Q & A With El Monte Girls Volleyball Coach Kendra Navarro
July 16, 2014 • 1,953 views
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Mid Valley News: How long have you been the volleyball coach at El Monte?
Kendra Navarro: I will be entering my 10th year as head coach. I teach Physical Education – 9th grade on campus.
MVN: How has your team progressed during your tenure?
Navarro: We have been able to continually improve our skills on the court so that we can compete for a league title. Learning how to compete and stay mentally tough is a progress that is moving forward for us as a program. Being competitive and having mental toughness is a life skill that is needed in many situations – not just relating to sports.
MVN: Is volleyball your first sport or a sport that you have learned to love?
Navarro: I went to South Hills High School (West Covina, CA) and competed in volleyball (league title, CIF Semi-Finals), basketball (CIF playoffs), and softball(league title, 1997 CIF Champions). Softball is my first sport and I competed at the collegiate level at Temple University (Philadelphia, PA) on a scholarship. However, volleyball is definitely a sport I love to play and its a sport that is so much fun to compete in.
MVN: What is the summer routine like for a high school volleyball program? Schedule/workouts/games?
Navarro: Our summer consists of lots and lots of fundamental drills and strength and conditioning workouts/circuit training. Our summer league games are played at Gladstone High School. After our dead period we start in August with intense 2-week workouts that consist of fundamental drills, team drills, conditioning, and lots of team building activities.
MVN: One of the things we’ve noticed over the years in basketball is the girls game is far more fundamental than the guys…Can the same be said about girls volleyball versus boys volleyball?
Navarro: I think all sports programs should and do emphasize fundamentals. It was constantly incorporated in every practice when I was playing in college and that is where I learned the importance of practice design. We start and end with fundamentals. Every skill starts with a fundamental drill so that the players are incorporating correct skill habits and understanding the importance of fundamentals. Our players always want to start practice with playing games and end practice with playing games. But they have realized the importance of the fundamental skills and how it relates to being able to compete in game-like situations. I have found certain fundamental drills that work great with my teams and I am always looking for new drills to incorporate in practice.
MVN: If there was something you wished the casual fan knew about your sport and the players you coach, what would it be?
Navarro: The one thing that most people do not understand about sports in general is that it starts with proper fundamentals. Most of our players start playing volleyball their freshmen year and some not until their sophomore year. So in that short amount of time we work extremely hard on learning the sport of volleyball and correcting their skills associated with volleyball.
MVN: What is the best part, for you, about coaching girls volleyball…success? Interaction with the players? Seeing growth and maturity?
Navarro: I feel proud that these players are becoming successful on and off the court because of their hard work and commitment. Our players sacrifice a lot of their time (especially during the summer) to improve their volleyball skills. Also, I have been very proud to see many of my former players go on to 4-year universities and pursue their academic goals. For example, one of our very own players, Sandra Gutierrez, is playing at UC Santa Cruz and I hope that motivates our players to strive to play at the next level. I am extremely fortunate to have hard working and dedicated players for the past 10 years and I hope that continues for the next 10 years. Even though many people measure success by wins and losses or the number of championships, etc. but to me seeing these young ladies graduate high school with multiple athletic and academic success and go on to achieve more success at the next level is extremely rewarding for our program and motivates future players.