Inside Inside hp Speraw Named U.S. Men s National Volleyball Team Head Coach By B.J. Hoeptner Evans, USA Volleyball Manager of Communications John Speraw had Hugh McCutcheon to thank, or perhaps blame, for his very busy schedule during the next four years. Speraw, a two-time Olympic assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team, was named the program’s head coach for the next Olympic Games quadrennial culminating at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, by USA Volleyball Chief Executive Ofﬁcer Doug Beal on March 25. Speraw, 41, will also continue as the head men’s volleyball coach at UCLA in a dual role with the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team. He accepted the head job at his alma mater in June 2012 and is completing his ﬁrst campaign with the Bruins. Less than three weeks prior to the announcement that he would be the new U.S. Men’s head coach, Speraw thought his schedule during the summer of 2013 would allow him to take a trip to Scotland with his parents. But a conversation with McCutcheon, who hired Speraw as one of his assistants in 2007, sent him a different direction. “He asked about what the discussions had been with Doug (Beal) previously about the dual role (with UCLA and the U.S. Men’s Team),” Speraw said. “I told him I thought the dual role was more doable than I had even foreseen a year before when it was being discussed.”
Inside this Issue: Girls’ Player Spotlight—page 2 Girls’ Coach Spotlight—page 4 Top 3 recruiting Must Do’s—page 6 HP and CAP Team Up—page 8 Boys’ Coach Spotlight—page 12
McCutcheon called Beal, who called Speraw and put things in motion. “I am very happy that John has accepted our offer to be the U.S. Men’s head coach,” Beal said. “He’s the right person for the job for this quad at this time. He’s a terriﬁcally talented coach who has had a remarkable level of success at the college level. He knows the current U.S. Men’s player pool very well from his experiences over the last two quads. He has mentored under both Hugh McCutcheon and Alan Knipe.” Speraw said he felt ready for the challenge of leading two men’s volleyball teams.
“The support and resources at UCLA are beyond what I have imagined,” he said. “I have two great assistant coaches (at UCLA) in Brad Keller and Andrea Becker and an amazing staff. “I am excited to take on this new role with USA Volleyball," Speraw said. “I am honored to have been selected to coach this elite group of talented U.S. players and I appreciate UCLA's support in allowing me to pursue this tremendous opportunity.” “I congratulate John Speraw on his appointment as head coach for the U.S. national team,” said Dan Guerrero, UCLA athletic director. “UCLA volleyball has always had strong ties with USA Volleyball and I look forward to John’s success with both programs.” 1
Girls’ Athlete Spotlight Full Name: Shawna-Lei Marie Healohapuananiokaihe Santos Hometown: Honolulu, Hawai'i School: St. John's University (N.Y.) Position: Utility Player (setter, outside hitter, opposite, libero and defensive specialist)
“Gotta have” snack between matches at a tournament: I would probably have to say yogurt covered pretzels or gummy bears. It's a nice energy booster before long days after traveling or waiting for a game and it's nice to keep in my bag anywhere i go. They are probably two of my favorite snacks to always eat. If you could meet any current or past Olympian, who would it be and why? If i could meet any Olympian i would love to meet Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh because they have found such a great connection on the beach court that they are impossible to beat. They understand each other and their weaknesses and they got each others’ back. I respect that a lot. Photo courtesy of St. John’s University When did you start playing volleyball? I have been playing volleyball since the fourth grade because my mom, Maria Santos, was a volleyball player in high school. Also, because volleyball is a big sport in Hawai'i and i was able to fall in love with the sport quickly, especially when other sports were not appealing to me. Are you from a “volleyball family”? Do any of your family members play collegiate or professional sports? No, i am the ﬁrst of my family to compete collegiately at the college level. I feel honored to be the ﬁrst and hopefully start a trend for my family to continue to send their kids to college so they have the same experiences that i have now. I am making my family and friends proud by following my dreams and doing the best i can in volleyball. Who was the most inﬂuential person in helping you to develop as a volleyball player? My dad, Shawn Santos, has been my rock since day one and will always continue to because through all the support that he has given me and making sure to never give up even when i desperately wanted to, he gave me the strength to keep pushing forward and to never give up on my dreams. That is why i continue to tryout for the National Team and do well Photo copyright Of USAV collegiately because i want to show him that his efforts and support did not go to waste. That one day when everything pays off, my dad will know that this was all for him. What part of your background best prepared you for playing at an elite level? Besides playing club volleyball and being