Why do we coach?...
Ioften get asked: ‘Dave, why do you coach?’ Sometimes the answer is quite simple – ‘why not, what else would I be doing with my time?’
From an individual perspective I have things left on my bucket list that I haven’t achieved as yet, but the main reason is to help young volleyballers become the best they can be.
There are still those out there who want to learn and improve, even today.
As coaches we are entrusted with a position because we have experience and knowledge on our side.
We want to pass on as much of this experience and knowledge to as many as we can, in the hope that as the years go by, those who have benefitted will step up into coaching roles themselves, while players get to taste the ultimate for them.
For those players it doesn’t matter whether or not that is playing at the highest level or being the best they can be to keep their domestic competitions strong.
It is at the domestic level that we all start from with a broad talent pool at our disposal. It is those who have the want and desire who eventually make it to the top, and as we have seen in more recent times, their coach or coaches have played a massive part.
As coaches, many people along the journey influence us. My first coach was John Brumby when he was a young teacher at Eaglehawk High School. John later became premier of Victoria.
I was then fortunate to learn from the best when I started out on my state coaching career.
Tomas Santamaria was the doyen of Victorian and Australian coaches. What he didn’t know about volleyball wasn’t worth knowing. I absorbed as much from him as I could and I even do so today.
I have been lucky to have spent some time with the Australian youth program and learnt plenty from those coaches, which included Olympians and coaches from a successful Queensland state program.
In more recent times I have learnt from former Australian captain and Olympian Luke Campbell, as well as all coaches involved in the state program.
As a coach we take as much from as many coaches as we can. We filter out what we don’t need and at the same time back ourselves.
We invest in what we do. If that means one-on-one sessions with players returning from injury or who want to learn more, then we will do it. If your players are still asking questions, then they want to get better. It’s those players who drive us to be the best we can be.
On Saturday night I was lucky to be awarded the State League Premier Women Coach of the Year as voted by my peers. It was in recognition of my Phantoms girls who made finals in their first year in the premier division of state league.
To see players such as Kara Johnson, Delaney Wills and Jess Radford – all ladies, as they are now, compared with when I first started coaching them as young teenagers – playing in the premier division of volleyball in the state makes me proud. On the same night Josh Gordon was presented with the best libero award for premier men.
If you as a coach believe you know everything, you are wrong because you should never stop trying to be the best you can.
If you as a coach believe you can never learn anything, you are wrong, because you never stop learning no matter how much experience you’ve gained.
If you as a coach believe you’ve got nothing more to give, don’t stop because you never know what might be around the corner.
HONOURED: Volleyball Horsham’s David Berry, right, and Josh Gordon with their awards.