Volleyball coach Mary Malinauskas reflects on coaching style, undefeated regular season, pain of losing | Communities

For the first time, women’s volleyball coach Mary Malinauskas has a team that went undefeated throughout the regular season, won the first-ever county championship and advanced to the state semifinals. . What has Malinauskas done to bring his team this far?

When Malinauskas was growing up, there were few or no organizational options. sports for girls. She had been playing basketball recreationally since they had a hoop and picked up eighth grade volleyball. She was on her school’s teams from eighth grade through 12th grade in high school, eventually becoming a Division 1 basketball athlete in college.

When she moved to Maryland as an adult, Malinauskas heard through her son’s teacher (a former state volleyball champion of Maryland) that the school needed a volleyball coach. Malinauskas applied and became the junior varsity coach. Five years later, she was promoted to college coach and has coached the varsity team ever since.

Malinauskas was a math teacher for 10 years, but retired to focus on coaching. “I like coaching because those who are here want to be here and they want to do well, and they want to listen. [That’s] not always the case in math class,” Malinauskas said.

As she gained experience and received a promotion, she evolved from a strict coach to a more strategic and tactical coach. One of the reasons she changed her coaching style was that yelling at her players was unproductive. “Nobody wants to be yelled at or told what to do,” Malinasukas said.

But someone is bound to make a mistake, and when that happens, she wants that person focus on the next piece. “They already feel bad, nobody wants to make a mistake. So sometimes it helps to just say ‘everyone makes a mistake’ and laugh [along]Malinasukas said.

Malinauskas players appreciate her coaching style, which includes her unflinching honesty. “[Malinauskas] knows exactly what we need, if we need tough love she will give it to us, if we are doing well and need support she is there,” said captain and senior Samantha Bolze.

When it comes to going undefeated in the regular season and going deep in the playoffs, “this team has a keen appreciation for being on the court because of last year…It’s not the work to go to practice because they knew what it was like not being able to play the way they want to train and compete,” Malinauskas said.

Sooner or later, everyone experiences the pain of losing. In the event of a difficult loss, Malinauskas doesn’t talk to anyone for 24 hours and just thinks. “It’s always like this disappointing to lose, not because of the banner or the championship, but because you are finished with these children. And it is always very difficult. You want the best for them, you want to see all of their work unfolding in a positive way, so it’s really difficult,” Malinauskas said.

Eventually you have to let go, and over the days, weeks, and months the pain begins to To dissipate. “The hurt starts to go away and you start to put everything into perspective where it belongs, and I hope everyone had a good experience… It’s just [those] relationships that you built, and this is the end,” Malinauskas said.