One of the first things people notice upon first being introduced to Kyla Ffrench is that there’s a little something extra in her last name.
“I don’t know, actually,” the Archer volleyball standout said with a laugh when asked about the origin of the extra letter. “I’ve always asked my parents, ‘Why do we have two Fs?’ They don’t know.”
While there may be an extra letter F in her surname, but the senior outside hitter’s work into developing into one of Gwinnett County’s top offensive and defensive threats at the net definitely deserves an A-plus grade.
Coming off a junior season in which she earned first-team All-County honors after posting 301 kills and 102 blocks, Ffrench decided her game needed a little something in her skill set.
To that end, she’s spent the last several years working broadening her horizons on the court, both with her physical skills and her court awareness.
“Just working on my feet, transitioning from blocking to hitting,” Ffrench said when asked about the specific focus for her improvements. “And always being aware of what’s going on at the other side (of the net), and also knowing how to control my team and myself.
“(It’s also) just mixing up my shots. Not just going to one place, but also seeing what’s happening on the other side (of the court and finding) open spots.”
Based on the results besides her normal good work at the net, her efforts seem to be paying off.
In addition to her strong power offensive and defensive numbers, Ffrench also contributed to Archer’s record 31 wins last year with improvement in her back-row defense with 71 digs, at the service line with 67 aces and even in on the offensive side with 15 set assists.
More important to Archer coach Don Einolf is the example she sets to her teammates.
“Kyla is a great competitor on the floor,” Einolf said. “Her positive attitude is contagious and she always knows how to inspire her teammates. Her hard work is unmatched with any player I have been associated with in my coaching career.”
Team means a lot to Ffrench, and she’s built up a very strong bond with her teammates, both individually and collectively.
It is that bond that she believes played a major role in last season’s success, and should be a driving force as the Tigers try to achieve either higher accomplishments in 2019.
“Just building a sisterhood with everyone,” Ffrench said of what she’s enjoyed most about playing at Archer. “I started on varsity in ninth grade, all the older girls were … making that bond with everyone.
“We have a lot of new people on varsity, but from summer and team camp, we’ve really grown. It’s really based on growth and coming together and trusting the process.”
The process has not only involved Ffrench’s work within the Archer program, but also with several seasons with the GA5 club volleyball program.
It has also helped make her a college prospect, with several different programs interested in her.
“I’ve been with (GA5) since I was 15, and it’s helped a lot,” Ffrench said. “The coaches there are really nice. Coach April Carroll and Zak and Suzanne (Miller), they’re great coaches. They’ve taught me a lot in private training. They’re a really big help.
“(It’s) just getting the right training, you can get there. When I was starting volleyball, I was just doing it for fun with friends. Eighth grade was really when I (discovered) I love this sport, and I want to (go all) in.”