It was the year 2004 when her coaching career began, coaching a team of developmental athletes 12 years old and under.
She now finds herself as interim head coach of the Cosumnes River College volleyball team, a team she once played for.
For Natalie Wells, volleyball is her passion and she is excited to take on a greater challenge, like coaching her former team.
“I am very excited to step into this new role as the interim head coach for the women’s volleyball program,” Wells said. “Although I was nervous because I have some good shoes to fill, I am excited to take this next step in my coaching career.”
Wells temporarily takes over for Coach Minet Gunther, who has been granted sabbatical leave to further her education.
Having played and been around the game for 14 years, Wells has developed quite a resume.
As a player, she was a libero and captain for both CRC and California State University, Sacramento. She was named Best Defensive Player on the Sac State club team and had some of her best matches at Nationals; a nationwide tournament.
As a coach, she helped lead her team at Franklin High School to the playoffs for the first time in school history. Along with coaching at CRC, she is also currently the coaching director at Sunset Volleyball Club where she coaches the 18 and under team, a team in which she lead to the championship flight of Regionals, the highest of any team in club history.
Her coaching philosophy is simple.
“My coaching philosophy is to train athletes in volleyball as well as preparing my athletes for what will come in life,” Wells said. “Since volleyball is a failure sport, I want my athletes to learn from our mistakes and failures to make us better at everything.”
Like any coach, Wells has expectations, but her expectations don’t necessarily revolve around winning.
“I expect and want my athletes to learn something new about their sport that allows them to fall in love with it over and over again,” she said. “I expect them to work hard and strive to get better.”
With Gunther expected to return next season, Wells will continue to be the assistant coach to the team, but that’s next season. For now, this is her team.
“I want to bring some new things to the program and different things that the athletes hopefully take too.” Wells said.
“She has taught us new drills, a new and positive attitude and a winning mindset that keeps us pushing each other and ourselves,” sophmore outside hitter Hoang Nguyen said.
Win or lose, as long as the athletes take in what she expects them to, she has done her job.
She refers to a quote by Mike Krzyzewski, coach of the men’s basketball team at Duke University and Team USA’s men’s basketball team.
“Sometimes in defeat, you can set the stage for future victory. I wanted to feel good about what they had accomplished. Not to like losing but to like the success they had.”