Didier back coaching the game he loves
Tue. October 08, 2013 at 10:37 a.m. | By
Central Lafourche co-head volleyball coach Chip Didier has joined his daughter Aimee Didier-Angle to lead the Central Lafourche volleyball team this season. (Photo by Benjamin Oliver Hick/Staff)
Not many high school athletes get to learn under the tutelage of a Hall of Fame coach.
But the players on the 2013 Central Lafourche volleyball team are members of that rare group.
Longtime area coach Chip Didier, who is a member of the Louisiana Volleyball Coaches' Association Hall of Fame and retired from teaching in 2009, has joined his daughter Aimee Didier-Angle as co-head coach of the Lady Trojans volleyball program this season.
"Even before we started practice, people would ask me who our coach for volleyball was, and I would tell them Chip Didier," Lady Trojans senior Taylor Kimball said. "They would be like, ‘Oh my goodness, you got Chip Didier as your coach?' He is giving up his time to come help us, and we really appreciate it."
And after winning just seven matches last season, Didier's influence has helped Central Lafourche to a 10-10 overall mark and a 2-3 record in District 5-I so far this year.
There are five seniors on the team in Kimball, Darrian Owens, Josie Whitlock, Taylor Huval and Sloane Ledet.
"They are our best players. They are trying as much as they can, and they give me everything they can. They pay attention, they try, and they really want to go out and be successful," Didier said. "We want to improve every day from Day 1, and we have seen that, and hopefully we can continue that."
Didier, now 61, coached for 33 years at Ellender, South Terrebonne, H.L. Bourgeois, Nicholls State University and Terrebonne and has two state titles and two runner-up titles to go with a 665-220 overall record going into this season.
He said the Lady Trojans have come a long way since summer workouts started on July 17.
"These kids have worked so hard from the beginning," Didier said. "It's a work in progress and a lot of work."
Didier said a major point of emphasis this season is pushing the players on the team to begin playing as much competitive volleyball as possible.
"To play at a high level, you have to play a lot. You have to touch the ball a lot. You can't just be a two-and-half month player," Didier said. "If our younger kids can do that, they can be better. Every team we have lost to this year has been a year-round team. We are right there with them. We have done a good job of getting them to a level compared to where they were before. We just have to get them that mentality that they can do it at the end. The mental game is the hardest thing to coach in volleyball."
The Lady Trojans are fighting for a playoff berth at 24th in the latest unofficial Division I power ratings and are coming off a district victory in a sweep of Terrebonne last week.
"We feel like they have learned a lot, and they are getting a lot of experience, but they need to keep building," Didier-Angle said. "We don't want to stall. We want to keep building. The kids give their best effort. They work hard."
Central Lafourche has 10 regular-season matches to go, and Kimball said the Lady Trojans are ready for a strong finish.
"We just need to be able to get over in those close games," Kimball said. "We need to cut out the mistakes, and we will be there."
Ledet said working with Didier has helped the Lady Trojans get the best out of themselves, and with a little more work, they could be poised for a stellar end to the year.
"He pushes us a lot harder than past coaches, and it's a pleasure to work with him," Ledet said. "Our seniors are excited because we know we have the talent to do it. We just need to find it and push through. I feel like we can get there. We just need to cut out the mental errors at the end of games and keep working as a team."
But no matter how the season ends, Kimball said she has noticed a sharp improvement within the program.
"I feel like it's way better than the past few years," Kimball said. "Coach Chip came in here and really knew what he was talking about. He was able to get us back on our feet and is building a foundation."
For Didier-Angle, this season has given her a chance to get a first-hand glimpse into the way her father sees the game.
"I'm learning the game through his eyes," Didier-Angle said. "I am learning the fast-pace play of the game, and I am seeing his intensity and passion more. I have been around volleyball my whole life, but seeing it through his eyes is something special."
Didier said he has also enjoyed working within the coaching ranks with his daughter this season.
"It's been exciting," Didier said. "Aimee is going to be a good coach. She really is. She needs to learn to be a little more forceful, but she has learned a lot more about the strategy of the game. She sees it. We talk about it during games. That is a good thing. She is seeing the game on a faster level."
Didier said while he has enjoyed this season, no matter how it ends for the Lady Trojans he is not sure if he will return to the sidelines next year.
"I have so many things I want to do," Didier said. "I love coaching, but I have coached a lot in my time. This was a major commitment for me this year. We will just see at the end of the year how it goes, and we will go from there."