This year, Mariner’s volleyball program has a brand new coaching staff and the growth of the team has been tremendous. The program’s motto for the season is to “attack the future,” and they have been playing up to that motto. By watching the team play one set, you can see how well they work together, and the great effort they put into the game.
Randal Gullette, Mariner’s head volleyball coach, has made a big impact on the team. This is an exciting change for the returning athletes and a great opportunity for those coming into the program.
“It’s completely new; they don’t know you, they’re not judging you… it’s just who you are now and how you’re going to attack the future,” said Avleen Kaur, a Senior.
Having a fresh start can be nerve-racking for both athletes and coaches. This is a big change for all the volleyball players since they haven’t seen a different coaching technique in their past years of playing volleyball for Mariner. The team has created a strong bond between each other and they feel connected to everyone throughout the program, not just individual teammates.
“I feel like I can rely on my coaches and teammates,” said Senior Annie Tran.
There’s a sense of confidence spreading around the program with the new coaches. The new atmosphere provides a safe place for the athletes where they feel welcome and not judged. For many students, sports are a big highlight of their high school experience. Coaches can make or break that experience, and Gullette has created a fun and memorable experience for everyone in the program.
“There’s no fear of making mistakes and having to be perfect,” said Tran.
Not only has Gullette helped the team improve skill-wise, the team believes she has helped them see volleyball differently and has helped them mentally by supporting them and seeing them as people, not athletes. She treats them as equals and sees the potential each player has.
“They’re not mentally challenging, they help us get the negative self-talk out [of our head],” said Senior Aaliyah DeLeon.
Gullette has coached and been a part of many different programs in her coaching career. In previous years, Gullette coached at Archbishop Murphy and Snohomish High school. This year, she had the opportunity to start from scratch and build Mariner’s volleyball team.
“My first impression of the program was that Mariner student-athletes care about why they’re here,” said Gullette.
Gullette sees the dedication the girls have and all the hard work they put in. She pushes them to be the best athletes and people they can be. She’s teaching high schoolers life lessons while coaching them to compete.
“Even though we don’t see the wins on our record, I couldn’t be more proud of the grit and the fight that they have going against these tough teams,” said Gullette.
The athletes and coaches give their heart and soul to the game and their team. They are committed to each other and it shows.
Gullette’s “hopes for Mariner volleyball is to change the culture of a program that is here to compete.”