Jennifer Jacobs: Coaching is a Lifestyle - It's Not an 8 to 5 Job | CROSSNET

Jennifer Jacobs: Coaching is a Lifestyle - It's Not an 8 to 5 Job


I have been coaching club volleyball since 2001 when I was also still in college, so 19 years total.  I’ve been coaching college for 8 years. Currently college, NCAA DII.  But I have coached 16s-18s at the club level, and high school as well. Our current squad is anywhere from 13 to 17 players.


I think as the volleyball athlete has gotten stronger, taller, faster - the game has answered in the same way. Likewise, we've seen rules changes to make the sport be more appealing to TV and other audiences such as rally scoring and adding the libero position.

Even fundamental more recent changes such as static blocking to swing blocking, and the evolution in setter training. As a coach, one has to be nimble and willing to embrace those ever-evolving changes.

On that same token, I believe as each generation grows up and is raised a little differently, coaches have to be willing to "coach" each generation differently, according to their needs.

Gone are the days I grew up - the "Bobby Knight-esque" era days where a coach yelling was normal. I don't think I've ever yelled at an athlete in my coaching career once. Not to mention the ever-evolving mental health landscape coaches are often navigating. I think overall I've seen an increase in caring for the entire person - VB becomes a minuscule part of my job compared to 10 or 20 years ago.

I think it's important for people to know and understand that

1). Coaching is a lifestyle - it's not an 8 to 5 job.

2). There is SO MUCH more that goes into the job, particularly in the college realm that many people don't know.

The work it takes to recruit, the time that goes into creating a culture of success, the tireless behind the scenes work that occurs.  Most fans usually ask me "Oh so you just coach? What do you do in the summers then?"  - and collegiate sports is so much more than just working in season. One doesn't just show up to a game and coach it, then go home.


Everything we are doing is virtual right now.  It's been tough, but we do what we can.  The team is doing their own workouts from home, we have weekly virtual check in meetings, our Spring season was cancelled so it's been a definite adjustment that's for sure.



My athletes are currently doing their workouts at home but it is not the same as it would be on campus. Even just the shear hours of time devoted to training has dropped because they can't play. When we all return whenever that shall be interesting! I told my athletes to do the best they can, stay in shape, stay strong and we will where we are at when everyone returns.


My biggest challenge would actually be managing all the lives behind the scenes.  What other job does one have to get 15-20 people on the same page (and ultimately cannot control on the court during the time) to perform at a peak for each match night in and night out to make a playoff and win a national championship? Oh and our jobs are dependent upon us winning? Coaching collegiate athletics - there's nothing like it!



I think it's REALLY important to have administrators who either have sat in the head coaches' chair, or who really truly try to understand the job if they haven't. The trend we've seen in athletic administration is that AD's are all business people now. Which I understand as athletics is big-business in many cases.  But most have become so far removed from what the actual job of coaching is, and it's left a huge gap in understanding and has even driven a wedge in some ways.

My dream solution would be for every administrator to have coaching experience at some point in their lives. 

Jennifer Jacobs

Follow her on Twitter - @mzjenjacobs

Follow @AugieVolleyball


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