involved with the USA volleyball High Performance program, i was able to gain a lot of different techniques and volleyball skills to help my all-around play to become more efﬁcient and better. Especially all the amazing coaches that have coached me since I was little till now have helped my game physically and mentally. Describe some improvements you want to make in the coming year in the physical or mental side of your game. This year i will be able to focus on being able to get better at playing libero because i won't need to focus on other positions and will be able to mainly focus on my libero position. This will be helpful because i won't need to worry about getting better at other positions and be able to become better and break down the libero position. I've always wanted to just work on the libero position, but was not able to because i needed to work on other positions so this year i want to improve on becoming a better libero. 2
What USAV HP Programs have you been involved in? Are these different from other programs you have been involved in? If so, what makes them different? I have been part of the USAV HP Programs since the eighth grade when making the A2 select group, which was training in Colorado Springs, Colo., but also made my regional team, Aloha Region, which competed in Tucson, Ariz, that year. After that year i was selected to be part of the A1 select group at Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., as an outside hitter. That year my team won the bronze medal. The next year i made the A2 youth group at Wisconsin Dells, Wis., as a libero, my ﬁrst time ever playing libero and that was an experience i would never forget because i fell in love with passing then. The next year i was invited to play for the A2 youth group in Tucson, Ariz., as a libero but played outside. That year we went undefeated and won the gold medal. That year was very interesting because even though i made the A2 group as a libero, i played outside and did well at the level we played at. My team was also the underdogs and did really well which i was really proud of. Last year I had the great privilege of having a chance to train on the junior national team in Des Moines, Iowa, and competed for a chance to win a spot on the team as a libero. We ended up being undefeated at the tournament and won the gold medal.
Photo courtesy of Santos family
What has been the happiest moment in your volleyball career? There are two happy moments in my volleyball career and that is in 2011 National Championships where my club team, Imi'Ike, won the bronze medal, but I also had the great privilege of making the all-tournament team. It completely caught me off guard and it was when my hard work ﬁnally paid off and some people ﬁnally saw my hard work and that gave me hope to never stop working hard and to keep getting better. My other happy moment in my volleyball career was when I was asked to be part of the Junior National Training Team, this too gave me hope to keep trying even though i was not able to travel to Nicaragua this past summer. But shows that there is still a chance that I could make it one day. Do you want to play volleyball collegiately and/or professionally? Do you strive to represent the USA one day as an Olympian? I am playing collegiately at St. John's University in Queens, N.Y., and it is a completely different level from what i am used to from club and school. But because I have played HP, i was able to play against old friends that i have made from the program and be able to compete at a high level as i did in the program. Hopefully i become successful in my collegiate career and be drafted into a professional team. That will then give me the experience of a lifetime that will help beneﬁt my chance of becoming an Olympian and representing my country in the Olympics and winning that gold medal for my country and state. 3
Girls’ Coach Spotlight: Brian Wright
What High Performance Programs have you worked, up through 2012 (both Region and USAV HP): 2012 USA Select A1/A2, 2012 Holiday Camp, 3 years - Lone Star Region HP, and multiple other USA camps and tryouts IMPACT certiﬁed?: Yes CAP certiﬁcation level: CAP I PERSONAL
What led you to become a coach? Total luck. While I was running the University of Texas men's club team, I received a phone call from a lady that was starting a club and looking for coaches. When I got off the phone, it hit me that she was offering to pay me to simply run two practices a week and two tournaments a month. I had only been playing for a year and a half, and I loved the sport, but I took the job for the money. After my ﬁrst season, I realized that I knew very little about the sport and that fueled me to want to learn everything. Coaching found me. I was hooked. Fourteen years later, I'm still trying to learn everything I can about volleyball, teaching and effective communication.
Photo courtesy of Brian Wright
What is the best thing about being a coach? Being competitive every day. Not just on the court, I'm extremely competitive with myself. After every practice and every match, I'm constantly trying to ﬁgure out if I could have done anything better. Whether it's second guessing my decisions or studying practice video, everything is an opportunity to compete against myself and ﬁnd ways to improve.
