Jan. 15, 2014
University of Michigan assistant volleyball coach Erin Virtue was busy during the holidays, coaching at the USA Volleyball High Performance Girls' Holiday Camp in Colorado Springs, Colo. Forty-eight of the top players in the Select age group were chosen for this camp, offering the opportunity for the top players in the country to train in the USA system. Virtue talks about her introduction to USA Volleyball, the level of play at the Holiday Camp and what's in the future for her at the national level.
Q: When did you first start the relationship with USA Volleyball as both a player and a coach?
A: I can remember, very clearly, the first time I put on a USA jersey as a player ... it was May 2004 and I had made the USA Collegiate National Team (formerly known as the USA Senior A2 Team). I was selected as a captain by my coaches John Cook, Lee Maes and Paula Weishoff. It was such a proud moment for me to represent USA and one that I won't soon forget. My coaching career with USA Volleyball began in 2007, after both my collegiate and professional/USA career had ended.
Q: When did USA Volleyball approach you to coach the USA Girls' Select Holiday Camp?
A: USA Volleyball first approached me about four months prior to the camp, during our 2013 season. I was honored to be selected at the Lead Coach for the camp, and was lucky to have such a rockstar staff to work with throughout the five days in Colorado Springs.
Q: How tough was it to get ready for the camp while still having your coaching duties at Michigan?
A: It wasn't easy -- that's for sure. The timing of the Holiday Camp is tough, but I thought that it all went smoothly -- and in the end, the camp ran great! The eight coaches that were on staff with me were fantastic and really helped carry a big load once we all met up at the Olympic Training Center.
Q: How would you describe the level of play at the camp?
A: The level of play at camp was excellent. The Select group was comprised of the top 48 athletes in their age group from all around the USA. In the next couple of years, this group will be competing for spots on our Youth National Team.
Q: Were you in a camp like this when you were younger?
A: Unfortunately, this type of developmental camp didn't exist when I was younger. The USA High Performance Team has done a great job of opening up opportunities for young athletes to develop and compete with the best of the best in their age group ... this has shown to be an extremely positive experience for the athletes to go through the pipeline from a young age of 13 or 14 all the way until they are hopefully competing in the Olympic Games for the USA.
Q: What is next for the campers and yourself in USA Volleyball?
A: The athletes that I worked with, and all USA High Performance hopefuls, will tryout for a 2014 summer program. Tryouts are held all over the country for the next few months. The athletes will be placed teams from the Junior National Team all the way down to the Select National Team based on their birth year. As for me ... there are a few things brewing, but I can't announce that quite yet ... I am really looking forward to the opportunity to represent the USA as a coach once again this summer.
Contact: Kent Reichert (firstname.lastname@example.org)