Summers are meant for relaxing, vacationing and overall nonsense for most. Not for Boise State redshirt sophomore outside hitter Katelyn Kinghorn and her coach Shawn Garus, who both spent much of the summer improving their skills overseas.
Before starting his fourth season as head coach for the Broncos volleyball team, and the 11th of his career, Garus joined a USA development team as an assistant coach for the China-USA Challenge Invitational Tournament in China in June, where he helped lead a team of Division I collegiate athletes against professional team in China.
Kinghorn, on the other hand, played in the European Global Challenge in Pula, Croatia, with a team composed of select collegiate athletes from the Western United States.
Both teams were organized by Bring It Promotions, an organization that promotes volleyball in the U. S. by sponsoring teams to play overseas.
Though Kinghorn gained valuable on-court training, she wasn’t the only one developing her game this summer. Coach Garus used his trip as a way to improve his skills as a coach and bring back valuable lessons to share with his players in Boise.
“It was a great opportunity for me professionally to see a different style of volleyball and also to work with some USA pipeline athletes who have aspirations of playing professionally or even making the Olympic team in the future.”
Garus’ team held three practice over one day and a half and then flew 16 hours to China to begin their trek to the six-day tournament. He enjoyed the opportunity, but expressed that leading an international team, while still recruiting high school athletes, is exhausting.
“I love the opportunity to broaden my scope as a coach and help the USA athletes, but it’s also very taxing,” Garus said. “There’s a lot of time out of town and that was very taxing on my family to be gone that much.”
Kinghorn had a similarly hectic schedule, flying into Vienna, Austria, to meet up with other players and practice before leaving for Maribor, Slovenia, to further prepare for the tournament. She then made way for Pula, Croatia, to play in the tournament, all in nine days time before returning to the States.
“I definitely brought back more confidence, and being able to play good volleyball and start early was good for me,” Kinghorn said. “(The foreign players) had a lot of gusto and they just go for it every time; all out.”
The talent level in China is very high, being that there are multiple professional leagues in the region, so Garus used the opportunity to share ideas with his own team back home.
“I took the iPad with me and I took a lot of video of how the Chinese teams were training, and how fast they played, and came back and shared that with our staff and some of our players,” Garus said. “We have a lot of new training ideas for our team here at Boise State.”
Boise State begins their 2013-14 season Aug. 30 against Washington in the Northwest Challenge held in Portland, Ore.