoring needed to win.


RB: We will be young, but it is another group of good kids that I am looking forward to

working with next year. Our goals are the same as every year, get better every day and

play your best at the end.


CH: Depending on who is selected on the team next year, I always want to see improvement in skills and working together as a team.  Competitively, I would like to get past the semi finals in the tournament.  The past three years we have come up short.


3) What is a challenge you want to overcome (or a learning lesson) from this past year that you want (or you want) your team to improve upon?


TA: I think next year we may make some changes to the relay structure and throw in a slightly different practice schedule. Making a few tweaks will make for a smoother meet for the team and the coaches.


RB: Next season I will have basically an entire new staff, so communication will be the early focus. As far as team improvement, we will need work even more on the fundamentals because

we will be more inexperienced than last year’s team. I believe the returning players will be

focused and ready to learn.


CH: At St. Gabriel, we do not have the club players like at other schools.  For instance, on last year’s team, I had more girls that only play volleyball for St. Gabriel.  We do not have any problem selecting girls that are all around athletics, which is nice, but it hard to beat and sometimes compete with teams that have a roster of club players.


4) What was the response from parents, volunteers, family and friends for the season's games?


TA: So far, I think the parents and volunteers are generally pleased.  Like previously mentioned, the swimmers scored well and performed well.  There are some things that can we can do as coaches to improve the "flow" of the meet for the team, but overall feedback has been good so far.


RB: The support we received from the parents and all of the St. Bernard community was outstanding. They really made the players feel special. Win or lose, they were behind us and that played a big part in our success.


CH: This past year’s team everyone thought we improved as the year went on.  The team was fun to coach and the parents love watching them compete.  I had a good group of the parents that supported us though out the season.  But once again, we came up short and lost in the semi finals.


5) How do you hope to increase participation in your sport moving into next year?


TA: We had a number of kids that could have swum at the meet that did not participate.  I think next year, I may handle sign ups differently to engage those swimmers that may be interested in joining.


RB: I hope that the kids that are thinking about participating will see the success that the team has had and the fun they had while accomplishing their goals. For us to continue being successful we must reach out to those that are unsure and encourage them to participate.


CH: You try to inform families of the opportunities to keep playing volleyball after the regular season.  But like any sport, a student athlete and family can only do so much.  I just let the families know that it’s out there if they have the time and money.



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