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Leon’s Strickland credits adapting philosophies to program’s successes

Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 5:32 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Leon High School Head Coach Angie Strickland as built quite an impressive resume.

With two state titles and five straight trips to the final four, Strickland has built one of the premier volleyball programs in the Sunshine State.

“We had been knocking on that door for quite a while,” Strickland said. “It’s really contributed to the kids coming in and the kids putting in the work.”

And as the wins pile up, Strickland says she’s adapted her coaching philosophy.

“If somebody would have told me early in my coaching career that it was 90% mental, I would have told you, ‘Heck no,’ because I was all about the Xs and Os,” she recalled.

Strickland started working with her team to visualize their future successes.

“What would that feel like? What would the people be doing in the crowd? What would the girls be doing on the court and how would the coaches react? Then, how long will you have to talk about it? The rest of your life,” she said. “So, we just kept pumping in their well what everything would look like when we won.”

They also talk about why they are playing the sport and personal development.

“Why are they away from there friends and family. What’s the sacrifice they are making. What are they willing to sacrifice. We really try to pair those kids up and find that match. So if there’s a kid that’s spiraling downward, we can find that’s super positive to lift them up.”

The team also reads at least one book each year.

“We discuss each chapter and we discuss what each kid has learned and how it can apply to their life,” Strickland said. “But also, how it can apply to the game. I think that’s been a game-changer.”

This year, the Lions will visualize accomplishing a first in school history: Winning back-to-back state titles.

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