Our coaches are just as passionate about Augustana and the Vikings as our student-athletes, so we caught up with Augustana alumnus and Vikings women's volleyball coach, Stephen Enright, to find out how the team has adjusted to training this year and learn about the best advice he has ever been given.
Q: How have you and the team been adjusting to training during COVID-19?
SE: The team has adjusted beautifully. We have maintained our motto of "embracing the suck" which essentially means we need to lean into the hard stuff. COVID has been no different. We know this season looks different and has its challenges but we make the best of each and every situation we are put in. From a coaching point of view, some drill modification has had to happen. The fact that we are wearing masks in training and in the weight room has slightly affected our anaerobic systems and so the really high-intensity drills have been modified.
Q: What opportunities and challenges does this year present for you and the team?
SE: Lots of opportunities have been presented this year. We have had time to implement a new defensive and blocking system without the stress of competing in the immediate future. We have also sped up our offense. These strategies would have been challenging in normal times and we may have taken a few losses early on while we adjusted. Without the wear and tear of weekend competition, the team has been able to focus even more on their strength and conditioning program, which has become a core principle in our program and led by Joel Jackson. We also had the opportunity to expand our mental skills toolbox with our Sport Psych Lead Karissa Johnson.
Q: Why did you choose to coach the Vikings?
SE: As an alumnus of Augustana, this place has always held a special place in my heart. The opportunity to create a powerhouse program while working with bright and ambitious young adults who want to be pushed is just too much fun!
Q: In two words, how would you describe this team and why?
SE: Rock Soup. This has been a motto of our team over the last little while. It is based on the old folklore of the Stone Soup story. Basically, we all have our own individual talents or superpowers and when we bring these all together we can create something amazing. One of the truly amazing things about this program has been the individual's ability to put aside their ego for the betterment of the team.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever been given?
SE: Win the now. All the little victories throughout the day add up and you ultimately win the day. Also, all these little wins allow you to come into training and competition feeling confident and prepared for whatever is about to happen.
Q: What do you ultimately hope to achieve while coaching the Vikings?
SE: I do not mince words here: to win the National Championship. We are now legitimate at the provincial level and the next step is obvious—to be perennial contenders at the National level.
You can hear more from Vikings Athletics Friday mornings with Scott Mitchell on New Country 98.1.