Rosanna Sguerra is the assistant women’s volleyball coach at Denison University. Denison University is a NCAA Division III Institution located in Granville, OH. Denison University is a member of the North Coast Athletic Conference alongside other schools such as: Wittenberg University, Ohio Wesleyan University, and DePaul University.

Rosanna Sguerra started her volleyball career playing club volleyball at The Ohio State University, from there she began coaching an eighth grade team. Rosanna found herself unable to leave the sport after graduation and got involved with club coaching a few years after graduating from OSU. Rosanna has experience coaching at the college level at schools such as Otterbein and Denison. 

Rosanna Sguerra has an abundance amount of knowledge and experience to share about the sport of volleyball. In this interview, she talks about how she got started coaching, her tips for recruitment, and the recruitment rules of Division III. She also brushes upon her do’s and don’ts of communication with coaches, along with her Mount Rushmore of volleyball, and some of her favorite coaching moments. This is an interview you do not want to miss. Enjoy!

Coach

Rosanna Sguerra: Assistant Women’s Volleyball Coach at Denison University. 

Can You Play College Sports?

Take the 4 minute quiz to see if you have what it takes for NCAA sports.

Topic 1: Do’s and Don’ts of Coach Communication

Rosanna’s biggest “Don’t” is to not let your parents speak for you during the recruitment process. She says she doesn't mind if parents listen in every once and awhile, but the athlete is the one she needs to get to know. Rosanna’s biggest “do” is to communicate and over communicate, she encourages follow up emails if you do not get a response. Rosanna also encourages athletes to showcase their personality as she wants to get to know you as a person, not just as an athlete.

Topic 2: Coaching Background

Rosanna got started in coaching when she was playing club volleyball at The Ohio State University and her coach asked if she wanted to coach an eighth grade team. A few years later, Rosanna reached out to her coach after she graduated, and found out he was in the process of starting his own club. Located in Columbus, Rosanna hopped on board to help him get the club started. She then did some coaching at Otterbein University and eventually accepted a position at Denison. 

Topic 3: Tips for Recruitment and DIII Contact Rules

Rosanna thinks the best thing athletes can do right now for recruitment is to stay in contact with coaches. She encourages athletes to continue to reach out to coaches even if you are not getting responses right away. She understands that athletes are not going to have new film of themselves right now, so she encourages them to share other things with her like what they are doing to stay busy during this time. She also goes over the contact rules for Division III. 

Topic 4: Recruiting Story

Rosanna tells a story of an athlete she coached when she was coaching club who was recruited to play at Ohio Wesleyan. During her time in college, she went on to get involved in coaching and ended up being Rosanna’s assistant coach at the club. She now accepted a coaching position at Ohio Wesleyan and the two now coach against each other. 

Topic 5: Tips for Staying Physically Active

Rosanna encourages athletes to take advantage of the resources online right now such as: USA volleyball and EXACT’s workouts. She also encourages athletes to do whatever they can to keep moving whether it's running, dancing, or rollerblading. Rosanna also tells athletes that it's important that they make sure they are keeping their hands on a volleyball during this time and to run solo drills by yourself on a wall or get your family involved. 

Topic 6: Tips for Staying Mentally Engaged

Rosanna’s biggest tip for staying mentally engaged is to watch a lot of volleyball right now. She encourages athletes to watch different games from college or other high level volleyball teams, and analyze the players and try to replicate them. She says players will be amazed how much they can learn from just watching the sport. 

Topic 7: Favorite Facility to Play in

Rosanna says her favorite gym to play in is the Wittenberg gym. Wittenberg has been at the top of their conference for around ten years now, and Rosanna says they always draw a great crowd. She says there is always something special about entering an arena that has so many people in the stands. 

Topic 8: Mount Rushmore of Volleyball 

Rosanna’s number one pick is Karch Kiraly and says that she continues to still learn from him. Her next pick is Kerri Walsh because of all she has done for the game. Rosanna believes she is a great leader in the sport. Rosanna’s third pick is Micha Hancock who she admires for her ability to make everyone else around her look good. Her fourth pick is Megan Courtney, who she believes is a great athlete and team player. 

