Monday, November 27, 2017

Ten and Done!

by Kat Fish

* Aquatics Specialist II,
Prince William County Parks & Recreation

* VRPS 2018 LTI Committee Co-Chair
* VRPS 2017 Northern Service Area Chair

Remember VRPS Member in the Community Kat Fish?  Here's an update!

Kat has been 10-year head coach of the Mountain View Dance Team since graduating from Bowling Green State University with a BS in Education and minors in History, Dance Education and Dance Performance.  She was named 2017 Dance Coach of the Year by Eastern Dance Association.

·         Share a specific moment in time when you knew coaching was your passion.
My first year coaching was not easy by any means. I was taking over a team in its 3rd year and had to establish myself with the dancers, parents, and administration. It was not until our final competition of the season, Eastern Dance Association Nationals, that I finally felt that this was my purpose. The team and I finally clicked; the parents and I clicked… it just felt right. In 2010, I switched careers and was commuting about 30 minutes each day to practice from my full time job. This caused some stress ensuring I was giving my all to both positions. In 2016, my commute changed to an hour to get to practice by 2:30pm. That’s when I knew I had to make the decision to retire from coaching - probably one of the hardest decisions I have had to make in my adult life… leaving a program that I have spent so much time building, dancers that I love, and parents that I have gotten close to. But it was time…

·         As both a coach and educator, what is the most fulfilling about dance in your life....and in the lives of your dancers?

o   In my life – To me, dance has allowed me to forget about everything else in life… absolutely no worries.  I focus on the music and movement and nothing else.

o   In the lives of my dancers – As a coach and educator, I built my team on the foundation of student led choreography. Nothing brings me joy and/or satisfaction more than when their vision comes to fruition… you see their eyes light up and their own passion for dance grow.

·            Is there anyone who was an important influence on you in becoming a coach?

A big influence on becoming a coach myself was my own high school experience. My high school team never had a consistent coach or leadership. Each year we had a new sponsor or advisor take over the team and the inconsistencies caused many issues that prevented the team from ever being a true success.

When I left dance team practice, I spent evenings at the studio DANCE ETC, where I had instructors who supported my development and growth as a dancer. Each instructor influenced me in their own unique way. One of the main takeaways was the ability to break down certain sections of routines or work from the back of the routine forward, rather than to just keep drilling an entire number. From these instructors I learned many different ways to perfect routines and this is an important part that I shared with my dancers.

·         What are the top three most memorable moments throughout your coaching career?

o   #1 – 2010 and 2014 All-Around Grand Champions at the Eastern Dance Association Nationals in Myrtle Beach
o   #2 – Creating the tradition of an Alumni Performance during basketball season – Alumni Dancers come back and practice for a week and then perform a routine with the current team.
o   #3 – 2017 Coach of the Year

·         Do you have a "coach mantra"?

Leave it on the Floor” – Dance your heart out and whatever happens, happens. You can’t fix that performance but you can take feedback and corrections to only better your next performance. Don’t sweat it.

·         What words of advice would you give your younger self back when you were in the FIRST year of coaching a team?

Slow down and enjoy the moments… you may think "wow, 10 years, that’s a long time" and yes it was. But looking back those years flew by… I wish I would have spent more time enjoying versus dwelling on any of the negativity transitioning in as the new coach.

·         What is next for Coach Kat Fish?

I “retired” from coaching in June of 2017 but I plan to stay connected to dance by judging with the Eastern Dance Association and the AmeriDance Brands, as well as other local high school competitions in the Northern Virginia Area.