Meet Coach Nev
When I was 8 yo, I started my career in Belgrade, Serbia, a country with an eminent volleyball tradition. My first venue was the School of Volleyball Blok-Aut with Coach Slobodan Trpkovic and Sale Petrovich, where I was taught volleyball fundamentals and developed my passion for volleyball. I learned dedication by practicing every night from 8-11pm, on weekends, and during summer breaks. After a few years of training, I joined the competitive club Postar under Coach Zorica Lazic. She taught me toughness and how to get the most out of my ability. By the time I was 14, I was a member of the National Youth Volleyball Team in which we won the Balkan Championship.
At 18yo, I received a full athletic schollarship from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I left the comfort of my home, family, and friends to take on a new life in United States. Transition to the new country, new language, and all the demands of the college-athlete life was bittersweet. I was torn between two things: nostalgia and adaptation in a new country, and the immediate success as a student athlete. At the time, it wasn't clear to me if the choice I made was right, but now looking back, I wouldn't do anything different. I am always going to be grateful for the opportunity and education provided to me at UAB.
At the end of my senior year at UAB, I received every award that a Division I athlete can ever dream of, includingSetter of the Year Conference USA, All-Midwest Region Team, and AVCA All-American Honorable Mention as well as being voted as the Conference USA Setter of the week 7 times.
My sophomore year, we won the Conference USA championship. In the pre-season of the same year, the other teams and coaches did not see the UAB Volleyball team as competition. We fought hard and match by match we came to the finals of Conference USA and defeated Memphis 3:2 at C-USA Tournament in Houston. We earned our first bid to the NCAA Tournament and proved to the other teams that we indeed were competition.
Unfortunately, during the 2007-2008 academic year, we were in C-USA Championship games but fell short. My senior year we earned a large bid to NCAA Tournament and trip to Nebraska. We went to the second round of NCAA Tournament and were defeated by Nebraska on their home court in front of 5,000+ people. That was the last match I ever played.
Even though my career on the court was over, this marked the beginning of my coaching career. I began my coaching career at the UAB summer camps. There I discovered the another dimension of volleyball--the sideline dimension. I felt I needed to learn the sport all over again. Later, I coached 3 seasons for club Sting (Southern Performance) and 2 seasons for Alabama Juniors.
Coaching is a very rewarding career. Through my journey as a player, I have learned how important the coach is in the athlete's life. I have had a good coaches and some...not so good. Both, good and bad, groomed me to be better coach today.
I am committed to be the coach that will always inspire a player and be a positive influence in their life. Often, athletes only need somebody to push them and believe in them.
Inspiring young girls to train, get better, and dream big is my passion and my calling.
Lets not forget the education. I am beyond blessed that both, my undergraduate degree in Psychology and graduate degree in Clinical Nutrition/ Dietetics were provided by UAB. The understanding of psychology and nutrition, admiration for healthy lifestyle, and an enormous positive attitude play an important role in embeding positive mental and physical habits in young athletes.
My first job after UAB was at the D1 Sports Training. I expanded my coaching knowledge in the aspects of speed, strength, and agility. I cannot emphasize enough how much of a difference physical readiness can have in volleyball performance. You will hear me say: " You don't play sport to get fit, you get fit to play sport."
As a Business Manager:
Sometimes, life throws you away from your comfort zone. I have been blessed enough that I've been thrown into Dr. Young Choi's hands. I managed his Ophthalmology practice and so far, he is the best Coach/Mentor I ever had. He pushed me daily to do better and influenced me to make the right decisions, and that is the coach's most important task. I resigned my position at inVision and committed to coaching full time in Spring 2016.
Managing an office is very similar to leading a team on the court. A team works together towards same goal and vision.
I want to teach my athletes that athletics is not the end. It is a stepping stool to real life. Athletics teaches you sacrifice, dedication, team work, work ethic, working under pressure, communication, leadership, constructive criticism, vulnerability, and belonging. All those qualities are crucial in a work environment.
Coaching volleyball made me a better office manager. Managing an office, made me a better volleyball coach.
It took me 5 years to build my clientele, to finally cut the cord, and to open Block Out Volleyball Academy, LLC. It took me another 6 months to fully commit my life and time to coaching.
The name of the Academy is the namesake of my first volleyball team. I hope that all the the training I provide here at Block Out give each athlete experiences that make sound differences in the experiences outside of the Academy at school, clubs, and college. I hope they will be inspired to carry on a passion for this sport to younger generations even after they've completed training and playing this amazing sport!