Topic 9: Top 5 Moment 

Rosanna’s top moment in her career was a coaching moment during her first year at Denison, when they beat their rivals, Kenyan, in a heart wrenching five set game on alumni weekend. Rosanna says she will never forget being a part of that moment. Rosanna throws another story in and talks about another game they played this year against Ohio Wesleyan and won in five sets.

Topic 10: Not Top 5 Moment

Rosanna’s ‘not top 5 moment’ is a combination of a few moments with one of the members of her current team. Rosanna tells us this player is the goofball of the team, and they usually find her falling to the floor, or running into the net a few times during practice. 

Don't forget Rosanna's Sguerra's 'Do's and Don'ts' when it comes to coach communication. Along with her other tips regarding mental health, and staying physically fit, her advice will help you focus on yourself as a person and an athlete.

Enter The Nation's Largest Prospect Database

Connect with thousands of college coaches across the U.S. and get evaluated for collegiate athletics!

Full Transcript:

Jess Gregory  

Thanks stopping by again today. Today I am here with Rosanna Sguerra over at Denison. She is the Assistant volleyball coach out there. How are we doing today? Rosanna.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Awesome. It's great to see you and catch up. I'm excited to chat.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah, for sure. Thanks for sitting down with me. I like to see new faces and some kind of stuck at home still. How are things out by you out in? Ohio?

Rosanna Sguerra  

Good. Yeah, we've, we've pretty much been saying working at home since week of March 13. We had that was our last week of classes at Denison. The following week was spring break. So I was very grateful I got to hug my seniors before they went on spring break. We weren't sure if they were going to come back. And obviously we continued with online learning. So we're all safe and healthy and just trying to do what we can to stay active and keep working towards our goals.

Jess Gregory  

Yeah, right on, when is graduation?

Rosanna Sguerra  

So we've got mid May, so they start finals next Tuesday. Some have actually already started depending on their professors schedules. So we've tailored back our contact with them as our 15. Practice days are over now and try to keep them motivated to work hard and finish strong. So awesome.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Well, good luck seniors. This is it. You've made it. I know. It's kind of weird, but at least they you know, they're almost there.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yes. Oh, light at the end of the tunnel.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Exactly. Exactly. All right. Well, I would love to learn some more about you and how you got into coaching. So can you share your coaching background with us?

