U SPORTS sits down with one key athlete, coach, and staff member of each U SPORTS athletic program in our interview series “Getting to know…”
- Name: Michelle Wood
- School: Acadia University
- Sport: Women’s volleyball
- Position: Head coach
- Seniority: Six seasons
- Hometown: Toronto, Ont.
1. How did you first get involved in coaching? What was your path to your position as head coach of Acadia University?
I played for the University of Toronto and the Ontario Canada Games team. In my final years at the University of Toronto, I began coaching with Team Ontario for two years as an assistant coach, followed by two years as the head coach of the Ontario Canada Games team. When I graduated I was an assistant Coach with the University of Toronto before heading to Acadia University.
2. Who are the people that have influenced you most as a coach?
My athletes. There are so many athletes that have impacted my life. I respect how hard they work and how much they demand excellence in so many aspects of their lives. It motivates me to do what I can to allow them to have as many celebratory moments throughout their career and beyond.
3. How would you describe your coaching style?
I’m competitive and preach hard work. I think success and a positive experience comes from a structured environment with an emphasis on attention to detail. I think it’s important to be mindful on so many levels, whether you are creating an intentional training plan or having awareness of your athletes as people first. I often refer to this as a “people first” mentality. In order to maximize the athlete, you have to care for and support the person.
4. Which coach do you admire the most, and why?
My former head coach at the University of Toronto, Kristine Drakich. Aside from volleyball, she has taught many of her athletes to be confident female leaders and that takes you beyond the game of volleyball.
5. What is your greatest coaching moment or achievement?
I was fortunate to be an assistant coach for the 2015 and 2017 FISU Summer Universiades taking place in South Korea and Taipei. These experiences allowed me to work with some of the top coaches across our country and to be exposed to the different styles of play used throughout the world.
6. What’s the best advice you can give to an athlete and/or athlete’s parents?
To develop interests and a support network outside of your sport.
7. How have you changed as a coach over time?What principles/values, etc. have remained the same?
I’m constantly evolving as a coach, always looking for the next opportunity to grow and expand my knowledge. My values have been my core guiding principles and have remained stable. What has changed for me, is my ability to work smarter (more efficiently) and how to move on quicker after losses.
8. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not in coaching mode?
Spending time with my family/friends and traveling.
9. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you as a coach?
I’m sure there are many embarrassing things that have happened to me, however I will shift this one over to my assistant coach who split his pants (front to back) in the middle of our AUS quarter-final match after jumping to celebrate.