Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi! My name is Kassiya A. and I’m a young female athlete and coach! I began playing volleyball when I was 10 years old and now am currently playing my 5th season of rep volleyball in 16U. My older sister has been a big part of my volleyball journey. She was my first coach, teammate, and inspiration in the sport. Although she no longer plays, we’ll always have a shared love and passion for the game. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to help coach in the grassroots program that my volleyball club runs for both court and beach volleyball. It has been a great experience being able to get involved since my early years of playing is where my passion for volleyball began. As a young Black and Asian athlete and aspiring coach, I would love to see more representation and increased accessibility for BIPOC youth, especially girls! Sports have had a huge positive impact on my self-image, lifestyle choices, teamwork skills, and many other aspects of my life. I would love these opportunities for other girls just like me! In addition, I would love to see more BIPOC women and girls in leadership roles involving sports. One of my passions off the court has always been performing arts. My drama teacher recognized my leadership qualities and offered me a stage manager role for this year’s spring production. I eagerly accepted knowing that my coaching and sports experiences have prepared me for this!
What is an issue or topic you are passionate about or would like to see changed?
As I said earlier, I would love to see more representation and increased accessibility for BIPOC youth, especially girls. My positive experiences with sports taught me so much about
teamwork, and about myself! It has also opened up many amazing opportunities (like this one) and I’d love for girls like me to have those same experiences. I’m really interested in coaching and have been really inspired by Coach Katie. Not only does she coach and teach us volleyball, but she emphasizes the importance of girls and women in sports, and girls supporting girls. The pandemic was difficult for athletes, but my coach and club kept the team engaged even if it was on zoom. They invited guest speakers and we got to listen to incredible female athlete and coaches such as Melissa Humana-Paredes and Alix Krahn.
What specific strategies would you like to see parents, coaches or sport administrators do to improve diversity in sport or progress your cause?
I would love to see parents encourage their daughters to play sports and just be active. Both my parents have been so supportive about me playing sports but my mom especially thought it was important. She’s told me that growing up she always wanted to play soccer but never had the opportunity, which is why she’s so glad I found volleyball. I’d like to see more volleyball programs that encourage BIPOC youth, from grassroots to high performance. I think that funding and program support could help make programs more accessible to BIPOC youth. I also think that seeing more BIPOC coaches and leadership, especially BIPOC women would encourage BIPOC girls to get involved.
What is your favourite leadership quote?
My favourite quote is, “It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.” This quote reminds me of my late grandmother. She would say it to people all the time and even said it in her voicemail greeting. It’s my favourite quote and I believe it’s true. When you think of people, you will always remember how they made you feel. As a leader or coach, showing kindness can make all the difference. It can make a difference in how you receive their advice, and how you feel about yourself, and what you believe you can do.
I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks recently. They’re great for drives on the way to practice and tournaments, especially away tournaments. I am currently listening to Atomic Habits by James Clear and I think it is great for athletes or really just anyone trying to improve themselves by making small 1% changes every day.