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yes, of course. So I went to the Ohio State University where I played club volleyball. And it was after my first season there, my coach, Sean servic, was running a middle school and high school program. So the following year, he asked if I want To be the eighth grade coach and I did both for two years, I coached eighth grade and I was a player in college. So that kind of really started things for me. From there, I finished school and stepped away for a couple years until I reached back out to Shawn for a coaching resource or recommendation letter, excuse me. And he had just started a club called advancement Academy squared in Columbus. And one thing led to another I kind of got back into it helped him start that club as we grew expanded, found another facility and I helped do a lot of the tear training, coaching mentorship, and did that for about five years. During that time, I met Monica right. She is the head coach at Otterbein University. She was coaching there as well with us we became buddies. She's one of My best mentors in this coaching world and she offered me the GAA position at Otterbein. So I was there for a year and a half before I accepted the position at Denison Coach Carter castle and I came in at the same time we just finished our third year there running the program and that's kind of how I ended up at Denison.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Nice. Sounds like a cool, cool little journey there starting off with the little guys and then working your way up to college.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yes, definitely. That was one of those things where you're used to work in little kid camps in high school. So it was it was a good age for me to start at and, and learn and I've had a lot of fabulous mentors to kind of help keep the growth learning curve going high since I do feel like I later joining the college game. But I think a lot of those club high level experiences really kind of helped prepare me for the division three world.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah, absolutely. Division Three, I didn't play Division Three, but I'm getting to know a lot of the the coaches that have coached there. And I coached at that level. So I love Division Three, I think it's great that those athletes, like want to be there, they want to, you know, they want to get an education and volleyball is kind of a passion, not necessarily a job, I guess.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah, I think that's my favorite part about coaching at this level and was stayed at the flow so long as you find a lot of self driven student athletes. They just kind of have to be we have 15 spring practice days, when I talk to recruits, that's the first thing that kind of blows their mind. They're used to come in from club world where they're three, maybe four practices a week and we get to all spring so finding athletes who have that self motivation, willing ness to train on their own set up open gyms with captains and put in the hard work when we can't be there when the NCAA doesn't allow us so So it's a nice balance for them.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah, absolutely. Well, that being said, let's kind of dive into some recruiting chat here and give these girls some tips that you have for them and what they can do during this time and what they can kind of do to keep rolling forward as as we make it through the summer.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah, so in terms of recruiting, I think the best thing to do is just communicate. I know that we're all stuck at home, and we're probably bombarded with emails and notifications and video chats. But it's the best thing we can do right now with the athlete. So I'm having lots of phone calls in the evenings. Just kind of catching up with our recruits, seeing how they're doing. And I think the best thing they can do is just continue to send stuff to us. Even if I respond right away, or maybe we miss an email just to continue to reach out. It is a different time and we're all kind of getting used to the new way. recruiting and I want them to stay encouraged. We know you're not going to have new film, we know there's not going to be a big highlight reel to send over to us. So send us anything else. I love seeing what you're doing in the classroom, art projects, music, maybe something you're doing with your family, whether it's like community service or helping people out in your neighborhood or like what you cook for dinner, all of that is just a great way for us to get to know people as we are going through the recruiting process. Nice.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah, it's definitely building a relationship. So you know, the more you can learn about somebody during this time when you can actually sit down in front of them and you know, they can't come on campus and do any of those things just yet. So I think it is kind of nice to just learn more about someone else and figure out is this a good fit for me as a player is a good fit for you as a coach kind of go from there.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Exactly. That's all we can do is stay in touch and you know, where we do offer a couple virtual tours and different ways To see campus right now, and I just encourage them to keep doing that. Look, watch videos, contact calls, emails, all that good stuff.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah. And just to give them an idea Division Three, what are kind of the contact rules? If someone doesn't know at all, how can they contact you and when can you contact them back?

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah, so we're a little bit luckier than the division one we don't have quite as strict of roles. In terms of us at Denison you know, where we start talking to athletes, sophomore, sophomore year, usually maybe junior year and, and from that point on, you know, emailing phone calls, it's all allowed and we welcome it. So, communication. Recruiting communication right now is pretty much done digitally. We still can, we can do visits. We're hoping hoping we can do those maybe late summer fall, but we're just going I have to stay tuned. So the best bet is just to reach out to Julie.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Nice. Um, that being said, then let's kind of talk about some of your favorite do's and don'ts when it comes to communication with college coaches. What have you seen over the years that you're like, let's not do that anymore and some of the things that you like to see?

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah, great question. I think my biggest don't is, don't let your parents speak for you. Don't let them be on the phone call leading the questions. I don't mind if parents listening every once in a while, but my main objective is to get to know the athlete and the student. That's who I will be working with for the four years that they're at Denison. So. Take charge of that I really encourage athletes to find their voice. It's it's all difficult speaking on the phone to someone you don't know. But practice makes makes perfect. And the more you do it, the more comfortable you'll be. So that's it. probably my biggest don't is make sure that you're you're in control of the communication. Of course your parents are going to help you and give you advice and insight. But I think it's a great part of the growing into a young adult process in terms of do kind of touched on that a little bit earlier, but do communicate over communicate. I miss emails, I'm human, we all miss emails. And just because I don't respond doesn't mean I don't want to connect with you. So a follow up email every every now and then is great. We appreciate it and sometimes it's vice versa. Maybe we have to follow up with an athlete but just over communicating right now is probably my biggest do as well as just kind of show who you are as a person. At Denison we talk a lot about we want to recruit great people first and foremost. So I want to get to know you not just you as an athlete, so ever every Bit of you, how you react to certain situations, how you treat your family, how you treat your coaches, your siblings, all of that is very important. And they get to know you recruiting process.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah, absolutely. I think that's a great tip for kids to kind of remember that you guys are getting a lot of emails per day. And that just because they don't hear from you doesn't mean that it's a no, it just means maybe they didn't see it. So it's nice to just kind of reach back out again until the coach says, You know what, this is not what we're looking for, or recruiting classes close, then you can kind of move on, but I don't want kids to give up too easily. So Exactly.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Perseverance is key. And that's part of your character that you can kind of show through as, as you stay on top of your recruiting game.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah, for sure. Do you have a fun recruiting story, maybe yours to play club at Ohio State or, you know, a player that you've recruited over the years that you were like, the story was kind of cool and different that you could share with us?

