New Cougars volleyball coach starts season

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A sketch of two people. One is jumping up to hit a volleyball and the other is crouched to bump another one. Both are in green jerseys.
Athletes can twist and turn their bodies in ways that hurt the rest of us to even look at. RosZie via Pixabay

Coach Yadav brings a lot of experience to the new job

With the fall season and school year now in full swing, the Cougars sports teams are signing new players, getting them onto the roster, and welcoming them to the team. The women’s volleyball team has signed Halle Schutz, Eve Chipperfield, Reese Evjen, Samantha Krausher, and Makenna Giesbrecht. They are now joining the Regina Cougars Volleyball team for their first season. Welcome and congratulations!  

Welcoming new players onto the volleyball team is not the only exciting news for the team. The women’s volleyball team has also appointed and welcomed a new head coach, Prateek Yadav; welcome and congratulations to him as well. Yadav’s arrival marks a perfect opportunity to learn a bit more about the new coach and his plans for the team. 

According to Yadav, “I was actually at a phase where I had thought I completed youth volleyball, because I have been coaching since I was 15. I coached my first rec team as a head coach at 19 and they were 16-year-old boys, so not a big age difference at the time. Fast track 10 years, I was given the opportunity to take over the women’s side at the Pakmen Volleyball Club. When I started on the women’s side, […] the men’s side was the best in the country by far. So, the goal was to bring the women’s side to the same caliber. Again, fast forward eight years, and I had coached over 14 teams as head coach, mentor coach, and assistant coach depending on which team needed help. My rep there was accommodated. So, I started to get involved with Team Ontario. Out of that I started to help the University of Guelph. This was a great opportunity, kind of opening my mind up for the next level of volleyball. […] So, then about two years ago I had to make a decision. Do I want to continue volleyball as a pathway, or do I want to focus on my business? So, I took some time off, and the mentor coaches had said to me, ‘Throw yourself out there, shoot your shot and see what happens!’ So, that’s what I did, and an opportunity like this does not come all the time, there are only 40 available positions in the country at this level. So, when it came my way, I had to bounce on it!” 

It sounds like the Cougars are in good hands. We could tell that he is passionate about the sport and that it means a lot to him.  Yadav has already started working with the team, especially with the tournament that they had just partaken in. “I am beyond excited,” he said about the season ahead. “First, I have to say right away this team is so respectful. I have had a culture change coming from Toronto to Regina. Not having any friends, previous relationships, or even family, I have been here by myself but it hasn’t felt like that. The big factor too is that the Kinesiology staff made me feel very welcomed, all the coaches in the department, but more so by the team. They have been so caring, respectful, and their eyes are wide open. It puts a different level of strength behind what you are doing and why you are doing it. Going into practices I am always excited, because they are going to be ready to just take in, learn, and develop from there. They are very open-minded.”  

It was good to hear that Yadav felt welcomed by the team and the department, because he has come such a long way to follow his passion. It appears everyone has really adapted and worked hard so early in the season to get to know each other, bond, and create a relationship. That is important at the start of the season. 

We asked what the team is hoping to see regarding this season coming up. “We have adapted a different philosophy when it comes to looking at the games. I have asked the team to go to every game not wanting to beat any team but wanting to win. This creates a separation in the mentality where you are capping yourself to the opponent you are playing, and you are capping to your own ability.” That is a good message to come across and seems like a good goal for the team. The team has been working hard and we are sure they will continue to do so as the pre-season continues and the full season comes into place. 

With any new coach, there are bound to be some adjustments that need to happen, but it seems everything has been smooth sailing so far. “With practice specifically I went into it as I always have, but I did need information before I started planning how the practices were going to go. […] As the season started, I did a meeting with each student-athlete and we spoke about their previous experience, not so much the rookies but the vets that have been a part of this program. So, with the vets, I wanted to know what it was about the past they liked, and what they would have preferred from or wanted more of from the coaching staff. This gave me an idea of how they learn and how they would like to develop. My strength is that I can cater my coaching to the type of team I have. I have never coached two teams the exact same way. It’s always trying to figure out what the team needs, what our end goals are going to be, and how one can get to that point most efficiently.”  

Yadav said in the past he has coached over 14 teams at just one club, not counting everywhere else. He has coached for a long time, and no two teams have been the same. After all that information from the new coach, we are looking forward to the regular season!

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