Coaching is releasing a persons potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.
Over the last 3 weeks I’ve been lucky enough to test out my skills as a head coach as part of the Volleyball Positions Camp staff at Humber College. What an amazing experience it has been for me to continue to develop my knowledge of the game while having a positive impact on the community of volleyball that raised me. And, how enlightening it has been to see some of our future stars - Canadian volleyball has a bright future!
Week one saw was 14U-15U in 3 positions specific groups, setters, middles and outside hitters. Though we started fairly rusty as a group on the first day, we made huge improvements to the last day culminating in a tournament after some individual feedback sessions. Pretty sure my team dominated. Week two saw ages from 15U-16U in our advanced camp with groups of middles, setters, liberos and outsides. This was a star studded group, and once tournament time came around you could see nothing but passion, and competitive fire in all of the athletes.
Through this camp I was able to present on two topics important to me in a classroom session with both the athletes and the parents. These sessions challenged my comfort zone as I’m someone who is fairly terrified of public speaking in any sort of capacity. Hopefully nobody noticed. But I'm continuing to challenge myself to be comfortable with the things that I don't like.
With our first group I shared my lessons in leadership, learned through experience and what I think are important qualities in athletes. I challenged the girls to think of ways that they could be a more effective leader whether that was leading by example, leading by being a stellar teammate or leading with their communication and knowledge. To play a team sport not everyone needs to lead by being the boss, we need leaders capable of helping others in many different ways, be it through their words, their body language, or how they play.
With the second group we had a coaches panel dedicated to talking about the recruitment process and how to go about deciding where to play University or College volleyball. Though I love to promote volleyball in Canada, I understand that it’s not for everyone and hopefully we were able to provide the athletes, and their parents, a little bit of knowledge on the subject through our stories and experiences as athletes.
Thank you to the athletes for giving me 100%, for accepting my feedback with a smile on your face and for having fun every single day. Thank you to the coaches for being tremendous role models, and being incredible people for me to learn from as we bounced ideas, ran warm ups, and shared our own athletic experiences. Thank you to the parents for raising wonderful children and trusting them to us every day. Last but not least a big thank you to Leslie Irie for bringing a camp with so much purpose to life, and allowing me to be a part of it for this year.
For those who live in Toronto looking for a summer camp experience to improve your skills you NEED to be a part of VPC. You'll learn from many different coaches, play with new players, and you'll leave at the end of the week motivated for your seasons to come.
For now my time coaching summer camps is over, but in just a few weeks I'll be taking over the coaching position at the York School for U12 boys.... Wish me luck, and hopefully see you at VPC next year!