As she starts her junior year as head coach at La Sierra University, Coach Conley looks forward to continuing her efforts in developing La Sierra University volleyball into an elite program known for wins both on and off the court.
"My mission as head coach is parallel to that of this university," says Coach Conley."That mission is to develop the student athlete into an adult who possesses spiritual, mental and emotional strength, as well as physical strength."
However, make no mistake. Coach Conley is serious about her volleyball and the hard work and discipline necessary to excel in the sport. Coach Conley is a taskmaster and she demands commitment from her charges. Teams under Coach Conley's tutelage are known for their grasp of fundamentals and the basics of the game. When Coach Conley explains it, there's no mystery to her formula.
"Fundamentals are the core of success. It's the fundamentals, basics, attention to detail and team work that grease the skids and smooth the way to elite status," says the Coach.
Coach further explains, "But in addition to being great with the fundamentals of the game, a winning team must also be both physically strong and emotionally sound in order to be competitive. I believe that physical conditioning develops the confidence that allows for the emotional soundness necessary for the winning edge, both on the volleyball court and in life," says the Coach.
And Coach's system apparently reaps dividends. Before assuming the reins as head coach, Mrs. Conley brought experience as an assistant coach and experience in high school and club environments. During her tenure at the high school level she established a competitive high-profile program and guided student-athletes to CIF playoffs.
Mrs. Conley holds herself no less accountable than she does her players to maintaining a solid grasp of the basics. She believes a coach is, in essence,a teacher. "The same basics that make a good coach are the same basics that make a good teacher, " she says.As a teacher, she views as her primary task to develop the individual to become a contributor to society.As a coach, her primary task is to develop a sense of team work. To do this, she must balance the needs of each individual player with the needs of the team as a whole.
"There's definitely that necessary tension between the two aspects," explains the Coach. " The need for individual success and the need for team effort. That's where my job comes as teacher comes in. I work to ensure that each individual player is able to discover and then excel at her unique strength,and enjoy the confidence that comes with that type of success. On the other hand, just like in life, it's not only individual success that counts. It's important that the individual success also be channeled so that the team benefits from each individuals' unique strengths. That's what team work is all about."
Coach Conley is excited about the prospects for success of the volleyball program at La Sierra University. "The environment here is perfect. This university provides our student-athletes a solid platform upon which they can develop into well-rounded young adults who will step into the adult world prepared to capitalize on their strengths and talents and, at the same time, eager to benefit larger society."
"And that's the part of coaching that I truly cherish," she says.