I got hooked when I was 10 years old. My grade school had a volleyball team and I figured, why not? A couple years later I was invited to play club volleyball. Little did I know this was the beginning of my 20+ year journey through the sport of volleyball.
This sport is so important to me. I grew up on the southside of Chicago with a very ill mother most of my life. It was pretty much school, hospitals, home. Repeat. For years. When I discovered volleyball, I finally found my 2 hour reprieve a few days a week from the anxiety of my mother's poor health. It was my escape.
Growing up, my coach understood how important being able to play was. But with mounting medical bills and prescription costs, the cost of club was unattainable most years. Many times, he would tell us to pay whatever we could, have me work off the tuition, or even pay nothing at all. It was this generosity that has stayed with me the rest of my life and continues to be a mission of mine. Quoting that club coach of mine: "I never want money to be the reason a kid can't play."
I played club volleyball at Loyola University-Chicago for all 4 years. Once my playing days dwindled down, I began coaching out of college for local clubs and schools in the Chicago area. I also coached club volleyball in Virginia while my husband was stationed there. We are now stationed in Tucson, and with his retirement right around the corner, we are looking to lay down roots here. I've been coaching for Club Cactus since 2013. Outside of this, I've gone above and beyond in my coaching education by attaining my CAP III certification through USA Volleyball - one of the only coaches in Southern Arizona to have this.
My 16s year at a qualifier in Florida. I'm on the left in the green. A little bonus cameo of my mom all the way on the left!
Just a bunch of kids from the southside of Chicago
Each coach is unique in their philosophy. But one thing is not unique - our desire to get a kid better at this sport. How one gets to that point, is different for everyone.
My philosophy is based on research, science, several coaching clinics, and discussions with my peers. This is not just Xs and Os we are talking about. I've taken the time to research how best to communicate with different age groups and even different athlete personalities. I don't see offering camps, clinics, lessons, etc as just a way to make money (believe me, I'm in the wrong line of business if it was). I offer them because I want to improve not only their skills, but also their confidence. It's also rewarding as a coach to see a player finally make a breakthrough in their development.