What has been the biggest inﬂuence in your career? The opportunity to head coach a team in my ﬁrst club season and then start co-running my own camp program that ﬁrst summer really set the tone for allowing me to make decisions and thus learn from them. Being accountable for planning my own practices, camps and making my own lineup decisions allowed me to learn from these mini-successes and mini-failures on a daily basis. Miguel Saenz is a good friend of mine, and he and I started coaching club and running camps the same year. We would spend hours at a restaurant after every practice and bouncing ideas off each other. We really helped each other to think critically about every aspect of the game and training.
What or who has been most inspiring to you, either personally or professionally? Three people immediately come to mind. My wife, April, and I have been married for almost ﬁve years. During the past ﬁve years, I have coached almost every day of the year, which includes lots of travel. She challenges me to take the next step in my career and supports my growth as a coach. Without her support, I could not continue to pursue my passion for coaching. Barb Shelton was the club director that ﬁrst hired me. I can not begin to explain how inﬂuential she was in shaping my coaching philosophy and really making me a better person. Not only was she willing to pay for every coaching book, video and clinic that I wanted to read, watch or attend, she taught me how to truly care about others. Barb is the most caring, loving and honest-intentioned person I've ever met. Just being around her taught me how to connect with others. She inspired me to want to work hard to help others. She believes strongly that coaches can achieve great success through positive coaching. I also learned many invaluable lessons about running a club, including probably the most important, managing and communicating with parents. I will be forever grateful to her for helping coaching ﬁnd me by giving me my ﬁrst club coaching job, as well as my ﬁrst club director role, and most importantly for making me a better person. Five years ago, Jerritt Elliott allowed me to become the volunteer assistant for the University of Texas. Over the past ﬁve years, this opportunity has allowed me to critically think about and discuss the game at the highest level with some of the best volleyball people and minds in the country. More importantly, Jerritt is absolutely the best manager of people that I have ever met. His players and staff, including coaches, trainers, academic and support staff as well as managers all know his purpose and want to work their hardest to help him achieve it. He sees and identiﬁes talents in people very quickly, and allows people the autonomy to be great at what they're great at, while always knowing they're serving the greater purpose of the entire program and university. I am deﬁnitely a better manager, leader, coach and person because of my years working with Jerritt. 4
What is your coaching philosophy? I believe that coaching is about connecting with your players and helping them see their potential. Effective communication and helping the athletes understand that you are there for them is the best way for each athlete to strive to reach their potential. It is also important for the team to realize that everyone is fully invested in their own individual progress for each other. Group accountability is key to being connected and conﬁdent in crucial situations. Every team I've ever coached has taught me different things. I let my players know that as much as I expect them to learn and improve, I expect the same from myself.
How would your players describe you as a coach? Hopefully, they would describe me as honest, demanding, intelligent, a good teacher and passionate about improvement.
How would your players describe one of your practices? Physically and mentally engaging. Our club only practices twice a week, so it is a real challenge to create drills and situations that allow players to learn aspects of the game while also being held to a high standard of execution through each touch. Different parts of the season call for different blends of physical and mental challenges and also individual improvement versus team systems, but I expect myself to challenge every athlete every practice both physically and mentally.
Describe some of your most important career accomplishments. In terms of wins and losses, I've been very fortunate to be a part of many high level accomplishments. In 2012, I was on the sidelines for the University of Texas' NCAA Division I National Championship, and this was my fourth national semiﬁnals or better with Texas in the ﬁve years I've been the volunteer assistant. My club teams have won three national qualiﬁers and four Lone Star Regional championships, including most recently winning the 15 USA division of the 2013 Lone Star Classic. My teams have qualiﬁed 10 times for USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior Nationals in 14 years of club coaching, including coaching over 60 athletes in their ﬁrst season to qualify for USA Nationals. I was an assistant coach for one season of NCAA Division III Southwestern University, where we made the second round of the NCAA tournament. I also coached the University of Texas women's club teams for multiple years and won three NIRSA Division I National Championships.
What’s the best advice you could give to someone getting into coaching? Listen to great coaches talk. Listen to how they explain things. Try to understand why they do the things they do. Study the game. Go to coaching clinics. But most importantly, plan your own practices and make lineup decisions as early in your career as possible. You need to make your own mistakes to learn from them.
