Many athletes become coaches, but no one tells you before your first day of practice that you wont automatically be good at coaching, no matter how phenomenal an athlete you were. Young athletes in particular assume that if theyre successful on the court, they could easily fill their coach’s shoes.
Here’s a tip, athletes: the transition is never that smooth. Coaching is a talent, like setting or writing or coding computer software. You have to hone it, develop it, and those who do it well deserve great respect.
Karch Kiraly, current coach of our U.S. Women’s National Team, was arguably the best player to ever play the game. After all, he’s the only person to have won Olympic gold medals in both indoor and beach volleyball. Kiraly took his first big coaching job in 2012 when he served as an assistant coach for the women’s national team in London. The question hung on everyone’s lipshow would the greatest player of all time make the transition to coaching? With this year’s gold-medal win over China in the FIVB Women’s World Championships, Kiraly has given all the doubters his answer. He was up to the challenge.
Many legendary coaches work in our sport today. Established veterans like Stanford assistant coach Denise Corlett have been around the block a few times and know what it takes to build a powerhouse program (at this writing, the Cardinal boasted an undefeated record more than halfway through the season). Others, like USC assistant sand coach Andrew Fuller and first-year Maryland head coach Steve Aird, are still working through their own transitions, from player to coach and from assistant to head coach, but their progress and achievements so far indicate that these two are among a class of skillful educators entering the coaching ranks.
It’s not a job where glory is often wononly one team ends the season in celebrationbut the coaches featured in these pages thrive on teaching the sport they love, and they have happily shared with us their accumulated wisdom, technical tips, and hopes for the future of the sport.
So soak up all this knowledge. It will help you successfully navigate your own transition to coaching or take your career to the next level.