May 30, 2009

Volleyball Coaching Career Question #87

Rogue coach!

How many coaches out there at the D1 or D2 level have had little experience actually playing themselves? I am a 35 year old male teacher who grew up in SoCal. I started a year of club ball in H.S. then moved to San Diego where everyone was light years ahead of me. I played a year on a club team at a D2 four year school (Chico State) in Northern California. Despite having little team experience under my belt I play surprisingly well. The deal is that I truly love the game, wish I had been presented more opportunities to play organized ball (of any sort being 6'5" and 240), and really want to direct all that somewhere worthwhile but am quite hesitant feeling like I don't know the logistics/mechanics of the game very well.

What kind of advice would you have towards starting out and moving up the ladder?

After getting rolling which way would be offer the most opportunities in the future? 2yr college vs. Club coaching vs. HS?

Do you have to have a degree in athletics (or usual minimum of a masters) to coach at a 4 year university?

And do you have any rough reference of where coaches start out at with pay in 2yr and 4yr schools?

Great blog by the way.

Thanks, Shane

"Rogue Coach" - I like it! Anything that creative gets the question moved to the front of the answer line and then posted on site!!

You would be surprised at the number of DI/D2 male coaches who have had limited, if any playing experience - It happens with female coaches to a certain degree, but not as much because of the opportunities afforded. Quite a number of coaches just have some college club volleyball or adult league experience, then get an opportunity somehow within the collegiate setting and run with it.

I feel that these type of coaches are successful because they don't rely upon their overwhelming playing experience to guide their development as coaches - In a sense they realize they need to stay current and proactive in their education of coaching. One of the mistakes I made as an young coach, was to think since I was a very good player, that I would be a very good coach, just because of association. It took a number of seasons, especially after moving into the head coach slot, to learn to translate my physical experience into practical coaching application for my players. Too often, young good former players turned coaches get frustrated because their players 'don't get it' and the coach is not willing or able to make the adjustments to present or teach the game.

In previous posts, I may have answered a number (if not all of your questions), but I have also sent out many return e-mails to others which have your same questions that I did not post on line. I will try to give you a brief run down to help, and hopefully the full answers are somewhere on the site.

1. Get into Club volleyball as a coach - It will provide the opportunity to 'work' on your coaching skills in a higher volleyball environment, provide an avenue to meet other volleyball coaches and possible open some doors to college spots.

2. Inquire about working any college volleyball camps during the summer - Again, a chance to coach athletes, and learn skills/philosophies from other coaches, while developing contacts.

3. If you have the funds or location, try to become a volunteer coach at a collegiate program. Just build the resume and your experience, plus it allows you to work with college age players in the gym, while gaining some experience in an athletic department.

4. High school is a part time stipend pay position with crazy high school politics (ie high school football coaches who think they are the next Saben or basketball coaches who want the gym the first day of school) - Club has crazy travel and parents who pay for the right to dictate policy, but a higher level of volleyball. JC is a great entry with pay ranges from 1 dollar to a healthy standard of living, but the resources can be limited. The brass ring gets shinier as you climb but harder to attain - the three NCAA Divisions.

5. Undergraduate degree is all you need to coach in college - no specific subject requirement (in the majority of positions). Some DII-DIII or JC's may mandate a Masters, and sometimes within desired disciplines, but usually just a masters level degree - These masters level degree requirements seem to be lessening for DII but still holding for DIII (remember DIII is academically oriented).

6. Pay - That is a tough question because of so variables - age, experience, departmental philosophies, part of the country, etc. Starting Head Coach JC full time is probably high 20's (depending on physical location), part time is just a few thousand - JC assist full time (which is rare) migh be high teens and most likely part time for a few grand. 4 year assist full time depends on classification, but can start from low, low 20's (scary cheap some DI's) to mid 40's, some can be part time (DII or DIII) and will just be a few K stipend. Full time 4 year head coach can run from high 20's (think NAIA or token DII schools) up to big money if you land the name brand school. This is possibly the most frustrating thing to college volleyball coaches; the huge range of pay scale and some of the salaires being embarrassingly low, comparative to football and basketball college opportunities of same schools.

Good luck with your future and I the quick reply helps.