Oct. 28 2015 06:24 AM

Illinois coach builds a "family" of team members

Whether you are a seasoned coach or someone looking to start a quiz bowl team, there are nuggets of wisdom in Becky's words - maybe something you can put into use in your home area.

After both Illinois dairy bowl teams emerged as national champions at the 2015 Holstein convention, I spoke to Becky Meier, one of three coaches for Illinois. She shared how Illinois prepares for competition, how they build a team and how they practice - even with geographic challenges. Her willingness to help other volunteers with her experiences is one of the reasons that I think she is successful. She wants a positive experience for everyone and shares that passion.

Over the years, I have coached teams that have competed against Illinois teams on multiple occasions. Sometimes they came out on top, other times, the reverse. But, you'd never know the outcome by the behavior of their coaches. After the match, a sincere handshake, always a smile, and most times a hug. Don't get me wrong, they are excited for their team, but they are always upbeat. Their "kids" love and respect their coaches.

I have known Becky and fellow coaches, Glen Meier (her dad) and John Mitchell for nearly two decades. They asked me to help with their Spring Thing – a junior-organized weekend event similar to a state convention where they hold their dairy bowl, jeopardy and speech contests. In working with their youth organizers, you could see it was a grassroots organization and all of the juniors (and adults) had a great time competing and just hanging out with others who like cows. They welcomed youth from other breed organizations to join them. It's a very inclusive group. They are one of the largest state junior Holstein organizations, but from a state not known for its dairy industry.

When you see others succeed, when you know the hours of dedication put forth, it makes you happy for their success.

Click to read the first interview in this series.

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The author is the online media manager and is responsible for the website, webinars and social media. A graduate of Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, she was raised on a California dairy and frequently blogs on youth programs and consumer issues.