How do you deﬁne success? Success is fully maximizing every opportunity you have to improve. It's one of the only tangible controllable goals you have as a coach or an athlete. You control how you handle each day, each practice, each set, each match and each tournament. Did you improve or did you waste the opportunity?
What motivates you? Winning. Competing. Being great. Learning how to be greater. Sharing your knowledge and experience to help others achieve greatness so they can have those memories for the rest of their life is winning. Planning a practice that gets the most out of your athletes in the time possible is winning. Teaching life lessons and watching your players learn to make positive decisions for themselves is winning. Getting better every day is winning. 5
The Top Three Recruiting MUST DO s of Spring Courtesy VolleyballRecruits.net Here’s a reality check… the club volleyball season is nearly over! Hard to believe that Spring marks the halfway point of the exciting tournament / qualiﬁer season. Are coaches banging down your door? College coaches, regardless of size or division, are actively evaluating their list of PSAs (Prospective Student Athletes). To ensure you are on that list of PSAs, we suggest you take care of the following MUST DO’s: Build a Highlight Video What is a highlight video? It is a compilation of your best plays pulled together into one 3-5 minute video. Basically, your ESPN highlights of you being awesome. It gives you the opportunity to showcase your potential to college coaches in a condensed version. Most coaches will spend 60-90 SECONDS watching a video before they either: Add you to their “To See” list at tournaments, or Delete your email and move on to another recruit IF they have identiﬁed you as a potential recruit for their program, they will: Make plans to see you play in person at an upcoming recruiting tournament Request additional un-edited footage For our 3,000+ VolleyballRecruits.net members, the highlight video is BY FAR the most viewed video on a player’s proﬁle. Think about it this way; college coaches are extremely busy and have hundreds of players funneling through their email and mail weekly, college coaches need to be able to “separate the best from the rest” as efﬁciently as possible. VolleyballRecruits.net offers help in the video department! If you are not tech savvy, we can build you a professional highlight reel using isolation effects! Check out our reels! Identify Your Target List Before you can be recruited, you need to think about whom you want to be recruited by. Once you have developed a list of target schools (25-50 programs), reach out to each program and provide them access to your information and video. VolleyballRecruits.net members use our School Search feature to develop their target list, which allows them to search and sort EVERY program in the country. Invite Coaches to See You Play! Now that you have a highlight reel, online proﬁle, and a target list of schools, time to get it all out there! If you like a school you need to tell them you are interested and send them all your information so they can properly evaluate you. Telling Oregon or Texas that you love them but giving them no video or grades is the same as applying for a job with no resume…doesn’t work! You need to give a coach a reason to come see you play, be bold and initiate contact! VolleyballRecruits.net members use our Built-In-Messaging system to directly contact their target list of schools. With EVERY program in the country as a registered user, members have their proﬁle and video front and center for a college coach to review. Watch our incredible system in action! ALL HP members can sign up today and get a $50 discount on any of VolleyballRecruits.net packages by using the promo code: “HP2013”. 6
USA Volleyball CAP, High Performance Team Up on Education The USA Volleyball Coaching Accreditation Program (CAP) has teamed up with USAV High Performance (HP) to focus efforts on coaching education and certiﬁcation, bridging the gap for coaches involved in CAP and HP Programs. As of Jan. 1, 2013, coaches who have been through a CAP certiﬁcation program may earn modules credits towards recertiﬁcation by participating in numerous USAV HP activities. See chart for speciﬁc details on credits offered. CAP Levels I – IV have a certiﬁcation period of four years. The certiﬁcation expires after four years on the certiﬁcation anniversary date. Throughout each four-year time period (quad), CAP certiﬁed coaches are required to either recertify in order to stay current in their particular level, or to attend and certify at the next highest level for another quad. “The Education Department is happy to partner with the High Performance department in this endeavor,” said Diana Cole, USA Volleyball’s director of coaching education programs. “We feel this will both reward current USAV High Performance coaches who are already CAP certiﬁed, and also encourage non-certiﬁed coaches to attend a CAP course, get certiﬁed and then maintain that certiﬁcation via their participation in National HP programming. Once an HP coach becomes CAP certiﬁed it should now be easier than ever to remain current within that certiﬁcation level. The High Performance department will also be able to then choose from a bigger pool of currently certiﬁed coaches to assign to staff positions within their programming.”
