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She Can Coach!

She Can Coach!
Published: 2022-05-16
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I coached women’s volleyball at the collegiate and international level for 26 years.  As a young coach I read every coaching and business book I could find and attended as many coaching clinics and volleyball conventions I possibly could.  While I was learning the X’s and O’s of my sport, great coaching ideas and various approaches to coaching, I finally realized everything I was reading about coaching was written by a male coach or about a male coach.  You couldn’t find a book written by a female coach even though they were busy winning lots of national championships, Olympic Medals and World Championships.  I wanted to know what those women were doing that made them successful.  I had just finished working on a book, The Volleyball Coaching Bible, for Human Kinetics Publishing in 2003 and told the person I was working with was that they really needed to publish a book by successful women in coaching.  They let me put together a proposal of topics and coaches I wanted in the book.  I went after 20 of the top women coaches in college athletics to share their knowledge and ideas of what made them successful. 

She Can Coach! (2004) was both an invaluable guide for current female coaches and a recruiting tool for the next generation of female mentors. Unlike any book before it, this collection spoke directly on the topics that determine success in coaching by using the words and experiences of 20 of the most successful female coaches in 13 different sports:

https://us.humankinetics.com/products/she-can-coach-pdf

The book was broken down into these chapters with each coach addressing one of these areas.

Part I. Professional Foundation and Conduct
Chapter 1. Coaching Philosophy - Beth Anders, Old Dominion University, field hockey
Chapter 2. Ethics - JoAnne Graf, Florida State University, softball
Chapter 3. Professionalism - Margie Wright, Fresno State University, softball
Chapter 4. Leadership - Marcia McDermott, Carolina Courage (former coach), WUSA
Chapter 5. Competitiveness - Nell Fortner, Indiana Fever (former coach), WNBA, Georgia Tech University

Part II. Personal Investment and Self-Direction
Chapter 6. Motivation - Mary Wise, University of Florida, volleyball
Chapter 7. Decision-Making - Jan Harville, University of Washington, rowing
Chapter 8. Self-Discipline - Mary Jo Peppler, Coast Volleyball Club, volleyball
Chapter 9. Focus - Lorene Ramsey, Illinois Central College, basketball

Chapter 10. Stress Management - Jill Sterkel, University of Texas, swimming

Part III. Program Implementation and Management
Chapter 11. Organizational Skills - Diane Davey, Plano (Texas) High School, soccer
Chapter 12. Staff Management and Mentoring - Pat Summitt, University of Tennessee, basketball
Chapter 13. The Assistant Coach Role - Lele Forood, Stanford University, tennis
Chapter 14. Team Management - Dorothy Gaters, Marshall High School (Chicago), basketball and cross country
Chapter 15. Athlete Recruitment - Terry Crawford, Cal Poly University, track & field/cross country

Part IV. Relationship Building and Promotional Activities
Chapter 16. Coach-Athlete Relations - Kim Kincer, Methodist College, golf
Chapter 17. Team Cohesion - Sharon Pfluger, College of New Jersey, lacrosse & field hockey
Chapter 18. Parent Relations - Joan Powell, Coronado (Colorado) High School, volleyball
Chapter 19. Marketing and Media - Sarah Patterson, University of Alabama, gymnastics
Chapter 20. Networking - Amy Ruley, North Dakota State University, basketball

                                        

All of these topics are still important in coaching today’s athletes at all levels.  I learned why it was important to have a solid coaching philosophy, how and why we need to conduct ourselves as professionals, first heard the concept “why not me” in anything I wanted to achieve. I found some great tips on stress management and learned why it was important to have athletes evaluate everyone they worked with in a program such as academic advisors, strength coaches, athletic trainers, assistant coaches and the head coach.  I realized I needed to evaluate my recruiting strategies to be more successful and how the best coaches market their programs and network with the right kind of connections to keep their program and themselves growing. 

We’ve now entered a new era of women in coaching. Women coaches across the globe have triumphed, using their expertise, experience, and sustained success to break down barriers and establish new standards of excellence in their coaching roles.  We are seeing more and more women applying for jobs coaching men and being successful in those roles.

