My Favorite Coach

By John Kessel, USA Volleyball Director of Sport Development

He knows that kids don't care how much he knows about this sport, until they know how much he cares about them. 

She understands that it is even when a paycheck is included, that it is more than just winning games that she is doing with her players, and focuses on team building through off court activities. 

He builds players who look inside themselves for the answers, not to him for the answers, always teaching us how to best teach ourselves. 

She knows how to balance fun, smiles and humor abound in training, competition and team travel, with focused competitive fury. 

He stays calm through every storm of competition, so the players can play through every challenge. 

She is consistent, so the players can rely on who she is, never having to worry about "which coach" they might be talking to. 

He understands the science of the game, the laws of teaching and motor skill learning included - taking advantage of what other research and teachers have learned and shared. 

She uses substitutes as tools for the team, not punishment of a player. 

He can use Catsup bottles, salt & pepper shakers and even cutlery to create a new line up that will work. 

She looks good wearing 25 hats and a smile.

She knows my favorite candy bar, uniform number, food, color, music, book and of course, my birthday. 

He only gives us players powerful nicknames, never demeaning us. She is a great role model, not a critic. He teaches life’s lessons more often than sport techniques. 

She lets us play. A LOT, and teaches us technique awareness and fundamentals within the fun of the game. 

He empathizes and listens better and sees more and talks less, even though he could talk a lot as he is so knowledgeable.

She catches me doing things right, rather than nagging me about the inevitable errors. He surprises us with wacky games and scoring variations, and off the wall ways of saying or training things that otherwise might be boring.