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Martin ready to promote volleyball in Demopolis

As she takes over as the new face of Demopolis volleyball, DHS and DMS coach Blythe Martin hopes to take the sport to a new level in the City of the People. Accomplishing such a task first requires understanding where the game is in the Black Belt region.

Martin, who has spent the past five seasons as coach of Walton Middle School in DeFuniak Springs, Fla., takes over a Demopolis program in the heart of a region where the sport carries a far lower profile than that to which she is accustomed. Her 2009-2010 WMS program saw 120 girls show up for tryouts.

“It’s a big transition because the participation is going to be lacking at first,” Martin said. “Perhaps the girls don’t realize the opportunities out there to continue their education through volleyball. I want the girls to know about the opportunities that are out there as far as earning scholarships.”

Martin is hopeful she can ultimately help some Demopolis players achieve such aspirations. However, her first priority is establishing team chemistry.

“It’s such a team sport. You really have to depend on the other players on the court to be there,” Martin said. “That is something I’m going to have to do is work on team building and developing that trust.”

Martin’s first step toward that end will come Monday when she holds an organizational meeting and workout for both current and prospective players.

“I want girls who want to play volleyball and have that competitive nature in everything they do, whether it be academically or athletically,” Martin said. “If they are on the fence about playing volleyball, I want them to come out and give it a shot. I don’t expect them to know everything about volleyball or be awesome at it. If they have any interest in being competitive or working as a team, then I can use them.”

The meeting is scheduled for Monday from 3:30-5 p.m at the Demopolis High gymnasium. Martin encourages all DHS girls interested in being a part of the team to attend the session and be prepared to practice.

“(Demopolis High School principal Leon) Clark, (athletic director Tom) Causey and myself, we all want to build the program so that Demopolis High School can win state championships,” Martin said. The next stone in that building process will be laid Monday.