TEMPE, Ariz.—Members of the Arizona State volleyball team spent the summer of 2014 honing their skills in preparation for the upcoming season, including assistant coach Linda Hampton-Keith, who served as one of the assistants on USA Volleyball’s Collegiate National Team.
Overall Thoughts On Coaching In Minnesota
I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to coach in this program for two summers in a row. It is a bit of a sacrifice on our program’s part and I am grateful for the support and level of commitment to our professional development. Being mentored by two legendary coaches in Mike Hebert and Bill Neville was an invaluable experience that allows me to walk away with feedback and suggestions on how to be a better coach for our athletes. I learned valuable lessons that will stay with me as I continue to learn and grow as a coach all while coaching some of our nation’s best collegiate athletes. What a great experience!
Favorite Part On The Court
Playing in the matches is probably the most exciting part of the camp since you train for so many days leading up to the competition, however looking back now I really enjoyed the training sessions we had. All the coaches got to learn from each other and receive feedback on how to become better in planning efficient and focused practices with specific objectives.
Favorite Part Off The Court
Getting to know the athletes off the court is always fun. Our team took a trip to the Mall of America and we did a photo scavenger hunt where each group had to get a picture taken with everyone in their group in the picture. It made for some good laughs and lasting memories of some pretty entertaining pictures. The most rewarding part though is watching each athlete grow through the experience and leave better teammates than when they got there.
I have coached with USA Volleyball for many years and this shouldn’t be a surprise anymore but it never ceases to amaze me how meaningful it is to wear the USA name on your back. I was in awe of how many people would stop to talk to us as we were walking around the convention center or even in downtown Minneapolis. I was even more impressed with our athletes and their willingness to be accessible role models for the younger athletes competing in the Junior National Tournament. It was very powerful to hear our collegiate athletes reminisce about their days competing at the same tournament and for them it was such an honor to talk to, sign autographs for and take pictures with any young athletes they came in contact with. It really made for some special moments for everyone.
What She Learned Working With USA Volleyball And Applying That To Coaching At ASU
Overall I believe this was my 13th summer being involved with USA Volleyball, my second in a row with the Collegiate National Team and each experience I walk away a little bit better than when I started. I am so grateful for the sacrifice our program makes for me to be involved with USA Volleyball, for the past two seasons I have not been able to recruit at the Girls Junior National Tournament event due to my involvement. What I hope is that in exchange I have returned as a better coach and mentor to our own athletes and that with the experience I have gained some more insight and knowledge that will help our team reach its potential in the Fall.
On Kizzy Willey and Mercedes Binns’ Development As Members Of USA Volleyball’s CNT
This summer was even more special since two of our athletes were selected to participate, Kizzy Willey and Mercedes Binns. It was neat to be able to watch them grow through the experience but I tried to keep a little distance because I felt that it would be better for them to hear from other coaches. One of the rules of the camp is that I couldn’t coach them when it came time to select teams, which I think is a great rule. Hearing from different coaches and having to be teammates to a new group of athletes is all part of the experience. They see me all the time and are going to hear from me every day once the Fall begins so I tried to give them some space so that they could each have their own unique experience without having to worry about one of their coaches being there. Now I can’t wait to see how this experience for them individually will impact the rest of the team when we report in August. I think they will not only be better players on the court, but even better teammates off the court.
The Arizona State volleyball team opens the 2014 season at the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational, Aug. 29-31, in Manoa, Hawaii. ASU will play its first home match, an exhibition against Canada’s Mount Royal University, on Thursday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m. PT.