Introducing the new head volleyball coach

Intends to grow the program

The+girls%27+volleyball+team+high+fives+the+fan+section+after+a+victory+against+Moorhead+Nov.+8%2C+2019.

Marta Hill

The girls’ volleyball team high fives the fan section after a victory against Moorhead Nov. 8, 2019.

Colin Canaday

After an unprecedented victory in sections last year, Park’s volleyball program is welcoming in head coach, Emily Minnick.

Having experience not only in playing volleyball, but also teaching and coaching it, Minnick says she has garnered a lot of experience in the realm of volleyball over the years.

“I went on from high school to play at NDSU, North Dakota State University, so the experience I got there was obviously the college-level experience,” Minnick said. “Not only that, but we would run camps throughout the summer…  Apart from that, I coached club volleyball in college, as well.”

Moreover, according to Minnick, having previously worked as an assistant varsity coach at Park has helped to build relationships with the players, which will help her coaching in this season.

“Just building that rapport in the past few seasons has definitely helped establish a level of respect throughout the girls; they trust what I say, and they have confidence in my ability to coach them, and that just makes it (so) much easier as the head coach to already have the players respect,” Minnick said.

She is the perfect head coach to run an entire program, not just varsity”

— Hannah Howell

Senior captain Hannah Howell said she also believes that prior experience with Minnick will help with the season. However, more than that, she said, Minnick brings with her new ideas and possibilities.

“We knew (Minnick) before, but she comes with fresh ideas and a completely different background than (our previous coach),” Howell said. “It’ll be a reset button, especially for growing our program. She is the perfect head coach to run an entire program, not just varsity.”

Among those fresh ideas, Minnick said she has a specific focus on individualized coaching and training.

“The ability to understand from their perspective that each player should be coached differently (is important), and then having that emotional intelligence to change your approach per player to get them to respond accordingly,” Minnick said. “Some players prefer a tough love scenario, while some prefer more positive reinforcement. Being able to differentiate that and know which plays respond to which types of coaching.”

Focusing on the season ahead of her, although they lost a few players, Howell said she is still intent on doing well.

“We lost a couple of key players, but I’m still pretty excited. Our section is still very much up for grab, if we get to have a postseason, that is,” Howell said. “We can do even better than last year.”

According to Minnick, she is going to work on forming connections between important sections of her team.

“Focusing on the connection between the setters and the hitters is a big focus for us just because we have been building that over the past few seasons,” Minnick said.

According to Howell, having done so well in her previous season has brought both positives and negatives, going into this season.

“For me personally, (winning sections last year) has added more pressure this year because I want my senior year to be my best year yet,” Howell said. “But, I could also see how (winning last year) could alleviate some stress because we’re an established program, and now people know who we are and they respect us in that way”

The first volleyball game of this season is at 12 p.m. Oct. 10 at Benilde-St. Margaret’s Activity Center against Benilde-St. Margaret.