Photo copyright of USAV
“This collaborative initiative between CAP and HP offers a great opportunity to ensure consistent performance and advancement among USAV coaching populations and to offer National Team principles throughout our coaching education program," said Collin Powers, USA Volleyball director of indoor high performance. "We hope to align program goals, ensure minimum standards and expand the ceiling of what we teach young athletes." This new opportunity for coaches to pursue CAP recertiﬁcation credits through participating in HP programming is advantageous for many reasons: -The program enables HP coaches who are currently CAP certiﬁed to gain even more knowledge of the sport and further their education in skills, drills, team and event management, and more. -Merging the coaching philosophies and experience of our CAP Cadre of instructors with the USAV HP National pipeline coaches will add value to the CAP training programs and will promote one national coaching education vision for USAV. Photo copyright of USAV
-The wide range of methods available to re-certifying CAP coaches via the USAV HP programs will not only enhance the knowledge of the game and the experiences of USAV HP National pipeline athletes, but will also do so for scholastic and club athletes across the nation who will beneﬁt from USAV CAP certiﬁed and HP experienced coaches. Con nued on pg. 9 7
Name: Ryan Perrotte
Assistant Coach, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) USAV HP Programs Coached: A3 Camp - Vernon Hills, Ill. (July 10-14, 2012) IMPACT certiﬁed? Yes CAP certiﬁcation level: N/A PERSONAL What led you to become a coach? Pure luck. I was ﬁnishing up my academic career at IPFW (Master’s Degree), and the assistant coach at the time was preparing to leave and embark on another coaching opportunity. Head Coach Arnie Ball asked if I would be interested in replacing the assistant and joining his staff. I said yes. What is the best thing about being a coach?
Photo courtesy OF Ryan Perro e and IPFW
It’s hard to say what is best. I feel that there are several – the competition, the camaraderie with other coaches and people in the coaching & volleyball industry, working with players, representing IPFW and the IPFW men’s volleyball program, among others. What has been the biggest inﬂuence in your career? Again, not just one inﬂuence – I started playing the sport because of my older brother, David. So, he’s the reason why I ever got involved in the game to begin with. I was coached by unbelievable people growing up that laid the foundation for the coach I am and the player I became and still am. (Rob Lynch, Brian Hogan, Chris Lawson, & Arnie Ball). I idolized Sinjin Smith and Karch Kiraly, and watched them every chance I could growing up. I have had the opportunity to interact with some of the greatest people in the sport – Arnie Ball, Lloy Ball, Hugh McCutcheon, Todd Rogers, Sean Rosenthal, Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Chris Marlowe, John Dunning, Mark Pavlik – and many, many others. Each person that I have been lucky enough to come in contact with regarding the sport of volleyball has inﬂuenced my career, in some fashion, as a player, as a coach and as a person. PROFESSIONAL What is your coaching philosophy? I have always followed what Coach Ball has preached, which is what I deem to be true and have adopted, and that is to provide an environment and opportunity for student-athletes to be the very best they can be at being a student and an athlete. It is, therefore, their responsibility to take advantage of the opportunity and environment to be the best that they can be. What are your personal career goals? I am constantly reassessing my career goals, whether professional or personal. Right now, my professional goals are to try and help bring a national championship to IPFW, and continue to develop as a coach under the tutelage of my mentor, Coach Arnie Ball, and through various coaching opportunities with USA Volleyball. My other career goal is to play competitive volleyball until I am 40 – which is a very lofty goal considering that I have the two worse knees on planet earth (having already severed the patella tendon in my left a few years ago). Which is the hardest thing you ever had to do as a coach? The death of a team manager, who was my dear friend.
Continued on pg. 9
Perotte, Continued from pg. 8
USAV HP,CAP continued from Pg. 7
What are you most proud of as a coach? I am most proud of the professionalism and the quality of work, I believe, I have displayed daily as a representative of IPFW Men’s Volleyball for the last 11 years.
