Coach Mikayla Sets the Standards



Coach Mikayla taking stats during the Pink Out game. Credit: Photo taken by Simran Naval.

Mikayla Parker, head coach of the girls’ varsity volleyball team, tells about the transition of becoming head coach and her plans for the upcoming season. Parker believes that there is more under the iceberg of what makes a good team than just stats and scores. “Records don’t necessarily translate into success,” she says.

Parker began playing volleyball competitively in her junior year of high school. This is when Parker first discovered a passion for the sport. “I ended up playing in college… did some coaching… and just fell in love with the strategical side of it,” Parker said.

Parker enjoys coaching because of her background in volleyball, which gave her a different perspective on the sport, and because it allows her to establish an emotional connection with the athletes. “So getting to see girls grow up from 13 years old and go off to college and reach their dreams, and to know that I had something to do with that… It’s just huge,” Parker says.

Parker believes that playing volleyball taught her more than just what she learned on the court. “Discipline… can transfer into all aspects of your life,” Parker said.
“There are so many life skills you can take away from volleyball and bring them into your real life,” she explains.

“Getting these girls to be more than just volleyball players and to be truly remarkable people and prepare them for college and real life…that’s a huge goal for me.” — Mikayla Parker ‘22

Parker describes an example of this as communicating with teammates during a game, or taking care of a players position, which can translate into school by communicating with peers or teachers, and minimizing procrastination.

Parker likes to remind her athletes about improving yourself vs. proving yourself. “One of the main things that I remind myself daily is no one knows everything about the sport… All you can do is try to improve every day and learn as much as you can,” Parker said. She agrees with the statement that everyone must start at the bottom in their career to work their way up to the top.

This upcoming season, Parker wants to win every game possible. “We practice as hard as we can… so that when the game comes, we’re ready for any situation, and we’re ready for that team.” Parker describes. She believes that practice doesn’t make perfect, but a perfect practice makes perfect. What an athlete puts into their training will directly translate during the game.

However, winning every game is just the tip of the iceberg. “I’m trying to incorporate with this team a sense of support… Getting these girls to be more than just volleyball players and to be truly remarkable people and prepare them for college and real life,” Parker said.

Parker concludes that being healthy, physically and mentally, is one, if not the biggest part of playing a sport, and being able to translate that into your day-to-day life and as you grow is one of the best things you can take away.

“But to me, a successful program isn’t based off wins and losses. It’s based off the experience that’s brought away from it,” Parker said. “The wins and victories are just the icing on top.”