Don’t mention “those who can’t do, teach” to Sarah Sykes, the only Viera High volleyball head coach in school history.
Upon graduating from Satellite High, the standout outside hitter received a scholarship from the University of Kentucky, where she reached career milestones for attempts (second), kills (third), digs (fourth) and aces (fourth) in the school record book.
However, seven years after hanging up her Wildcat uniform and picking up a whistle for the Hawks, the school’s inaugural volleyball coach decided to try out for the professional Team Florida Wave of the USA Volleyball Florida Region last December.
“It had been a long time since I had put a uniform on, so when I tried out I had no idea what to expect,” Sykes said. “I found myself a better player having coached for so long, because I knew more about the game and strategy. That mental side was stronger.”
The results earned her a spot on the inaugural professional team.
And Sykes, a 2001 Satellite High graduate, has taken away a lot of valuable strategies and tips, as well as a new perspective, from her experiences on her new team.
“I definitely have a lot more drills that I took back from what we did as a player on the Florida Wave,” Sykes said. “I got to bring back some ideas. Our two coaches that we have are great coaches.”
Experiences at the higher level, along with tough competition, should pay dividends for the Hawks as they try and duplicate last season’s district championship. Prior to losing their only match of the year, 3-1, against reigning Class 5A state champion Merritt Island, Viera had won its first three matches without losing a set.
“I think that we were right there with them and just their experience and having that state title behind them, pushed them,” Sykes said.
“The end of the year is what matters.”
The Hawks rebounded with two solid wins this week against New Smyrna Beach and Astronaut before tonight’s 7 p.m. match at Eau Gallie High.
If the Hawks can continue this rise and duplicate last season’s 20-win season, it will take the program to the next level.
And Sykes is prepared for that as well.
“I’ve met a lot of girls on the team that are also college coaches,” Sykes said of her Wave teammates.
“So, hopefully, as my girls get older, I can network (for them).”