Back in 2013 there was term-end dinner for the Exeter University teams, and the broader club. The year before I missed out because of a schedule conflict with a PhD event. I was also somewhat uncomfortable going out with my players in a social context with alcohol involved. You just don’t do that in the States. I attended the end-of-year dinner the prior Spring, and a couple other social functions between, though. That made me more comfortable and relaxed with it all. It’s good for team morale for the coach to go out with the players sometimes. You just have to ignore some things. 🙂

This particular dinner provided a couple of those events that really reinforce why I coach.

The club gave out the traditional awards for all the groups involved – Beginners, Intermediates, and BUCS. I coached the latter, which are the competitive inter-university teams. I selected an MVP and Most Improved for the season to-date for the BUCS men and women. There was some back and forth among us coaches about the men’s selections. For the women it was a pair of no-brainers, though.

To say the choices for women’s MVP and MIP were popular ones is an understatement. Both announcements received with loud cheering from the whole club. Both players were clearly quite happy to be recognized. The MIP in particular was really excited. She came over to me afterwards to thank me effusively. Of course I said I expected even more from her second term. 😉

On top of that, a couple of the exchange students we had that term came up to me near the end of the night to thank me. Both talked about how they kind of re-found their joy for the sport. They said they would look for opportunities to keep playing when they returned home (one to the States, one to Denmark). One also told me I was an awesome coach. What coach doesn’t like to hear that sort of thing? 🙂

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

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