One of my favorite memories growing up as a child was making trips with my family to my sister's volleyball tournaments on the weekends. Those memories are filled with being a part of an exciting atmosphere, sitting in the stands and watching the action-packed games. Along with watching my sister play, I recall two other players by the names of Christy and Liz, who stood out to me because of their athletic talent on the court. Over the four years of my sister's high school career, I followed their volleyball careers as well because Christy was my sister's teammate, and Liz was a player from a rival school.
Several years later, I started high school sports, and during the off-season, joined a club volleyball team. When I met my coaches, I was surprised to find out that it was Christy and Liz. They were coming off of seasoned volleyball careers on the collegiate level. I was eager at the opportunity to play under the direction of two favorite athletic role models.
When I think of that one particular season with my two coaches, I recognize it as the best season that I have ever experienced. Likewise, I can distinguish Christy and Liz as the best coaches whom I have ever associated with. As far as my physical abilities and coaching guidance are concerned, I had the best physical and mental growth with volleyball under their coaching.
As effective coaches, Christy and Liz have demonstrated ideal qualities that have made a positive contribution to their coaching abilities.
Leaders as athletes: During their playing careers, Christy and Liz were both the go-to players on the court, the MVPs of their team, and arguably the most exciting players to watch. Their leadership attributes were demonstrated by making amazing plays and scoring many points for their team. Christy and Liz were not just any former athletes; they were the elitist among their teammates. Their leadership as players transitioned easily into their new roles as coaches. As coaches, they would expect the same standards that they were up against when they were players. Those high standards elevated us to challenging, but very attainable goals.
Player experience: There are many pros of being a former athlete turned coach. First of all, Christy and Liz could empathize with us because they also had played on the court. They knew of the competition and conditioning needed to excel in volleyball. They knew firsthand how hard it was to balance sports, schooling, and other activities at the same time. They knew what to look for in their players' potential. I remember feeling more confident when my coaches gave me one-on-one advice about what I needed to work on to become a better player. I appreciated their mentoring because I knew it was backed by their own experiences on and off the volleyball court.
Enthusiastic and energized: I have come across many athletic peers, and the ones who have succeeded are those who have played for the love of the game. Athletes can perform at various levels of talent, but if their heart is not 100% into the game, they will most likely not continue playing much longer. My coaches had incredible talent as players, but it was not without their enthusiasm and giving their all on the volleyball court, that improved their performance. Their positive energy excited us as players and it impacted the way we were playing. At practices, Christy and Liz actually played against us, giving us much competition and hands-on coaching. Their animation on the sidelines and constant feedback and advice was very motivating.
I credit Christy and Liz for being the best coaches to me during my playing days in high school. What sets them different than any other coach whom I have had was that I had the opportunity to see them as players years before they were coaches. They obtained leadership coaching through their many stages of playing volleyball and brought that to their coaching game.
Stephanie Tuia is a Client Account Specialist with 10x Marketing.
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