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New coach new rules

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Assistant head coach for the girls’ volleyball team Ryan Altenburg is new to the school and to the team. Coming onto the team, he had many different ideas and expectations — some were fulfilled while others were not.

Altenburg has a very detailed background prior to DGS. He has had many experiences playing and coaching volleyball.

“I’ve spent the previous four years as a coach and teacher over at Bolingbrook. All four years I was helping out with the girls’ volleyball program there. When I was in college, [at] Eastern Illinois University, I played on the boys’ club team, but I also spent two seasons as a volunteer, player/manager,” Altenburg said.

Some girls didn’t know what to think when they heard they were getting a new coach who was a male.

Senior Captain Sarah Reilly wasn’t sure what to think about having a new coach going into her last season with the volleyball team.

“At first I was a little hesitant, but this season has really changed my mind on that He’s a great person and a great coach. He will get straight to the point, and say ‘this is what you need to fix’. It’s different and nice having that outsider view, coming in and not really knowing anything about DGS and just coming to play volleyball,” Reilly said.

With the season coming to an end, the team has gotten to know Coach Altenburg and learn his style of coaching. Altenburg has been coaching alongside head Varsity Coach Kristina Conrad. Even though they both coach girls’ volleyball, they have many different approaches toward coaching.

“It has been a great experience for me because [Conrad] is so great at delegating, and it is awesome because I feel like we are both very like-minded in the way we like to bring the energy and make sure we are prepared heading into practice and into games. But we also see the game very differently because of the positions we played when we were still in our playing career,” Altenburg said.

Altenburg puts an emphasis on being good people, good players, and a family.

“As far as my philosophy goes, you need to tailor that to the kids that are on your team, and that’s the same for any sport. Every kid is different, everyone’s an individual before they are an athlete. They are a student before an athlete and they are people first,” Altenburg said.

Making an impact on the girls is another priority Altenburg has when coming into a new team.

“I always like to come into the gym bringing some type of energy, making sure we know that we are here to work, but we are going to have fun doing it,” Altenburg said.

This is shown throughout the attitude of the team going into games and practice. They are smiling and excited, with a goal of winning and having fun. The girls feel the impact every day.

“He’s really positive all the time. One of the key things that he does is he gives out high-fives anytime and anywhere. I feel like just always having little funny things, like a high-five, can completely change your mood. It’s really fun,” Reilly said.

Heading towards the end of the season, Altenburg wants the girls to take away a very specific lesson.

“I think the number-one thing that I want all my players to take away is that … I care about their well-being and their success being in volleyball, being in anything else. I’ll do whatever I can for them and to help them get to that success, as long as they hold themselves accountable to our expectations and the way we want to build the culture within the program,” Altenburg said.

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New coach new rules