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah. I actually have Someone who's near and dear to my heart. I actually coached this athlete when I was coaching club. I had an 18th national team and a squared. And her name is Krista wanek and was excited to coach her and kind of been eyeing her in the club and was excited to be given that age group that year. So I was able to coach her as she was getting recruited to Ohio Wesleyan, which is a school in our conference. And the following couple of years, she decided to get back into coaching. So she came back to the club and was my assistant for a few years at a squared which was just really fun. It was fun to have another really passionate soul next to me as I was coaching and I think we did a lot of learning from each other that year and I was just fortunate to have her on the center right side. She was a middle I really felt like we were able to to cover all bases positionally. So she was still playing Her career she battled through some entries and was able to have a really great senior year. Following that senior year she accepted an assistant coaching position at Ohio Wesleyan, her alma mater. So now we currently coach college against each other. So that's one of the awesome stories that I've lucky to Ben part of her journey as a player coaching with her and now coaching against her at the collegiate level.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Very cool. It's nice to see that growth in an athlete to where they go from being your you know, your little student and then turning into a full grown adults that now gives back to the volleyball world and is coaching themselves.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Oh, yeah, I think that's one of the most rewarding things about this game is the connections and those lifelong friendships and relationships that you do build.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah, absolutely. It's amazing to like, think back to like, the longer you're coaching. Those kids do grow up and they're like I said, Adults and do their own thing. And it's kind of cool to hear from them to 10 years down the line and they're like, hey, Coach, you know, I talk about those little time. So it's definitely fun.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yes, one of my favorite things to do is see all the old players as well as coaches. I have a coach who works for NCSA right now. And I see her at a lot of the big qualifiers. And it's still fun to say, hey, Coach shouldn't run up to her and give her a hug when when we used to be allowed to hug and hopefully we'll get back to that point soon. So

Jess Gregory  

yeah, hopefully we don't have to stay six feet apart forever, because that'll just be sad. Alrighty. So, can you maybe give some tips then we talked about recruiting and your recruiting story? Can you give some tips on how to stay physically active? You know, we'll talk about an offseason because this is kind of kind of like that, where they're just not able to get in the gym. So what are some things that they can do?

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah. Oh, that's a great question. I think there are tons of free resources out there right now. I think that's the been the best part of the situation we're in is everyone's kind of coming together to help each other out. So anything from the workouts that I've seen you guys put out to USA volleyball, putting out different videos, following some of your favorite pro or college athletes and seeing what they're doing. This isn't a time to reinvent the wheel, right? Like we need to just find a way that helps ourselves individually with our fitness plan. So I know there are tons of bodyweight workouts out there. I've personally been doing a lot of dance classes that I find online. I think any way that you can stay moving is really important if you like to run run, a huge rollerblader can't wait for a little bit more of this rain to pass so you can get some sunshine but not being afraid to Reach out and see what's out there. I think the biggest next piece is just make sure you're touching a volleyball. I know a lot of volleyball drills require more than yourself more than one people. But there are certainly things we can do on our own. Whether it's a ball control series, and you're just trying to get certain amount of touches or certain touches certain ways, whether that platform passing or setting and, and incorporating family and friends in those who are living in your household is a great idea. If you've got someone who can kind of toss a ball your way, you can do shuffle footwork and work on passing and moving to the ball. And maybe that might make you even better if someone can't toss that great rate to you got to learn how to react. Think the best other way to do is things off a wall, given our athletes, some different tips and even tennis balls just working on those reaction skills, making sure that as we're tossing off the wall and watching a bounce, we can move with our hands and our eyes are still doing all the work that we normally would get in that training and practice.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah, absolutely. I actually was talking to a friend the other day, who's a coach, and she was saying that she put like little nubbins on a tennis ball and then tape the whole thing. So when you throw it, it bounces all different directions. 

