Cougar Volleyball Ready To Roll!


Diego Monge Gonzalez, Contributor

When Coach Hand was in his 2nd year as a PE teacher at FDR, the AP of Physical Education asked him to fill in temporarily, as the school’s Volleyball coach. Coach Hand agreed to take on the challenge. However, he had to learn about the sport, so he would be able to coach it. As he started to learn about the sport and started coaching the team, he ended up falling in love with the sport by accident. Fast forward 18 years, and he is still coaching the team to this day!

When I asked Coach Hand what a typical day at practice looks like, he said it’s just like any other sport. First, the team warms up and then they stretch. The team gets into a serve and serve receiving drill. Next, the team goes into individual work to hone their individual skills at their positions. Finally, the team gets together and they work on what they just practiced individually- but now in a game setting.

I asked Coach Hand for a quick lesson about the sport, as my back ground is in football. To my surprise, there are actual positions! He stated there can only be 6 people on the court at a time. This means that there are 6 possible positions in volleyball. The 6 positions on the court are outside hitter, middle hitter, offside hitter, left back, middle back, and right back. There is also a special additional position, which is a free sub for one of the positions in the back row (left back, middle back, right back ). This position is called a libero. Coach Hand, explained the most important characteristic needed to succeed in volleyball, is commitment. He remarked that if a team is not going to practice while their Coach is not with them, they are not going to be any good. The team has to be willing to come together and put in that extra work on their own in the off season. The only way to become successful is if the guys get better by any means necessary.

Every team needs to be able to handle adversity if they want to be triumphant in any sort of way. When I asked how the team handles adversity, Coach Hand disclosed that the team firmly understands games won’t always go the way they want them to. However, if they stick it through, and trust the process, the Cougars can keep the train moving forward.

On the subject of strengths and weaknesses, heading into the 2023 season, Coach Hand stated that the team’s weakness is experience. The team is full of new members and only has 2 seniors. But, the team’s strength resides in their skills. Each individual member of the team has a certain skill set that combined with the others creates a unit of incredible ability. Whatever the team lacks in experience, they make up for it with how well they play the game, regardless of how long they have been playing. They are what you would call “naturals.” They are truly gifted individuals when it comes to performing on the court.

Lastly, I would like to shout out the two seniors on the team who also happen to be the team’s Captains- Haoyu Ding and Ivan Ostrenko! Good luck this year Cougars! And thank you Coach Hand for sticking with the Volleyball program!