A new book, Winning Ways of Women Coaches (May 2022), reflects this new era. Some of the most exceptional women coaches in the world have contributed to this groundbreaking book, each examining a different coaching topic from her unique viewpoint. Representing 15 different sports—including professional football and baseball—and earning more than 50 national championships and dozens of World and Olympic titles, these coaching pioneers provide the acumen and inspiration to succeed in the coaching profession:

https://us.humankinetics.com/products/winning-ways-of-women-coaches

Part I. Coaching Career Path and Considerations
Chapter 1. Checking Your Coaching Competencies
Valorie Kondos Field – UCLA Gymnastics
Chapter 2. Getting a Coaching Position, Growing as a Coach
Rachel Balkovec – MLB New York Yankees
Chapter 3. Changing Coaching Roles, Advancing Your Career
Carol Owens – Notre Dame basketball
Chapter 4. Thriving as an Assistant Coach
Denise Corlett – Stanford University volleyball
Chapter 5. Coaching and Raising a Family
Ellen Randell – Team Australia rowing
Chapter 6. Managing Yourself
Roselee Jencke – Team Australia netball

Part II. Program Development and Management
Chapter 7. Working With Administrators
Melissa Luellen – Auburn University golf

Chapter 8. Building and Sustaining a Winning Program
Amber Warners – Warner Christian University volleyball
Chapter 9. Establishing a High-Performance Culture
Carla Nicholls – Team Canada track & field and Para track & field
Chapter 10. Developing and Implementing a Strategy
Melody Davidson – Team Canada ice hockey
Chapter 11. Recruiting, Organizing, and Mentoring a Staff
Tara VanDerveer – Stanford University basketball
Chapter 12. Planning, Scheduling, and Delegating
Felecia Mulkey – Baylor University Acrobat and Tumbling
Chapter 13. Selling Your Program
Carolyn Peck – Sport Media basketball

Part III. Athlete Engagement and Growth
Chapter 14. Recruiting Athletes to Your Program
Missy Meharg – Rutgers University field hockey
Chapter 15. Defining and Adjusting Athletes’ Roles
Kelly Inouye-Perez – UCLA softball
Chapter 16. Leading Effectively and Coaching People Up
Jen Welter – NFL Arizona Cardinals
Chapter 17. Taking an Athlete-Centered Approach
Nancy Stevens – University of Connecticut field hockey
Chapter 18. Strengthening Coach–Athlete Relationships
Teri McKeever – Cal Berkeley swimming
Chapter 19. Growing Athletes Holistically
Becky Burleigh – University of Florida soccer
Chapter 20. Keeping It Fun While Instilling the Values
Lonni Alameda – Florida State University softball

This new book takes on some new topics, but each coach also demonstrates how it is important to coach through love and understanding.  They know their relationship with each athlete is extremely important and a huge part of the success of their teams.  Team culture is addressed in each chapter.  Each coach describes how they go about setting up a positive culture in their program and why they feel it is a key to success.  Most of them do not mention winning, but how they go about the daily process and specific strategies to help their athletes get a little better every day knowing if they do get better the payoff for that athlete will be huge as well as a great lifelong lesson.  Just as the athletes need to get better, coaches have to challenge themselves to grow and learn as much as they and strive to become an expert in an area of their sport. Think about coaching athletes holistically and allowing them to make important decisions within the program.  Work with the team to identify the core values of the program and what it means to live those values every day on and off the field.  Every coach and athlete got involved in sport because it was fun.  Work hard to keep the fun in practices and games and teach athletes when to lock in and when to loosen up.  Make sure everyone in the program understands and accepts their role on the team and how it may change from day to day based on circumstances.  Buying in to “mission first, team second” will help keep athletes in the right frame of mind.  Making sure each athlete has their role defined and understands how they may change from day to day as circumstances change.  Coaching while raising a family seemed to make women better as coaches and mothers.  You have to take good care of yourself before you can take care of others.  Make that a priority.  Working with the coaching staff and administrators are vital to having a long-term career in coaching.  Know how to manage those around you and above you.

                                                       

Coaches are the second most influencing person in an athlete’s life besides their parents.  Female athletes need to be able see and work with strong women as their coaches and role models.  IF SHE CAN SEE HER, SHE CAN BE HER.

Winning Ways of Women Coaches sales will support WeCOACH, the premier membership organization dedicated to the recruitment, advancement, and retention of women coaches of all sports and levels.

https://wecoachsports.org/