1 January 2019

My passion has always been playing volleyball, but it was taken away from me with one dive, which resulted in a dislocated shoulder. Since then, I have switched my passion from playing volleyball to coaching it.
When I walked into the gym, one arm hanging in a sling, all 10 pairs of eyes switched their attention to me. Never having played before the kids did not know how to act. After I explained I had been playing volleyball for seven years and this was my first year coaching, practice started. Instantly, I saw unacceptable teasing and bullying. As I walked up to the crying boy on the ground I asked him, “What’s wrong?”
He pointed to a teammate, “They kicked me” he said in one sob.
I stopped practice instantly and brought my team together. I said I was done with the bullying and if it happened again, I would call home and give them a one game suspension.
To the kids being bullied, I was a friend. I helped them through it, made it stop, and taught them how to deal with it. They were not afraid to be themselves around me and would even come to me with their problems, instead of hiding them. If something was wrong, they trusted me to find a solution, and to do it in a way that would not embarrass them or result in more problems.
Through coaching volleyball, I taught my athletes teamwork, friendship, and hard work. Playing well is only one aspect of the game, and I helped make my players succeed not only as teammates, but as athletes and friends. For the rest of the school year my brother, who is their teacher there, told me the kids got along better.
Through coaching I have learned to keep my cool under pressure and make sure I choose the right option for each situation so I don’t end up making a situation worse. I have also learned how to help teach others and make them succeed.

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