Misty, Karch featured at conference

Concordia University's Master of Coaching and Athletic Administration (MCAA) department will host the California Coaches Conference this week, a five-day conference Monday through Friday focusing on "developing excellence in coaching and athletics."

Most of the conference will take place at Concordia, but some of it will be at Irvine Valley College, where the color gold will be prevalent.

That's because IVC director of volleyball Tom Pestolesi will have two very gold-minded guest speakers for his course titled "Advanced theory and strategy for coaching volleyball."

Pestolesi will have three-time Olympic gold medalist Karch Kiraly for a Q&A session on Monday at 1 p.m., and then two-time Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor on Wednesday at 1 p.m.

"Both of them, in my opinion, are the two best volleyball players – for sure in America and probably the world – in the history of the game," Pestolesi said. "Look at Karch, he's only 6-foot-2 but his skill and mental toughness are unparalleled. With Misty, it's the same thing. She's absolutely the best skilled female volleyball player this country has ever produced. She can do everything, and she's only 5-9."

May-Treanor, a former Newport Harbor High star, has teamed up with partner Kerri Walsh and will attempt to win a third gold medal in beach volleyball this summer in London at the 2012 Olympic Games. She has an interest in coaching and could someday wind up coaching at her alma mater Long Beach State.

For Kiraly, his playing career has given way to coaching – he's an assistant coach on the U.S. women's national team, which will go into the Olympics ranked No. 1 in the world.

But don't be fooled, Pestolesi says. Kiraly didn't land on a national team's coaching staff just because of his name.

"He went back and did clinics and camps, he didn't just say, 'I'm Karch, hire me,'" Pestolesi said. "I know for a fact six years ago he was going to clinics with JV coaches from whatever school, sitting next to them. He was learning from the bottom up."

Kiraly seems to have no problem dealing with the younger generation, and even babysat May-Treanor when she was a small child, according to her autobiography. While she went on to win her two gold medals on the beach, Kiraly won his first two on the indoor court and his third on the beach.

"He's the only one and probably will be the only one to win an indoor and outdoor gold medal in the Olympics," Pestolesi said. "It's just ridiculous."

While Pestolesi certainly will have some star power in his weeklong course, he brings quite a bit to the table himself. He was an All-American volleyball player at the University of Hawaii in 1982 and '83, then coached for 15 years at the high school level (Estancia and Newport Harbor) before starting the volleyball program at IVC in 1991.

He has guided IVC's men's teams to three state championships (1993, 2007, '08) and taken the women's team to a second-place finish in state (2003) and a third-place finish (2009).

Pestolesi, who is participating in the coaches conference for the second time, said the idea of "coaching coaches" instead of coaching players is intriguing.

"Everybody has their own (coaching) philosophy," Pestolesi said. "But what I tell everybody is, 'You learn from everyone but you have to be yourself.' It's the old 'adopt and adapt' theory.

"We bounce a lot of things off each other because I don't know it all and I never will. The way I do it, some people really like and some people don't like, and that's OK. Now that I'm an older coach, the method I try to stress to them is don't worry about the score. Worry about the training and the teaching, and the score takes care of itself."

Pestolesi's volleyball course will include instruction both on the indoor court, in the classroom and on the sand courts. There will be talk of strategy and technique, but ultimately, Pestolesi says, it is about what's going on between the ears.

"It took me 20 years to realize the most difficult and most important part of coaching is the psychology," he said. "There are a lot of coaches that know a lot of stuff, but the kids can't stand them because they're always yelling and screaming, and they don't listen to them."

Pestolesi certainly won't have that problem this week, particularly when he brings in his guest speakers. Gold medals have a funny way of attracting attention.

"They both started at a young age, they have a passion for the sport and they kept working at it," Pestolesi said of Kiraly and May-Treanor. "They enjoyed success, maintained success and they have a great work ethic. And most importantly, they're really great people."

Space is still available to attend the conference. For more information contact Alex Ackles at alexander.ackles@cui.edu or (949) 214-3266. For more information about the MCAA program, call Tom White at (949) 214-3259.

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