From Sport To Leadership - Alexa Koshman
This is part 2 of a 3-part series featuring local educators sharing their experience with sport, and how the skills learned through sport and active recreation impact their professional roles and life.
by Alexa Koshman
Sport is more than just a game. It is a way to build character, perseverance, and comradery. Some of my best memories, best friendships, and best lessons come from playing team sports for 15 years. I recognize that I am extremely privileged to have had such a positive experience with sport and I will be forever thankful for I did, as it transformed me into the person I am today.
I started playing volleyball when I was in Grade 6 and continued to play four years of collegiate volleyball. Although I played other sports, volleyball consistently stole my heart. For as long as I can remember, I would eat, sleep, and breathe volleyball. One year for my birthday, I got a personalized volleyball, and you would have sworn I had just won the lottery. From September to May, my life revolved around the sport. Although there were moments of extreme exhaustion, frustration, and doubt, the successes and joys outweighed all the bad.
However, it wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows as there was a brief time when I lost my love for the game. I resented going to practice, couldn’t find the joy when I played, and beat myself up mentally when I made a mistake. In Grade 10, I let the mental aspect of the game consume me. I would tell myself things like “you can’t do anything”, “you don’t deserve to be on the court”, and “why are you even trying”. I would cry, and pout, and made it all about myself. I can remember one practice from high school when I had mentally exploded, and my coach kicked me out of practice. I was so infuriated at the time and thought the world was against me. It took a lot of tough love for me to realize that like volleyball, my mental strength also need practice. So often, this aspect of the sport is overlooked. I make it a point now of including classroom sessions into my weekly practice schedule for my players to help build them with the skill set to be mentally solid. To me, there is truly nothing worse than when players quit playing because they lost the love for the game.
In addition, anyone in the world of sport knows that it is impossible to do it alone. Throughout my volleyball career I had multiple individuals that helped me along the way, but Jamie Bach was the one person that truly shaped me into the person I am today. Jamie was my club volleyball coach from Grade 7 to Grade 12 as well as my high school coach for 3 years. I will forever be appreciative of the time, effort, and care that he invested in me. Much of my coaching philosophy now is built from the leadership that Jamie exemplified on a day-to-day basis.
Currently, I coach the senior Griffins volleyball team at Winston Churchill High School here in Lethbridge. I have been in this role for the past 3 years and plan to stay for many more. My goal is to build a program that my players are proud to be a part of. To be a Griffin volleyball player, is more than just wearing orange and blue. It is being a leader on and off the court, it is striving for success in all aspects of life, and it is putting love and care into everything that you do. I want my players to understand that the lessons you learn from sport will carry you through the rest of your life. Too often do people underestimate the power of a team because even during the toughest parts of playing a sport, you will learn leadership, grace, and the importance of teamwork.
Much like when I was an athlete, coaching also takes a village. Looking at my current program, I am extremely lucky to work alongside committed individuals who have bought in to what I am trying to achieve. Luckily enough, I get to coach with Jamie now, my mentor growing up. Another person who I am so grateful to coach with is my dad, Terence Koshman. When I was an athlete, my dad supported me and pushed me in every path that I took. Now as a coach, I get to see him put the same love and care into our Griffin program
Lastly, I am a firm believer in that you need to give back to the community that gave so much growing up. My goal as a coach now is help youth maintain a love for the game and the learning that comes with it. As much as I miss playing volleyball, there is something special to me about coaching. If I can have a profound impact on even just one of my players, I have done my job. Going back to my first point, sport goes so much deeper than the game itself. It gives you family, friends, confidence, opportunities, and memories that last a lifetime. I am truly honored and proud to be a part of the sporting community.
The Lethbridge Sport Council extends a big THANK YOU to Alexa for sharing her experience with us. We look forward to bringing you more stories from local educators in our community.
To see all the Sport For Leadership stories, including Series 1 & 2, please check out the e-magazine below.
Posted January 16, 2023