Coach’s corner

Our Men and Women’s volleyball Head Coaches reflect on the PACWEST season.

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How long have you been Head Coach of the Mariners Men’s Volleyball team, and how did you get the position?

This is my ninth year as head coach of the Men’s program. Chris Densmore was the head coach at the time, and he asked me to help out as a team physician. As an athlete all my life I never thought I’d be a head coach, but after establishing my clinic I had more time so I figured why not. That kind of got my foot in the water.

How would you describe your coaching style?

I’d consider myself a motivator first. I’m not the yell-and-scream-to-get-his-point-across type of coach. Something in particular that I’ve found to be most rewarding about my job is the ability to help create a better human outside of the gym. Recognizing the importance of academics and community involvement is something that lends itself to creating a better product on the court.

Has your job as a chiropractor impacted your coaching style? If so, why?

I consider myself a very ‘functional movement’ type of instructor and coaching a patient on how to get better or how to properly perform certain exercises parallels what I try to bring to the volleyball program.

You have a passion for health, sport, and maximizing human performance in all aspects of life. What advice would you give to athletes looking to improve in those areas?

I believe prioritizing health and nutrition is something you have to start immediately; it’s not something you can push aside or neglect. Being in clinic now for twelve years as a practitioner I see it quite a bit, people saying “I’ll start soon” or “I’ll commit to this when,” which might as well be tomorrow in my opinion. So I’ll always say you can’t start a national team training program if you haven’t trained before, or you can’t be an elite level volleyball player fresh out of high school. It’s about opening your mind up to the concept of learning and embracing new concepts and ideas constantly.

Can you talk about claiming the team’s first PACWEST title since 2007?

Our team’s always been a solid program, but we’ve never been able to claim that last piece. So being able to bring home that gold medal was a truly satisfying and deeply rewarding moment in my coaching career.

What were some of the goals for the team going into the season?

My thing this year was trying to peak at the right time. I felt being one of the top four programs within the conference was a realistic goal; I’m not one to make goals that are so far out, like going undefeated in the playoffs or winning nationals. Taking it one game at a time, making adjustments here and there, or increasing small things like passing stats all contribute to the big picture goal, which was being in a position to succeed at the end of the year.

Women’s Head Coach

Shane Hyde Q/A

You’ve been coach of the Mariners women’s volleyball team for 18 years, how did you get the position?

I started as an assistant coach. The head coach at the time asked me how I felt about taking over the team in his place, considering he held both the head-coaching gig as well as the position of athletic director at VIU. So he essentially passed it over to me.

How would you describe your coaching style?

It’s changed over the years. You can’t be doing it for this long without adapting. I’d say at the beginning I was a bit of a crazy dictator, as I’ve gone along I’ve transitioned to having more of a nurturing and facilitating mindset. I have great assistant coaches that support me and that I’m comfortable delegating tasks to. Whereas when I first started out my approach was extremely hands-on with every aspect of it.

One of the things I really take pride in is creating a sense of team culture. I really believe in creating an atmosphere that emphasizes class and cohesion within our team. This year’s group is a prime example of it, student-athletes that are great role models within the community. I take great pride in seeing alumni come back as leaders within the community.

Have you seen growth from your returning players?

Absolutely. The fact that we made nationals last year meant our players played in essentially two seasons. Getting that extra time together really improved the maturity of our players. Amanda Dobbyn, who is now one of our leaders, has grown so much as a player. Taylor Wickson on the court has always been terrific, but off the court she’s really developed into a mature individual. Our captain Chantal Cumming’s has turned into a true female ambassador of the sport, and a great representative for our university.

Do you have any favorite moments or games during your time at VIU?

Winning the first ever National Championship in women’s volleyball for VIU and for the BC conference in 2008. Close to that is probably winning a national championship on home soil in 2012, it doesn’t get any sweeter than that.

What has been the biggest factor that has contributed to the team’s success this season?

We’re big. We’re extremely skilled. We’ve got players that are elite, there’s literally no other word to describe it. Karoline Tormena is elite; Taylor Wickson is arguably the best middle in the country right now. In all my years coaching I don’t think I’ve seen a tighter group, they love playing with each other and for each other.

Any standout moment from Nationals, or things you’re particularly proud of?

It’s the time spent off the court that is probably most memorable for us. We just finished a tour around a farm of one of the players from our team, plus we visited Niagara Falls a few days ago. It’s more than just volleyball and we’ve truly embraced the adventure aspect of it.

Can you talk about the opposition at this years CCAA tournament? How do these teams compare to the teams you’ve faced throughout the PACWEST season?

Well once you get here all the teams are good. It’s the cream of the crop from all the conferences. The PACWEST conference has been one of the deepest, alongside perhaps the Alberta conference in Canada. We’re privileged to have strong teams in the PACWEST that we have to play 24 times. It gets us more than ready for the competition at the national level

What advice would you give to young women who have aspirations to play for the Mariners volleyball team?

Have fun playing. Don’t take yourself or the sport too seriously. Don’t get caught up in the mindset that you have to train every moment you’re awake. You have to enjoy the experience and the journey towards becoming a great player.