Tuesday, 28 May 2024

For Paralympian Erickson, Coaching 11s is a Labor of Love

The journey of coaching young athletes can be both challenging and rewarding, especially when the players are just beginning to discover the sport. This is the case for Heather Erickson, a gold medalist with the U.S. Women’s National Sitting Team, who coaches the Oklahoma Peak 11-1 team at the USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships.

Erickson’s team consists of girls who are relatively new to volleyball, with only a few having prior experience. As their coach, Erickson focuses on teaching them the fundamentals of the game, perseverance, and maintaining a competitive spirit. She guides them on how to navigate the challenges and frustrations that come with learning a new sport.

Erickson, a three-time Paralympian and the 2018 USA Volleyball Female Sitting Player of the Year, has been coaching with Peak for seven years. While she continues to compete at the highest level on the sitting team, she finds joy in witnessing the progression and growth of young athletes. The opportunity to be a part of their journey from the grassroots level up to the national stage is a privilege she cherishes.

Peak’s participation in the national event is not solely focused on winning matches. It serves as an invaluable experience for the team, providing exposure and an opportunity to play more volleyball. Erickson believes that being in game situations and gaining more game touches accelerates their learning and development.

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Ava Wilson, a member of the team, values the positive and supportive coaching style of Erickson. Wilson appreciates the guidance she receives, especially in improving her serve. Erickson emphasizes the importance of consistency and proper technique, even at a young age.

As part of their volleyball education, Erickson has introduced her team to sitting volleyball. They have not only watched the national team play but also served as ball girls during a match. The girls thoroughly enjoyed the experience, noting the speed and technicality of the game.

For Erickson, coaching will always hold a special place in her life. She finds fulfillment in witnessing the growth and progress of her 11s team. From struggling to serve and hit the ball to winning matches at the national level, the journey has been immensely rewarding. Volleyball has been a significant part of her life, and she intends to continue being involved in the sport for many years to come.

FAQs

Q1: How long has Heather Erickson been coaching the Oklahoma Peak 11-1 team?

A1: Heather Erickson has been coaching the Oklahoma Peak 11-1 team for seven years.

Q2: What does Heather Erickson focus on teaching her players?

A2: Heather Erickson focuses on teaching her players the fundamentals of the game, perseverance, and maintaining a competitive spirit.

Q3: What other accomplishments has Heather Erickson achieved in volleyball?

A3: Heather Erickson is a three-time Paralympian and was named the 2018 USA Volleyball Female Sitting Player of the Year.

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Q4: What is the significance of Peak’s participation in the national event?

A4: Peak’s participation in the national event provides invaluable experience, exposure, and an opportunity for the team to play more volleyball.

Q5: What additional volleyball experience has Erickson introduced to her team?

A5: Erickson has introduced her team to sitting volleyball, allowing them to observe and participate in the fast-paced and technical game.

Summary

Heather Erickson, a Paralympian and gold medalist, finds immense joy in coaching the Oklahoma Peak 11-1 team. Her players, many of whom are new to volleyball, receive guidance on the fundamentals of the game and learn valuable life skills in the process. While Erickson continues to compete at the highest level herself, she takes pride in witnessing the growth and progression of her young athletes. Peak’s participation in the national event provides the team with invaluable experience and exposure. Erickson’s dedication to coaching and her love for the sport ensure that she will continue to be actively involved in volleyball.