USA Volleyball Features Coaches Celebrate Th...

Coaches Celebrate Their Special Day

By Communications Manager B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | Oct. 06, 2020, 4:52 p.m. (ET)

Oct. 6, 2020: Happy National Coaches Day!

At USA Volleyball, we are proud to work with some of the best coaches in the world. We asked some of them to tell us about why they love coaching and maybe even tell us a funny story…

Coaches

Jon Aharoni, third from left

Jon Aharoni – Women’s Sitting Team Assistant Coach and Beach ParaVolley Coach

My favorite coaching story was at my first para beach camp. I was very nervous about how it would go because it was the first one in U.S. history. I understand adaptive volleyball and I know beach volleyball. I did not know exactly how the two worlds would intersect and that made me nervous until……

Coaches

This was a turning point for me at the camp. The laughter reminded me that we are all doing our best to become the greatest team in the world and that it was going to be alright.

Angie Akers – Beach National Teams Coach

The best thing about coaching is all the "A-ha!" moments when, after a long struggle with something you've been working on, the athletes discover for themselves and things come together. It's when all the hard work pays off and the athlete reaps the reward. I love that part.

Jordan Cheng – Beach National Teams Coach

The best thing about coaching is getting to build and invest in relationships with the players I work with and join them in the journey of influencing and changing the beach volleyball world!

Bill Hamiter – Women's Sitting Team Head Coach

I coach because I enjoy teaching and developing players holistically helping them reach their optimal performance levels in volleyball and life.My life purpose is to serve others, especially those who are underserved.

Jeff Liu – Women’s National Team Performance Analyst

Coaching gives me joy. Whether it is a team executing a game plan flawlessly, or the moment an athlete learns to execute a new skill, there is something immensely rewarding about witnessing the moment it clicks.

John Mayer – Beach National Teams Coach

I coach because I love to see people learn and improve. More specifically, I want to be involved with people I care about and helping them grow.

The best things about coaching is there is so much to learn! Coaches get to learn and use emotional intelligence, neuroscience, psychology, analytics, biomechanics, motor learning and much more. There is always something to improve at so you can be better for your athletes.

Coaches

Luka Slabe, second from right, and Erin Virtue, second from left

Luka Slabe – Women’s National Team Assistant Coach

I coach because I am passionate about guiding young women and men to grow in their integrity, leadership, responsibility and humility. I truly believe that, through sport, these young athletes are our future and can change the world for the better. It is my great pleasure and privilege to have the opportunity and the responsibility to coach in two programs, USAV and NC State.  It is an opportunity to lead by example and teach our teams the importance of relationships, compassion, character, discipline, respect, and self-belief.

Learning, failure and pressure are three things that are extremely appealing about coaching. It is addictive. If you are all in, it is impossible to avoid any of the three. As a coach, you need to run towards them and embrace the difficulties of all three.

Occasionally, when I am in the flow and coaching, I would start speaking in my native Slovene language to my athletes. Sometimes they don't pick it up, but when they do, they look at me weird and are probably thinking: "what the heck was that?” It all ends up with a good laugh.

Erin Virtue – Women’s National Team Assistant Coach

When I think about the “best part of coaching,” I immediately think of the incredible people that I am surrounded by every day. I am truly the luckiest coach in the entire world. We have a remarkable staff of thirsty, passionate, and driven people. This crew pushes one another and has a ton of fun in the process. To find a place where I can be myself, work hard, and laugh every day – THAT is a dream come true. For those that have seen our team compete, it is likely no surprise that it is an honor to work with the amazing women on our team. Bringing the best version of myself to every training session and every match is the least that I can do to work toward Olympic Gold with this crew!! So much love for Team USA. Happy National Coaches Day!

Coaches

Greg Walker, jumping for the high 10

Greg Walker – Men’s Sitting Team Head Coach

The best thing about coaching is being able to grow continuously with incredible people. I love being able to constantly learn from the athletes and my peers and to collectively be on the hunt to getting better. By being more present in my coaching, it has enriched my life immensely through these amazing, genuine relationships that we build together.