Pat Barry is the Head Women’s Volleyball Coach at Knox College. Knox College is a NCAA DIII institution located in Galesburg, IL.  They are a member of the Midwest Conference with other teams such as Illinois College, Beloit College and Lawrence University. Outside of Knox College, Coach Barry has experience working at the DI level in the Chicagoland area but having played DIII, has enjoyed coming back to coaching in this division.   

Our conversation touched on multiple topics including how Coach Barry got into coaching, some great tips for players to stay on top of their physical and mental game while at home and some aspects that make for a successful team or season in general.  We also dive into some thoughts on recruiting and how all NCAA Divisions can have strong volleyball programs. You won’t want to miss this one.

Early Challenges on the Path to Becoming a College Coach

After college, Pat became a teacher and soon realized that teaching was not the route he wanted to take. He got the opportunity to volunteer at Loyola University in Chicago with a friend and that led him to his current career at Knox.

Engaged Players Make the Coach's Job Rewarding

Teaching and coaching both had their challenges for Pat, but there are also many rewarding aspects to them. Here Pat shares what his favorites parts of coaching are and why he continues to do what he does.

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What is a "Volleynerd"?

Pat describes the term “Volleynerd” for us and talks about how his love for the game drives him to always keep learning.  That desire and passion for the game allows him to pick up new ideas, new ways of explaining things to his players and just better understand what he wants to do. His coaching style is very hands on and just might emulate a couple other coaches.

Tips for Athletes: Staying Active at Home

Pat and I talk about some simple ways to stay fresh in the game by getting touches on the ball at home. Utilizing your space, whether it be the side of your house, your living room or yard, keeping active and maintaining that physical touch with the volleyball will allow you to stay in it.

Tips for Athletes: Keep Your Mental Game Strong

In addition to staying active physically, Pat gives some great tips on how athletes can get their mental game strong. He talks about a few different skills to work on mental toughness while letting players know that now is the best time to learn some new things about themselves as a player.

Tips for Athletes: Stay On Top Of Recruiting

Given the current situation around the country, Pat shares some great insight into how to stay on top of the recruiting process. He talks about the differences and similarities between a “normal” recruiting process and the one we face today.  Tips here are for both unsigned seniors and underclassmen.

What Makes NCAA DIII Sports Unique

Having played and coached at the DIII level, Pat has a special relationship with DIII sports. He shares what he feels makes DIII unique and how you can have a solid experience if you’ve found the right fit.

The Difference Between NCAA Divisions (And How To Know Where You Fit)

Pat also gives some great insight into finding the right fit at the level you are at when you get recruited.  He talks about some differences between the divisions and how you can have very high levels of volleyball at any level.

How Much of Success is Mental vs Physical?

Having current and past successes, Pat thinks back on those successes and tells us what he thinks made those teams/seasons successful. He gives his thoughts on the talent of athletes and their mental toughness and drive to succeed. 

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