Q&A: Lauren Hale-Miller, Women’s Volleyball Head Coach
As the new head coach for the GPRC Wolves women’s volleyball team, East Coaster Lauren Hale-Miller is excited to immerse herself in a new team culture on the other end of the country.
We caught up with Lauren to hear more about her history and what’s she’s most looking forward to at GPRC.
What excites you about being the new Women’s Volleyball Coach for the GPRC Wolves?
The opportunity to come to Alberta [from New Brunswick] and coach in the ACAC is huge to me. The calibre of play is a lot different here, so I’m excited to step up my game and continue to learn and grow as a coach. Plus, I’m looking forward to getting to meet a great group of new athletes and be involved in volleyball in a new area.
What made you decide to be a coach?
I started coaching as a volunteer to give back to my high school because I really enjoyed my high school volleyball experience. It was really fun to transition from a player to an assistant coach with my high school coach, Mike Gallagher and he also is how I got involved in coaching club volleyball. He started a club league [Spartans Volleyball Club, formerly known as the Tommies Volleyball Club] when I was in high school and was still involved when I was transitioning to coaching, so I just followed my path there.
In 2012, I started coaching with the provincial team in New Brunswick where I met Monette Boudreau-Carroll [Head Coach of the Women’s Volleyball team at the Universite de Moncton] and she just changed my whole world on coaching. She really showed me that my passion could be my career because here she was, working as a full-time coach, and after that moment I was hooked.
What are the highlights of your career path that brought you to GPRC?
In 2016, I was selected for the Women in Coaching Apprenticeship program which allowed me to be a part of the 2017 Canada Games team, which Monette was actually the head coach of that year so it was really full-circle. We trained so hard and when we went to the games, we placed third, beating Ontario in the fifth set 15-13. It was an insane feeling to accomplish that with so many incredible athletes, coaching staff and just the tremendous support from everyone. On top of that it was the first medal New Brunswick had won for volleyball at the Canada Games and it was one of the best finishes for Atlantic Canada.
Then last year, I was recognised as Coach of the Year for the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA), which was a huge honour.
What do you want GPRC athletes to know about you?
I want them to know that I’m really big on communication. I’m pretty upfront, honest and fair, and I expect that from my athletes as well. As a coach, I feel strongly about the communication pathways being opened between myself and my team. I’m totally about being a family. I want them to know that I want to create our goals together and to win together, but success isn’t just winning to me. If we are successful, it means we played our game and we’re achieving in the classroom. It’s the small things that will lead to the bigger victories.
What’s one thing you think every coach should know?
I think every coach needs to know how to build relationships with their athletes in order to help guide them to be successful in whatever that means for them. Listen to them; that’s huge.
How would your athletes describe your coaching style?
Intense, but in a good way. I’ve had my athletes tell me they know that when they’re in the gym it’s time to put in the work, and that I expect that of them but that I also will put in the time and work. I will always assist, help, and guide them to the best of my abilities. I’m very player-focused. I’ve been told that I’m by the book and very technical as well. Preventing injury is always a top priority of mine.
What do you do when you aren’t working?
I really love to be outdoors. I enjoy camping, playing sports, and just being around friends. I’m also really into anything county music related.
Final thoughts on the opportunity of a fresh season ahead?
We have a solid group of athletes this coming season. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a couple of them at this point and I’m excited to hear their goals and what they are looking forward to this season. I’m looking forward to working together and creating that ‘want-to-work’ mentality on the court, which I know they’re hungry for.