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Mary Wise On Developing Relationships And Players As People

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Listen in as Positive Coaching Alliance goes 1-on-1 in interviews with top pro and college players, coaches, executives, and other major sports figures and academics who provide tips, tools, information and inspiration for youth and high school sports coaches, parents and student-athletes.

This 1-on-1 interview features Mary Wise (@GatorMary) head women's volleyball coach at the University of Florida since 1991. She has led the team to 21 SEC titles, including 18 straight from 1991-2008, as well as 24 straight NCAA Tournament bids, seven Final Four appearances, 14 SEC Coach of the Year honors and a trip to the National Championship in 2003. She played volleyball at Purdue University and started her coaching career at Iowa State University at age 22.

Tina Syer (@TinaPCA), PCA’s Chief Impact Officer, talks to Wise about her athletic roots from "growing up with four brothers, where you had to be competitive just to get any dessert." She recalls free play in her Evanston, IL neighborhood turning her into a multi-sport athletes and reflects on the dangers of early sport specialization.

Wise pays tribute to her coach at Purdue, Carol Dewey, who helped her understand that coaching was "not so much about the x's and o's as it is about people and relationships." She explains the culture she shapes as one where the "person is always more important than the player" and volleyball is used as a way to help people improve overall.

Other topics covered include:

  • The importance of connectedness for female athletes
  • How to treat mistakes
  • Ups and downs of social media
  • Working relationships with players' parents.

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