In addition, USAV High Performance Coaches will be able to collect CAP re-certiﬁcation module credits for such experiences as serving as National HP Tryout, Camp and Clinic staff as well as for being appointed and serving as assistant or head coaches of USAV National Youth, Junior (indoor, beach or sitting) teams. Also included are credits granted for serving as USAV Senior A2 team coaching staff, as well as for coaching staffs for RVA and National teams participating in the annual USA Volleyball High Performance Championships.
What are some important lessons learned? Being able to work under Coach Ball for the last 11 years, I have learned that it is not just solely about the x’s and the o’s – but it’s about so much more. It is about servanthood, sacriﬁce, accountability, interpersonal relationships, mentoring, and teaching. Describe some of your most important career accomplishments. Obtaining a master’s degree, winning the MIVA Conference Championship and playing in the NCAA Men’s National Collegiate Championship in 1999, coaching in back-to-back ﬁnal four appearances (2006 and 2007), being selected an All-America Selection at the 2006 USA Volleyball Open National Championships in New Orleans. Documented for the sixth consecutive year (but in actuality, it is much longer than that), having 100% our program’s players graduate with a degree from IPFW.
Number of credits awarded for such experiences will vary (see grid) as will the number of times each may be earned within a single quad. In addition the list of other non-HP acceptable methods of earning CAP re-certiﬁcation credits has been expanded to include such experiences as submission of video drills or teaching/coaching tips, hosting a CAP or BCAP course, Volunteering at a CAP or BCAP course, volunteering at the USAV National Ofﬁce or with a USAV CAP Cadre member’s volleyball program. For the full list, please see the attached document.
Please address any questions to the USAV Education Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What book is a must-read for all coaches? Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy and Wooden by John Wooden. For players? I would suggest player autobiographies like Sandman by Karch Kiraly, Open by Andre Agassi, or Your Greatest Power by J. Martin Kohe, just to name a few.
Collaboration will provide more opportunities and encourage more coaches to become involved in USAV programs and work with USAV athletes, at a lower individual re-certiﬁcation cost per coach. “The HP and CAP programs are the standard bearers for expected USA Volleyball coaching excellence, said Bill Neville, USA Volleyball’s national commissioner for coaching education. “Melding the quality training and application of coaching in USAV programs is absolutely the right thing to do. Our coaches are our sales force; a great volleyball experience is our product.”
What’s the best advice you could give to someone getting into coaching? Coaching is so much more than the x’s and the o’s. It is about servanthood, sacriﬁce, accountability, interpersonal relationships, mentoring and teaching. Do it for the love of the sport and know that you will have a direct impact on your players’ lives. How do you deﬁne success? I have always deﬁned success by the words of Booker T. Washington – “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”
One beneﬁt, offered for the ﬁrst time at the USA Volleyball High Performance Coaches’ Clinic held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs Feb 7-9, includes free CAP re-certiﬁcation modules credits for currently certiﬁed CAP I, II, III or IV coaches. CAP I coaches received two free credits for attending the HP Coaches Clinic, while CAP II coaches received three, CAP III coaches received four and CAP IV coaches received six. In each certiﬁcation level, this leaves just two module credits to be collected from alternate avenues in order to provide a full re-certiﬁcation.
Boys Player Spotlight: Karl Apfelbach 1. Hometown, club and high school: I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wis., and currently play volleyball for Shorewood High School (Shorewood, Wis.) and North Shore Milwaukee Volleyball Club.
2. Position: My preferred position is Opposite; I’ve also played outside hitter in high school and middle blocker in club.
3. Height, block touch and jump touch: I’m 6-8 and left-handed.
4. Favorite Warm-Up Song: My favorite warm-up songs are Sail by Awolnation or Radioactive by Imagine Dragons.
5. Scorekeeping or Line Judging? Why? I enjoy line judging because it’s more entertaining, and because you can usually switch with a teammate between games.
Photo courtesy of Apfelbach family
6. "Gotta Have" snack between matches at a tourney: Avalanche protein bar, grapes, clementine or dried fruit snacks, goldﬁsh crackers, red vine licorice, or a roast beef sandwich. And lots of water!