Rosanna Sguerra  

That's a great idea.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah, I thought that was pretty cool. Because you can use that for any sport to just keep the hand eye coordination kind of rolling in. So

Rosanna Sguerra  

Exactly. And most of these ideas aren't my real ideas are things I've borrowed. I think they also April Ross setting up her little board in her backyard. And I did that about a week later. So I've got that little space out in my backyard that I can kind of pepper to myself, if you will,

Rosanna Sguerra  

okay, hey, it's always nice to borrow from each other. And then you come up with ideas and you share it with someone else. Exactly. Exactly. All right, how about on the mental side, you kind of have any tips for them to stay mentally engaged. You know, any any sort of tips on that? that aspect of it?

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah, I think the best thing to do right now is to watch. There's so much film there's so many high level matches out there. Whether it's the professional level or USA team, maybe your favorite college team. I think it's a really fun time to watch others and learn how to mimic and of what they're doing well and maybe what they're not doing well. I just watched a misty may Kerri Walsh speech match the other day with from the Olympics, which I remember as a college athlete watching and, and the things that I was able to pick up just watching an old game that I watched years ago, kind of blew my mind a little bit so we can really learn and stay engaged mentally. By watching the sport. We can't do it but we can watch and maybe kind of focus In on one player or one position and and watch their transition and their attacks or watch how they act in server sees before the serve comes, what are they doing, picking up any of those little tips and then trying to replicate them. I remember as a tier trainer, I was struggling with teaching footwork on the right side, and it was one of the tap twins, we're still at Minnesota. And I watched them transition over and over again. And my roommate at the time was probably frustrated with me because I was up late, downstairs doing footwork, jumping, running around, but I think that's the best way to learn. You've got the ability to slow things down and rewind and you can really kind of hone in on what everyone else is doing great and trying to apply it to your game.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah, absolutely. Awesome. Awesome tip there to just kind of take in taking the game out of the entertainment part of it and making it more of a learning opportunity for you to kind of break down down. So, love that idea for sure. All right now we've kind of talked heavy here, we've been given them a ton of tips. Now let's have a little bit of fun. And we'll get into some silly questions. Are you ready?

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yes. Ready.

Rosanna Sguerra  

All right. So I want to know, your favorite facility to play in and why and it doesn't have to be a college facility. It's just, you know, your favorite facility and why.

Rosanna Sguerra  

All right. I think that one's easy for me, I'll stay in conference. It's playing at Wittenberg University. So they've kind of been the top dog in our conference for the last 1015 plus years, and they draw a great crowd. And that's kind of hard to get all the time at the division three level. We've had some great battles with them. But when you walk into an arena that's already filled with students and they're getting rowdy and they're cheering that there's something special about that. They're they're one of our big in conference rivals and we want to, we want to come for them here in the future years, but they've got such a great huge stands on both sides around the cord and it just creates for a really fun electric loud atmosphere. And they usually always ends up being a great match. So that's always a plus as well. Nice.

