There are hundreds of teenage girls crowded in the gym. Whistles, cheering and screaming is heard everywhere. For two college students this is just another weekend. Another weekend with a volleyball tournament. Another weekend they can’t attend the biggest party. Another weekend they have to cram in homework. But these sacrifices are not new to them. Dedication is what it takes to coach club volleyball.
The two coaches of the Slam/pva 16-1 club volleyball team, Sarah Lickteig and Monica Powers, sacrifice many things in order to coach. The University of Kansas students have devoted much of their time to the team. While Lickteig sits alone in the corner studying for an upcoming final, it shows how coaching and attending college are two difficult things to balance. Not to mention throwing a social life in the mix. However, Lickteig and Powers are able to find a balance.
“I see [coaching] as part of my social life,” Lickteig says as she talks about coaching alongside one of her best friends.
As Lickteig and Powers laugh about knowing they wanted to coach together since birth, it shows why this team has such a close bond. The coaches are still at a young age where they are enjoying life, and have learned not to take things too seriously.
The Slam huddles are unique to say the least. During team huddles Powers can be seen doing the “Call Me Maybe” dance or Lickteig popping girls backs as they lay on the floor. And the team never forgets their traditional cheer to break the huddle.
As chants of “Boom Swag” ring out from the huddle, Lickteig and Powers bounce the ball on the ground repeatedly as the team cheers around them. On the final “Boom Swag,” Lickteig and Powers throw the ball on the ground as hard as they can before the team breaks the huddle with a final “Slam.”
“It’s easy for us to relate to the players because it wasn’t long ago that we were in their position,” Powers said.
“I think because [the coaches] are younger they understand us a little better than an older coach would,” Rachael Gardner said.
As the final practices approach, Lickteig and Powers decide to surprise the team. They tell the team to get in their cars, but don’t tell them where they are going. As they drive the team to the secret location while blasting Usher’s “Yeah,” the team’s chemistry is growing more and more each second. The girls yell out the window at people walking by and wave to the cars around them. As the cars pull into the Sonic parking lot, the girls spend their practice time throwing around a Frisbee and enjoying ice cream. Through these types of activities, Lickteig and Powers bring their team closer together by simply having fun.
“You can be yourself,” Lickteig said. “Which is the best part about it, because we are all weird in our own ways.”
As they dance on the sidelines, make random bird noises, and have massage lines, you can see the real Slam/pva team. Weird. Goofy. Crazy. Dorks. This is how the Slam/pva coaches and team see themselves. It’s easy to see that while on the court things are serious, they still know how to have fun.
Off the court, the seriousness is quickly gone. Whether it’s the coaches sitting in a circle with the girls yelling out random words as they play Catch Phrase, or the coaches playing Frisbee at Sonic with the team instead of having practice, the team rarely has a dull moment. As they sit in circles at the tournaments talking and listening to music the environment is relaxed and crazy at the same time, all because of Lickteig and Powers bringing this team closer together.