7. If you could meet any current or past Olympian, who would it be and why? I’ve met some great Olympians: Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers, beach volleyball, and Steve Holcomb, bobsled, and my mom & uncle went to high school with bobsled Olympian Brian Shimer. I’ve watched Shani Davis, Chad Hedrick and Kip Carpenter speed skate in town. I’d like to meet any Olympian because being an Olympic athlete takes a tremendous amount of skill and dedication to a sport, and I’d like to know their secrets to success.
8. Other sports/activities/hobbies: I enjoy baseball (playing & watching), comedy, ﬁshing, boating/water sports, playing video games, listening to music, eating and following sports. In the summer, I work as an umpire for Shorewood Little League and run my own lawn care service; in the winter, I have snow-shoveling jobs. I also play a little piano, trumpet and guitar.
9. When did you start playing volleyball? I’m pretty new to volleyball, as I started playing in eighth grade for my school’s team. Baseball was my main sport at that time. My ﬁrst club experience was in ninth grade and because my teammates were so awesome, it made for a very positive ﬁrst experience at that level. But the moment I stepped foot into Anaheim’s American Sports Center for the SCVA Junior Boys Classic and the Minneapolis Convention Center for USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior Nationals my freshman year, I knew volleyball was the sport for me.
10. Are you from a "volleyball family"? Do any of your family members play collegiate or professional sports? No, neither of my parents were collegiate athletes, but we all enjoy sports and recreation together. My younger sister (13) plays a variety of sports, but volleyball is her favorite.
11. Who was the most inﬂuential person in helping you to develop as a volleyball player? The most inﬂuential people to help me develop as a volleyball player are Kevin Gemignani, Shorewood High School Volleyball coach, and my two coaches from North Shore Volleyball Club, Jim Plaisted and Jake Nowak. All have inﬂuenced my development as a person of character ﬁrst, and as a competitive athlete second. I have great respect and admiration for all of them, and consider myself very lucky to have them in my life. Being coached by Chris Harger at USAV High Performance Camp & Championships last year was also very memorable. 10
12. What part of your background best prepared you for playing at an elite level? Listening to my coaches and practicing with my teammates has developed me into the player I am today. My teammates’ competitive nature helps drive mine, and their athleticism challenges mine. Reviewing video and receiving feedback from my coaches has been really important. Supplementing practices with personal training and yoga has helped improve/increase my strength, agility and ﬂexibility.
13. What is the happiest moment in your volleyball career? It’s hard to pick just one moment! The most recent moment was the night I learned I was invited to be a part of the Youth National Training Team. Other happy moments include earning bids to USAV Junior Nationals with my club for the past three years; winning the Badger Region Championships with my club team for the past three years; winning the Woodland Conference championship with my high school team for the past two years; and being chosen to be a part of the NSMVC family.
14. Describe some improvements you want to make in the coming year in the physical or mental side of your game. Some improvements I want to make in the coming year are increasing my physical strength and endurance because this is a big factor in helping to become the best volleyball player possible. I also would like to improve my offense and work to obtain a consistent serve and arm swing.
15. Do you want to play volleyball collegiately and/or professionally? Do you strive to represent the USA one day as an Olympian? Yes, I would like to play volleyball collegiately and professionally. It would be a dream come true to be a member of Team USA at a future Olympics.
