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As adults who are working on a weekly basis with teenagers, we as coaches see and experience many of the issues affecting them today. In his book “Stressed Out”, Tim Elmore lays out the statistics, which are sobering, to say the least.

· A 2015 study by the Department of Health and Human Services found three million teens had one major depressive episode, and two million reported experiencing depression that impaired their daily functioning.

· Suicides that are caused by anxiety and depression are now labeled “Despair Deaths”. The number of despair deaths has more than doubled from 64,591 in 1999 to 141,963 in 2016. …


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By Mike Euliano

Stay in your lane. This is my mantra. This is the same advice I give every time I see anyone getting into a pattern of comparing themselves to others. Why is it human nature to compare ourselves to others? We all do this, but we must recondition this thought process if we ever want to become successful. We’re all different. We all do things at our own pace — this is what makes us individuals. Different isn’t wrong — it’s just different. Focusing on our own growth and competing against ourselves to be better today than we were yesterday, this is motivating. Comparing ourselves to everyone around us is discouraging. When I see an athlete doing this I help them understand the difference between comparing and being inspired. Comparing yourself to another person results in feelings of never measuring up, but being inspired by another person results in the motivation to better yourself and get to that level. …


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Gosh where do I start, I have learned so much over the course of my coaching and playing career. In youth sports today we speak about creating a positive, supportive, and enjoyable environment. We speak about putting the needs, values, and priorities of the athletes first and foremost. We talk about making youth sports an environment of respect and trust, not fear and intimidation. And we speak about focusing on the development of the person and the athlete, and not just the outcome of the game or season.

But as a coach are we doing these things?

I’ve learned that our influence as coaches is never neutral. We as coaches have a tremendous impact with our words and actions on kids and their families. Most importantly, I’ve learned to be intentional about every single thing I do as a coach. Here are some important topics to being the best coach possible. If you aren’t there yet and can learn from these it’s never too late to start! …


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Building Positive Team Culture

Having a positive team culture is something that we all want and hope for in the gym, on and off the court. But how do we do it? There are a million and one ways to build a positive team culture, but here are some thoughts and ideas that have significantly impacted my teams over the years.

Know and Understand your players

Coaches need to regularly spend time getting to know their players. Ask players how their day was, what things they enjoy doing, hobbies, what motivates them, and understand the unique challenges every player faces. If you don’t check in with your athletes, how do you know if they are ready to train or compete hard on the court? We all want them to go hard on the floor, but if they are facing great stress or challenges, they probably won’t be in the greatest mindset. …


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For our inaugural Coaches Corner, we are fortunate to have Bob Jones share with us. He is a 2 time National Champion as a player and has 20+ years of experience coaching juniors. He is the Great Lakes Region Beach Rep. for the USAV and is also the Assistant Coach at Waubonsee Community College. As a coach, Bob says “I care about each of my players like they were my own kids and want them to do well not only on the court but off the court in school and in life. …


The star pitcher of a major league team is advised to visit the teams athletic center to help with a shoulder injury he has been dealing with. The athlete meets with the athletic trainer and proceeds to inform him of pain he is having in his throwing arm. He tells the trainer he has rested it, iced it, compressed it, he’s even elevated it (R.I.C.E), but the pain persists. All the while the trainer is listening, nodding, and inquiring. When the athletic trainer has all the information he needs, he signals for the athlete to stand and come with him. They go into the training facility and the trainer puts the athlete through a series of movement assessments. After about 20 minutes, they return to the treatment tables and the trainer asks the athlete to lie down, the athlete complies. The trainer begins to work on the athletes…ankle? Puzzled, the athlete says, “the pain is in my shoulder…”. …


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Today, according to the NCAA, there are 347 Division I schools, 309 Division II schools, and 442 Division III schools. To give you a better idea of size and how they divisions compare, about 176,000 student athletes compete at the Division I level. A little more than 118,000 student-athletes compete in Division II and Division III has just under 188,000 student athletes on its various rosters. DI and DII athletes must meet certain eligibility requirements set by the NCAA. Division III eligibility requirements are set by the school.

There is a small percentage of high school athletes that end up playing at the DI and DII level, only about 56 percent of DI athletes receive some type of athletics aid and DII athletes fair just a little better at 60 percent that get athletics aid. While DIII schools do not offer any type of athletic scholarships, you will be pleased to know that 80 percent of DIII athletes receive non-athletics aid, often in the form of grants or need-based scholarships to academically qualified athletes. Another big plus for both parents and student-athletes is that 87 percent of all DIII athletes graduate from college. Although the other two divisions are not that far behind, that’s the highest percentage of any NCAA Division. …


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College coaches receive hundreds and hundreds of emails every year from young volleyball athletes seeking opportunities to play at the next level. Which ones get noticed and how? Keep in mind college coaches are busy. If you want their attention, get to the point. Here are a few pointers on how to help get college coaches to take notice and help you get recruited.

1. Address the coach you are emailing by name. This not only catches their attention, but it also shows you took the time to look at their coaching staff to familiarize yourself with their program.

2. Provide your name, the name of your club, the city its in, the position you play, your height, jump touch, GPA, and any honor classes you have taken. …


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With club season now over, soon many high school seniors will be reporting to preseason. The excitement of starting something new and the feeling of nervousness as you to take the next step is completely normal. The nature of your transition depends a lot on what you do to prepare for it. Though this topic is most urgent for high school seniors, those of you with a little more time have an opportunity to get ahead of the game if you start preparing now.

The most important consideration coming into college is health. It is great to get reps and play a lot of volleyball, but you need to be smart about how you do it. Improper mechanics are a huge problem in club and high school volleyball. This issue will follow an athlete into college if they don’t focus on the proper mechanics their coaches are trying to teach them. For example, just because you have always landed on one leg when you hit and have been successful doing so, does not mean that is not an ACL tear waiting to happen. Dedicating your time to mastering the proper mechanics will give you a better chance to play at a higher level. College volleyball is faster and more physical than club or high school volleyball. There are going to be players who have gone through two or three full years of working out at the college level and will be stronger than you. You do not have to try and catch up with those girls before you even step foot on campus. But the more experience you have in the weight room and the better shape you are in, the more prepared you will be to go up against the older players and less chances you have at getting injured. …


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The summer can be an extremely busy time for athletes. Because of this, many families think that they just can’t fit college visits into their busy schedules. However, using the trips you already have planned as a way of narrowing down, or possibly adding to your college list can be a great way to get ahead.

As you travel this summer for vacations, camps, or tournaments, perhaps make a plan to leave a day early in order to drop by a few campuses on the way. …

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Top Flight VBC

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