Smedley begins 1st season as CHS volleyball coach

Breanne Smedley - Jim Waller / Whidbey News-Times
Breanne Smedley
— image credit: Jim Waller / Whidbey News-Times

A strong feeder program is the key to success, according to new Coupeville High School volleyball coach Breanne Smedley.

Smedley begins her first year at the helm this fall, replacing Kirsty Croghan.

Croghan, who coached the team only one year, resigned because the commute from her home and job in La Connor was too difficult.

Smedley is the third coach in three years but doesn’t see the turnover as a problem.

“The previous two coaches have done a good job of teaching solid volleyball skills and creating a culture of Coupeville volleyball, laying the foundation for me to build upon those skills and knowledge,” Smedley said.

“I plan to handle the transition by getting to know the girls so that I can most effectively coach them, as well as spending time getting everyone on the same page with our philosophy and expectations for the program,” she added. “I hope to build a program that develops and encourages athletes to better themselves on and off the court. This will come through setting expectations for players and cultivating an environment of trust, respect and discipline.”

For the program to be a success, according to Smedley, the players must be exposed to volleyball before reaching high school.

“This means that students at the elementary level are gaining interest and looking up to high school players as role models and that the middle school program is consistent with the culture, expectations and basic concepts of the high school program,” Smedley said. “This encourages the long-term growth of the player so that by the time they reach their senior year they will have developed sound skills, tactical awareness and a thorough understanding of the game.”

Smedley also sees volleyball as an avenue to teach students life skills such as work ethic, discipline and leadership: “My goal is to help all players reach their fullest potential on and off the court.”

Another goal, Smedley said, is to “cultivate an environment” where players feel valued and respect themselves and others.

“Winning is a by-product of a successful program that is built upon an expected high standard of player attitude and behavior but is not an adequate substitute for those values.”

Smedley grew up in Vancouver, Wash., and attended Western Washington University, where she played volleyball. She moved to Whidbey Island  last summer when her husband, Brett, accepted a teaching and an assistant football coaching job at Coupeville High School.

Breanne Smedley teaches physical education at Oak Harbor’s Broad View Elementary.

She began coaching while competing for Western, helping at clinics and camps. She coached two years of club volleyball, then she became the varsity assistant at Oak Harbor High School last year. She also coached seventh- and eighth-grade volleyball at Oak Harbor Middle School.

“I was interested in the CHS job because I see a lot of potential to create a strong volleyball program at Coupeville,” Smedley said. “Coupeville has a very supportive community and there are a great group of girls on the team with many of the pieces needed to be competitive in our league. It’s about putting those parts together to build a successful program.”

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