Our 18-1 Head Coach Brendan McGourn wrote this letter to our seniors after their last tournament, and we loved it SO much, we wanted to share it with the world.
Congratulations - you made it! Thank you so much for everything you've given to the sport, to the volleyball community, and your teammates. We at Northeast are so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of your lives, and we can’t wait to see what you'll do next! You are all amazing role models for the next generation of NEVBC athletes.
For those of you heading off to play in college, here are 10 quick tips for the next chapter of your volleyball career:
Go in with the mindset that you’re a starter. Be kind to everyone, but don’t worry about “stepping on toes.” Your coach’s job is to win matches - so if you’re truly the best at your position, you’ll play. There is no age hierarchy in college. Assert yourself into drills, don’t think “well, you’re a senior, so you should play this round.”
Show up in shape. A lot of common injuries are a result of not being prepared. A rolled ankle is an impact injury. A pulled hamstring, quad, hip flexor, and shoulder inflammation are all signs you may not have been properly prepared for preseason. Your school may have 2 or 3 practices a day in preseason, so make sure you’re fit and ready.
First impressions matter. If you show up in shape and with the right mindset, you could find yourself in a starting role. It’s significantly harder to become a starter mid-season. While the juniors and seniors are doing internships over the summer, you have the ability to work hard in the gym and start off in a great position. Take advantage of that!
Be proactive, not reactive. Believe it or not, you’re getting older! The Athletic Training room at your school is your friend! Ice and stretch BEFORE something hurts! If you have the opportunity and facilities for pre or post practice massages or ice baths after practice, take the time to take care of your body.
Once you get into your season, here are some tips and reminders if you are not starting or getting the playing time you want.
Remember, everyone on your team was also the best on their high school teams. You’re joining a team of people just like you. All-State, captains of their high school teams, and high level club volleyball players. Everyone is talented!
Do extra work outside of the scheduled practices. Get in the gym for extra reps with or without your coach (ideally with). Work out more than your teammates. Watch more film than your teammates and talk to your coaches about the film. If you want to be better and beat someone out for their spot, you have to do more than that person!
Be communicative. If you feel the need to meet with your coach about your contributions to the team, always start your meeting with “What can I do to help the team?” This shows your coach you care about the team first. It also shows them you’re probably not content with your current situation. Then follow up with “Is there anything specifically I can improve on?” Don’t focus specifically on playing time, focus on how you can become the best so your coach will want to give you more playing time.
Put in the work BEFORE you talk to your coach. If you don’t care enough to put in an extra 15 minutes of reps, why should your coach take a 15 minute meeting with you about your playing time? Food for thought.
Be patient. Someone may be better than you! Accept that in the meantime and wait for your opportunity! But while you're waiting, work hard to improve.
Enjoy it and have fun! Volleyball should be an outlet for you, especially with the stress of college academics. Be proud of your hard work, and most importantly, enjoy playing the game you love! You're usually getting better when you're having fun.
Remember - Your class made it through a global pandemic - and multiple shortened and interrupted club volleyball seasons - and you came out stronger and more ready to face the world.
Although you are moving onto another team, don’t be a stranger! We would love for you to come back to NEVBC to play or help out with our current youth athletes.
You are always welcome, so feel free to reach out to any of our coaches or directors with questions or if you're in town.
Congrats on making it to this point, and good luck! You are going to do great, and we are so proud of what you have accomplished.
Your NEVBC Family