Coach’s Box: Smith exudes patience while coaching


Tracy Tran

Coppell volleyball assistant coach Holland Smith talks with sophomore outside hitter and right side hitter Haley Holz and defensive specialist Beca Centeno after the District 6-6A volleyball match against Irving on Friday in the CHS Arena. Smith has been coaching volleyball in Coppell for three years.

Shreya Beldona, Staff Writer

Coppell assistant coach Holland Smith has been working with the Cowgirls volleyball team for three years. With a background in sports throughout her childhood, Smith pursued a job as a volleyball coach. Smith bases her coaching around two values: patience and appreciativeness.

How did you start coaching?  

I played sports in high school and I played volleyball in college. I had an actual office job when I graduated college, and I did not like sitting in a cubicle and being restricted from socializing with other people. I just decided then that I would go back to school and get my teaching certification. When I went back to school, I knew I was going to teach and coach volleyball. 

What personality qualities do you have that translate well when coaching?

There is a variety of coaching styles and techniques. I am not a yeller, I don’t get emotional and I am pretty even-keeled. So, I also feel like I am approachable and get across to kids. Every kid is different; I could yell at [a player] or I could ease into it and talk to you using a different approach. I understand different approaches to use with your different kids. I am good at finding the right avenue to relate to athletes.

What are some of the biggest lessons coaching has taught you?

You have got to be patient. Playing and coaching is so different. Coming from a player, you just do this, this and this. But coaching, you have to be patient and understand not everyone has the same experiences I have had. [I learned] there is more than one way to say something and about [the importance] of building relationships with kids. 

Do the Cowgirls have any pregame rituals or superstitions?

We do. We are superstitious. We eat at the same place [Chick-fil-A] on game day and we do the same pregame warmup. Some people before the game have to tie their warm-up shirt around a certain chair. Between you and another player, you have your own saying you say. We have some kids that don’t stand in order in the line because their superstition tells them to be standing [in a certain order]. I am probably the least superstitious here but I am completely on board with everything. 

How has coaching changed since you were an athlete?

It’s crazy. I think back to high school and I think back to the way I coach high school kids now. I am giving them so much knowledge, knowledge I didn’t get in high school. It’s so competitive here in North Texas, especially for volleyball, that coaching is so specific. We are so specific about game time and strategies. When I was in high school, I didn’t get coached like that. It’s way more intense now. 

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