What I Meant to Say

What Makes a Great Coach with Ashley Clark

Episode Summary

In this episode, I talk with Ashley Clark. My athletes were blessed to have Ashley as a coach at young ages shortly after we moved to the South Bay and have used many of the leadership and technical skills that she taught them in their own collegiate careers. Ashley brings the life lessons she has learned to the volleyball court and helps players become not just better athletes but better people - and that is exactly why she is on the podcast today, but also an integral part of growing the BE BETTER mission.

Episode Notes

Key Points, Top Takeaways, and Memorable Quotes 

“I do have a strong belief that it stems from how I grew up, experiences I had in and out of sports, as well as when I went through college and started to identify mentors that I recognized good in.” 2:35

“As soon as I started going to public school, I immediately had a knack for tutoring friends, peers, in math specifically.” 8:00

“Ever since that, I knew that I was helping people, tutoring people, teaching people on different levels.” 8:29

“But I was also very aware that I was new and that I was learning, so I just put 110% into what I could control, serve, and do whatever coach says in practice and work my butt off.” 12:09

“If you’re asking someone to do something out of their comfort zone, or something that is fear-based, then you have to give them some room to feel freedom to make those errors in a safe environment.” 15:13

“That’s where you have to give them some autonomy, I feel, and responsibility of teaching them how to be respectful in questioning, how to seek for understanding; this is stuff I talk about with my leaders with problem-solving and conflict resolution too.  You approach it to understand the other side more or the other person more, and then how can we come together to move forward as a team.” 17:29

“I think that’s something as parents we often miss, to know that that coach is showing up with a game plan and the coach really wants to win.” - Wendy @ 19:07

“I also had a reset in how I approached people. I learned through that that you have to be a little more of a chameleon with people that you lead, teammates, coworkers, as coaches, your athletes.  You have to start to pay attention to how people respond, how they speak, how they interact with others.” 25:10

“If you have an idea of how people are going to respond to you, you can treat people with a little more softness, firmness, and I didn’t know that before. 25:54

“Leadership is not a one size fits all proposition.” - Wendy @ 26:04

“I was the glue for that team because of how I learned to lead and the way I trained other leaders.”  27:56

“Part of sports is teaching you how to build through and push through that struggle because the only time we get into flow is after we've pushed through the struggle that comes before.” -Wendy @ 32:20

“Without interaction, you don’t learn that psychology and how to work with others, so although they’re all there sitting in a circle individually on their phones, they are all somewhere else.” 36:07

“I feel like we really do have a lack of leadership across the board in our society, and leadership doesn’t have to be a one size fits all, but you find the strengths in your kids, your athletes, your own kids, your co-workers, and you try to invest in that because it builds confidence, it builds a sense of value and like you’re adding to things.” 37:15

“This is a safe place; that stuff matters, but it doesn’t matter right now at this moment.” 41:51

“A part of that safe environment is allowing them room to be who they are, in the weak moments, in the strong moments, as a leader, you have to know where to meet people.” 43:51

“The biggest thing leaders can show you what you need to do without them even knowing, show them what they need or what they want without them realizing.” 51:45

“Would you rather be the worst player on a national championship team or the best player on a bad team?” 56:20

“I look at it, and I want to be the worst player on the best team because I know if I work hard and I pay attention, that I’m going to be able to get on that starting court. I don’t look at it and think I’m never going to play.” 56:41

“Is it really a better fit, or are you just running from the challenge?” 57:29

“This is what’s going to level you up, and then also, this is going to help your team level up.  They always have something they are thinking about in response to them as an individual and their role on the team.” 1:01:51

“That’s how you build trust, being honest and following through.” 1:13:47

“If you can be self-aware and you can have the strength and the vulnerability to look in the mirror and do reflection, to me coaches should always be learning.  If you’re not learning as a coach, you should just stop coaching.” 1:15:29


Guest Bio - Ashley is a Southern California native and is the oldest of five siblings in her family.  She is a natural leader who leads by creating a safe environment through communication, honesty, compassion, and inclusion.  She played NCAA Division II indoor volleyball at Cal State Dominguez Hills, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies, including a concentration in Mathematics.  Later, she obtained a Master’s Degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia University Irvine.  Ashley loves the sport of volleyball, but she loves teaching and coaching the life lessons through the sport of volleyball.


Show Notes

0:00 - What I Meant to Say Podcast Intro

0:18 - Introducing Ashley

2:10 - Life Story Directly Influences the Way I Coach

3:15 - Wendy’s Number Two

4:05 - Early Life 

4:15 - Oldest of 5 Kids

5:08 - Homeschooling Led to Work Ethic and High Expectations

6:20 - Involvement in Church

6:56 - Where Did You Grow Up?

8:00 - Tutoring Friends From the start

8:50 - All the Sports

9:10 - Introduction to Volleyball

12:22 - Being Coachable…Or not?

15:36 - Creating safety in the coach/athlete relationship

16:59 - Communication Cultivates Leadership

18:10 - Behind the Scenes of Coaching

19:24 - Showing Care to Different Kinds of Athletes 

20:03 - Walk-On Story

21:41 - Learning How to Lead: Captain Story

26:30 - Little too Late for Relationships

27:00 - Be Better and it’s Meaning

27:40 - My Burnout

28:10 - Back to the Middle as a Mentor

31:25 - Focusing on the Right Things and Attention Span

33:30 - Cell Phone as a Necessity

35:30 - Just Take the Phone Away and Socialize

36:55 - Identifying Leaders

38:16 - Importance of Growth Mindset

38:54 - Attention Span for Kids from Jason’s Research

40:27 - Treat Volleyball Like Theater

41:16 - Leaving Your Baggage at the Door Creates a Safe Place

42:19 - Be Here Now

44:52 - Do the Next Best Thing

45:43 - My Chip Started with Little League Softball

48:22 - Entitlement in Volleyball Community 

52:10 -  My Chance at Entitlement

53:17 - Was Coaching A Factor?

55:15 - Scope of Club in the South Bay: It’s A Mindset

57:37 - Jason Says Consider the Gray Area

1:03:22 - Cultivating Compassion

1:09:02 - Gem of a Coach

1:09:39 - What I Meant to Say Moment 

1:13:25 - Truth and Honesty

1:14:18 - Where Can We Find You?

1:16:15 - Thank You and Signing Off


Links & Where to Find Ashley

IG - @coachashleyc @ashley.a.clark.10