All photos courtesy of Apflebach family. 11
Speraw, continued from page 1. The U.S. Men’s National Team moved to Anaheim in 2006 and it is now the Ofﬁcial Host City for both the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Volleyball Teams. In 2008, Speraw traveled with McCutcheon and the U.S. Men to the Olympic Games in Beijing where they won the gold medal. After 2008, he worked with the U.S. Men as needed, including a stint as the head coach of a young team that ﬁnished ﬁfth at the 2011 Pan American Games. In 2012, Speraw returned as the assistant coach for the FIVB World League and ﬁlled in as head coach for the 2012 World League team for four overseas pool play matches while then head coach Alan Knipe was dealing with a family emergency. The U.S. Men went on to win the silver medal in the FIVB World League Final Round. Speraw assisted Knipe at the 2012 Olympic Games in London where the U.S. Men placed ﬁfth after winning its preliminary pool with a 4-1 record. The U.S. Men go into 2013 ranked ﬁfth in the world by the FIVB. Clay Stanley, who played at opposite on the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Olympic teams and has served as the U.S. Men’s team captain since 2011, was happy with the choice. “I am surprised and pleased that John Speraw will be the new U.S. Men’s head coach,” Stanley said, “He is obviously a great choice for the job, having served as an assistant coach for two Olympics. I know the players will be excited to work with him and his staff.” Speraw served as head coach of the U.S. Men’s Junior National Volleyball Team that won the silver medal at the NORCECA Men’s Junior (U-21) Continental Volleyball Championship in 2004 and the team that placed sixth at the 2005 FIVB Junior World Championship. He served as an assistant for the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team (1998 and 2001), the World University Games Team (1997 and 1999) and the Pan American Games Team (1999, 2007). Speraw said one of his ﬁrst priorities will be choosing a staff to help guide the U.S. Men’s Team over the next four years. He will also need to choose rosters for the 2013 FIVB World League and the 2013 Pan American Cup within his ﬁrst few weeks on the job. “Hiring a great staff is going to be key to making this endeavor successful,” Speraw said. “After that, our immediate goals will be World League and the Pan American Cup.” Speraw knows he had some big decisions to make in 2013. “I do need to have some conversations with some of the players about what their plans are for the next for years,” he said. “This is the time when everyone’s making some decisions. Potentially, it’s about turnover and who the young guys are and how much experience we can get them early. 12
I think we’re going to have to get some new blood in here and take a look at some new young players and take a look at what they can do, particularly early in the quad and in World League. I told Doug I think the coach needs to be empowered to take some risk even if it means there are some early failures because I think that’s going to help out things in the long run. And that’s a hard thing to do.” At the time of the announcement, Speraw's record at UCLA was 15-9 and his overall collegiate head coaching record was 214115 including 10 previous seasons as the head coach at UC Irvine. “We are in a good place,” Speraw said of UCLA. “We have been playing better volleyball as of late. As we evaluated this whole dual role, certainly my ability to stay focused on the collegiate program down the stretch is something we discussed pretty extensively and that’s what we’re going to do.” Al Scates, who coached the UCLA men’s volleyball team for 50 seasons, has worked with Speraw when Speraw was a player for the Bruins and an assistant coach. “John has assisted with our last two Olympic Teams and I know he is a great hire for USA Volleyball,” Scates said. “I commend Doug Beal for having the foresight to wait until John became available and Dan Guerrero for allowing John to take the position.” As UC Irvine's men’s volleyball coach, Speraw transformed the program into a national power. Under his direction, the Anteaters won three NCAA Men’s National Collegiate Volleyball Championship titles in the last six years and advanced to the NCAA Championship four times, won two Mountain Paciﬁc Sports Federation (MPSF) regular season titles and a pair of MPSF Tournament championships. In 2008, Speraw received a Pillar Award, which showcases outstanding achievement in ethical leadership at the12th Annual Ethics in America Awards. In 2011, he was given the U.S. Olympic Achievement Award, an honor that recognizes the colleges and universities whose coaches and student-athletes have won Olympic medals in the past two Olympic Games. Prior to UCI, Speraw served in various roles with the UCLA men’s volleyball program for 12 years. He played middle blocker for the Bruins from 1992-95 and was a member of two national championship teams. He was named to the NCAA All-Tournament team in 1995 when he had 11 kills and eight blocks in the championship victory over Penn State. Speraw became a volunteer assistant coach with the Bruins before assuming a full-time assistant’s position in 1998. He graduated from UCLA in 1995 with a bachelor of science degree in microbiology and molecular genetics. Speraw is the co-author of the book “Exercise for Your Muscle Type: The Smart Way to Get Fit.” Other quotes on the hiring of John Speraw to be the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team head coach. Reid Priddy, outside hitter and three-time Olympian on the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team: “John has experience in the international game, has relationships with the current national team players and has direct exposure to the next generation of players, which are a few of the many reasons that make John a good ﬁt to take charge of the national team.” Mark Pavlik, head coach of the Penn State men’s volleyball team: “John Speraw is one of the brightest young coaches in the men’s game today. His history of success with his teams and his great passion for the game at all levels along with his past afﬁliation with the USA Men will no doubt serve him and the program well. He will continue to build on the foundation of success which the USA Men enjoy. I look forward to watching our national team with John as the head coach!”
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