Rosanna Sguerra  

All right, well, fingers crossed. You get them next year. Yes, for sure. All right, how about your Mount Rushmore? volleyballs this is gonna be your top for all time favorite players and then just tidbit on why you picked him.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Okay, so went with my guy, Karch Kiraly I think he's number one. What he's been able to do as a player, indoor outdoor coaching wise. I think we all have a lot to learn from him. I'm continuing learning from him. So number one, I think would be Karch number two, the was a it was kind of teetering back and forth. I went with an older volleyball player and I picked Kerri Walsh-Jennings I think well what she's been able to do as well indoor but in the beach game and being such a fabulous ambassador for our sport, fantastic human being and willing to give back is really special and it's what's going to help grow this game. She's got a great mentality and outlook on life and I think we can all learn from her and her mental preparation. She's kind of been a one of the leaders on that for for a long time. My third choice, I'm going with one of my favorite setters Mika Hancock. I think it's been really awesome to see her transition from winning national championships with Russ Rose to you know, earning that spot on the national team. Her jumps serve is wicked and I've always been jealous of that. I don't really have a jump serve, never did and I think Think what she can do offensively from the service line, as well as just as a phenomenally talented setter distributing the ball and making everyone around her look good. She's She's up there for me. My fourth is an Ohio girl from Dayton is Megan Courtney. She's been someone that I followed when she was a high school athlete until the college game. And I think she's just been someone that has been able to adapt to her role. She was a hitter for years. She's battled through injuries and now she's libero going on the national level. I think she is truly someone who does whatever is needed for the greater good of the team. And I'm just excited to continue watching her and Mika kind of lead the USA team in the years to come.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Nice. That's awesome. I always love a good team player that'll step in wherever They're needed. So, yes, they have them up there. All right, how about your top favorite moment of all time that we can put as a nomination for exact top five?

Rosanna Sguerra  

Oh, goodness. Okay. Um, this is just gonna be a personal one here at Denison. It was my first year we were playing our true rivals Kenyan. They're about 35 minutes north of us and we hosted them on Alumni Weekend and we won this heart heart wrenching thriller five center and I will never forget that kind of ended with an awesome block and that feeling and having alumni in the stands and just a pack Jim and kind of getting a first real good conference when kind of set the tone for us that year. And it was one of those things that I'll never I'll never forget being a part of and watching them kind of Get that W and establish the tone for the year so

Rosanna Sguerra  

nice. That's a great one. I love that you gotta love winning a five setter, right? You you've made it that far. And to be able to pull out as always a good feeling.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah, I'm gonna throw one more in there just cuz this year we we played Ohio Wesleyan on their core and we were kind of all in the two three spot for the conference and and we had one of those awesome five centers extra points. And Coach castle still teases me about this day, but I looked at him I think we were tied at 15th and I just said, Gosh, I love this game. And I didn't know if we were gonna win. I knew we had momentum but at that point, it was anyone's game and it was just that feeling of like, I love being part of something. Something like this where everyone's laying it out every everything they got to the last second. And for me that was like the thriller of The year and really set the tone for us. That's awesome.

Rosanna Sguerra  

All right, so your your top five is basically going to be going five sets and pulling it out.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Yeah. And that's probably Dennis in history. I think if you look back, we're the queen of five setters and open we're pulling more W's out in the future years.

Jess Gregory  

Hey, you gotta have a lot of mental toughness to take it five and be able to come out on top so I love it. All right now Flipside. What's your you're not top five. This is going to be a moment that was kind of crazy or funny or just plain weird.

Rosanna Sguerra  

So yeah, I think a lot of those moments mainly happen in practice. Thankfully, I haven't had a lot in the match where we've kind of lost some silly points or anything like that. But I'm going to shout out my one of my rising seniors. She's a current Junior Emma Warner. She's our goofball. I don't know how it happens. But we'll turn around and she's just transitioning, and she's on the floor. And she's one of those that's run into the net a couple of times. And few of those times, we were wishing we were recording practice and had all those things, but she's our one that ends up on the floor. And sometimes we just all have to stop and laugh. And maybe this is a good reminder for me to always record those practices. So next year, I can give you a visual not top five. Yeah.

Jess Gregory  

Next year, we'll keep that in mind. For sure, well, awesome. This was a super fun chat. I'm glad we got to sit down and hang out and kind of learn more about you as a coach as well as kind of some some fun little things at the end there that we can share with, you know, anybody that checks out our blog. So thank you so much for sitting down. I appreciate it.

Rosanna Sguerra  

Well, thanks so much for having us. Encourage all you athletes stay strong, find ways to stay active, do what you can right now. So when we're all back together, you're ahead of the game and You're ready to come back strong, fit healthy and ready to reach your goals. Yeah, absolutely. I love it.

Jess Gregory  

All right. Thanks, Rosanna. I really appreciate it.

Rosanna Sguerra  

All right, we'll see you Jess.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai