Northern Trailblazers: Badger Region Spotlight

Thursday, October 3
Badger Region Spotlight
Badger Region VolleyBlog

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Club Spotlight: Northern Trailblazers

Welcome to the 2014 junior club volleyball season in Badger Region. As the season proceeds, we'll be taking time each month to chat with one of our clubs. This month, our spotlight is on the Northern Trailblazers. 

The Northern Trailblazers are located in Antigo, Wisconsin and run by Club Directors Valerie McCarthy and Kevin Fischer. 

The Northern Trailblazers started in 2009 with four teams: girls' 13U, girls' 15U and two girls' 17U teams. Since then, the Trailblazers have expanded to 10 teams and hosts volleytots/MINI Volleyball programs. 


Every club is a little bit different. According to McCarthy, the Norther Trailblazers club program focuses on skill development and life lessons. 

"Northern Trailblazers Volleyball Club believes that every child should be offered the opportunity to develop the skills that will enable them to excel and compete successfully at the interscholastic, regional and/or national level of youth volleyball," McCarthy said. "Along with teaching each player life lessons and/or skills to help them achieve their goals in life. Volleyball, or any sport, is taught on and off the court."
Volleyball is a sport taught on and off the court, and it teaches life lessons to players, coaches and parents alike. McCarthy cherishes the opportunity to watch her players grow during their time in the program. It makes the long hours she spends behind-the-scenes worth it. 
"There is so much hat needs to be done to run and maintain a good club volleyball program," McCarthy said. "With the distance of the schools in the area, it is hard to draw High School or College coaches. The closest college is UW Marathon in Wausau. This is one of the main reasons we offer to send our coaches to the coaching clinics that Badger Region or USAV has available."

The coaching education opportunities that the Northern Trailblazers provide their staff are beneficial to all members of the program. 

"We are happy that our coaching staff takes advantage of this opportunity," McCarthy said. "And we are happy they have returned to coach for the Trailblazers. Our members are fortunate to have such devoted coaches that are willing to better their coaching education, philosophies and techniques."

One of the ways the Trailblazers focus on developing their skills is at Wednesday "Skills & Drills/Open Gyms." Players from all age groups come in for extra court time. McCarthy stated that it is a pleasure to watch her players of all ages interact and learn about volleyball together. 

When asked about her favorite memory as a club directory, McCarthy pointed towards a time when her team lost. You heard us right. Lost. 
"In 2011, I was coaching our 18's team at March Mania in the WI Dells," McCarthy said. "We were in the Championship game Sunday on Court 1 playing I-80 Blues from Iowa. The girls were very excited to play on Court 1 with so many spectators surrounding the court. It was a very close match; we went point for point with I-80 Blues. We lost, but the thing I remember the most is the way my players looked and acted after the match. They knew they played their hearts out and left it all on the court. They knew they lost the the match but also knew they won. It was such a pleasure to see that they understood what it is like to compete. You can win and still lose, but more importantly you can lose and still win."


As the Northern Trailblazers look to the future, they hope to continue fielding teams in each age group. McCarthy wants to see two teams per age group in the 14U and older age levels, along with the Volleytots and MINI Volley programs. 

Wishing the Northern Trailblazers and all their parents, coaches and staff luck during the 2014 Badger Region Volleyball season.


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