King of the club, blocker of Marcello, and tamer of wild scotsmen, Nam is the well-known face of UTS Volleyball. He is a contender for the “Most Unigames Attended” and “Most Pork Crackle Consumed” awards, and has a penchant for organ smashing.
A passionate player and intelligent coach, he put some time aside to answer a few questions about himself.
What is your current involvement with the sport?
Australian National Women’s Senior Team Assistant Coach
WAVL UTSSU Head Coach
SVL Womens Honours Head Coach
Santa Sabina College Volleyball Program Head Coach
Social Comp Setter / Power Hitter Spikeroos 🙂
Tell us about your history with volleyball.
I started vball in Year 8 at school, school didnt really have a volleyball program… only 1 term per year.
I was part of a junior development program run by East Sydney Volleyball but the program only lasted 2 years
Joined UTS Volleyball club during my first year of Uni in 1995.
Coaching began in Year 9 by trialing for both basketball and volleyball during the same term. I made both teams, which was against the rules and was kicked out of both teams. The volleyball coached asked me then to assistant coach, and i’ve been an ass coach ever since (sic).
What’s the most important factor for improving your game? Eagerness to learn and progress. Try and to be open to new ideas otherwise they will become stale. You need to enjoy the sport and change keeps things interesting.
Describe your coaching style. Same as the players, coaches need to change and be open to change too. I believe my style has changed over the years… I’ve probably become alot calmer over the years. As a coach I am also trying to learn new approaches to running a team. Volleyball, and sport in general should be treated as a living breathing organism. We must consider change and look for ways to develop by analysing our strengths and weaknesses accordingly. Different systems, techniques, styles work for different people, so in a team environment where the personnel changes all the time, as a coach you need to be open to the different approaches. However a good philosophy and team/club culture is crucial and that needs to be consistent and is the job of the coach to encourage that. I believe that the “process” far outways the “product”. I am never interested in the medals in the end unless we did the right things leading up to it.
What are you priorities for the girls? We have some new players this year and some very young players. I want this team to be versatile and adaptable. That is, all players must understand the role and skill sets of all positions on the court at the base level. Middles should know how to pass/defend, release hitter need to know how to hit quicks, everyone needs to know how to hit and set a release ball. In being better at all general volleyball skills hopefully the players will better understand the game and hence be better volleyball “players” not just middles, setters, liberos passer hitter. It will open up options for our team and hopefully for the club in general.
What are some your fondest memories in the sport? My fondest memories are always around coaching the younger age groups. Unfortunately in Australia, school sport is where you can invest the most amount of time in athletes, especially in an amateaur sport. As players get older other priorities take over and usually volleyball takes a back seat. Every year coaching at the Australian Volleyball Schools Cup is my favourite event and there have been too many fond memories. However winning WAVL and being announced as the assistant coach of the National team was pretty exciting.
And what about life outside of volleyball? I studied and worked way to long as a Civil Engineer to realise that I just wanted to coach and I’m very lucky to have a job now where coaching is a priority. I used to train up to 6 days a week as a Junior NSW rep in Karate, but I hate fighting so volleyball was a good change to keep the bad guys on the other side of the net. I once played bass in a band but we had artistic difference… they liked hard rock… I liked Karaoke classics.