By Segan Helle
The team jogs back and forth across the court, mixing in various stretches, completing their warm up. Matt Pike, pushing along a basket full of volley balls, calls the boys over. Immediately after his command, they commence their next drill, hitting volleyballs back and forth between each other. Though it is only his first year working as coach of the Junior Varsity men’s volleyball team, he is already familiar with a majority of the players and has their respect. The reason: Matt Pike spent the last four years of his life on the same court.
Only 18-years-old, Pike graduated from Bonita Vista High School as a member of the class of 2013. Now studying at Grossmont College, he has returned to his alma mater no longer a student-athlete, but as a coach.
“Coach Anthony needed a JV coach and I wanted to come back to help Bonita,” Pike said.
Pike began playing volleyball before his freshman year. In ninth grade, Pike joined the JV squad, later to be moved to the Varsity team during playoff season. He spent the next three years of his high school career on the Varsity team.
“I had a couple of friends playing [during freshman year] and they talked me into trying out,” Pike recalled.
Though Pike has ample experience being on the court, having played volleyball for five years, this season marks his first time coaching a team, making the task of teaching new players the game even more daunting.
“I have a couple of young kids who haven’t played before, so it’s going to be hard teaching them from scratch… I’ve always played volleyball, but I’ve never coached before so that’s kind of exciting as a first time coach. I want to see how I do,” Pike said.
Though his experience with coaching is limited, Pike holds high hopes for a successful season for the JV team. A majority of the team are returning players, and those who are new to the squad have already shown promise on the court.
“We have a lot of returners and a lot of young kids who can learn. I think we are going to do well,” Pike said.
Practices with Coach Pike begin with a warm up, followed by practice hitting the ball over the net, and usually finish off with a team scrimmage.
“[Coach Pike] lets us play games and scrimmage more. It gets us ready for our actual games,” said returning sophomore JV volleyball player, Matthew Michaud.
While Pike’s first game as a coach instead of a player is eagerly anticipated, scheduled for March 20 against West Hills at Bonita Vista High School, he has spent the time teaching new team members how to play the game, and preparing his returners for what is to come.
“I want to teach all the young kids how to play volleyball the correct way and win some games: maybe finish up there in league,” Pike said.