Austin Tuan ’17 began playing volleyball in the fourth grade after years of trying out a multitude of sports. Now, nearly a decade later, Tuan serves as one of the two Co-Captains of Andover Boys Volleyball.
Tuan said, “As a child my mom wanted me to try every sport, so I just ran through all the sports and volleyball was the one that stuck.”
Volleyball has come to play an important role in Tuan’s life. According to Tuan, being a member of Andover’s team has played a crucial role in his time spent here.
Tuan said, “I think what is really most important to me about our team here is the chemistry and the people on it and the camaraderie we have. I think that’s what I like most about our team, that’s what I’m going to remember about our team, and I really appreciate getting to know a lot of the people on the team that I wouldn’t have gotten to otherwise know.”
At Andover, Tuan has made lifelong friends in his teammates, who come from all playing levels and backgrounds.
Tuan said, “I think that because volleyball isn’t a varsity sport in the way that a lot of other sports are really well established as varsity sports on campus — like football and basketball and things like that — you get a motley crew of people from a lot of different backgrounds. Because of that I have met a lot of people I wouldn’t have met otherwise, so I’m really happy that I got the chance to do that.”
Aside from allowing him to develop incredible friendships with his teammates, being a member of the team has taught Tuan the power that comes from learning from his mistakes.
Tuan said, “I think in volleyball, I mean I guess it’s any team sport, it’s really important to always remember that you’re going to make mistakes. No one is going to play a perfect game, and so what’s really important is being able to come back and forget what happened, what went wrong, and still be able to play your best and not drag the rest of the team down.”
Head Coach Clyfe Beckwith commends Tuan with his impressive leadership and his ability to remind the team that it is alright to make mistakes.
Coach Beckwith said, “He brings his enthusiasm to the court; he brings his knowledge of the game. He brings his camaraderie; he goes and talks to folks who made a mistake and lets them know it’s okay.”
Coach Beckwith also acknowledged Tuan’s growth as a player and as a leader while at Andover.
Coach Beckwith said, “Well definitely as a leader he’s more of a role model now, he has always hit strongly, he’s always put a lot of speed on the ball when he hits. First of all he’s always been a good volleyball player, he came with very good fundamental skills, and what he has learned is to control his hits.”
“What he has learned is to adjust his jump, his hit, so that the ball would go in, but even more so than that, what has happened is that he plays smart. Now he knows that there is a block up, he hits it at a certain angle so that it hits the block and goes out,” continued Coach Beckwith. According to Tuan, his leadership style is centered around his growth mindset and also his knowledge of the game.
Tuan said, “I think in practice I am a lot more critical of the players. I think because a lot of our players are still new to the sport, I think it’s important to always give them guidance. At practice I’ve tried to guide the younger players and tell them some of the things that I’ve learned through my years of playing volleyball and things that the coaches had told me before and that’s what I try to do day to day.”
Newcomer Neil Simpson ’19 greatly appreciates Tuan’s role as a welcoming, guiding captain.
Simpson said, “Austin has been awesome bringing me onto the team. He definitely made it really easy to transition to the team. I was really comfortable right away. He’s definitely a very vocal leader.”
“It’s really easy to know what he’s expecting, to know what’s going through his head, and it’s really easy to know what you’re supposed to be doing on the court because he’ll just let you know, like if you make a mistake he’ll just tell you ‘you were supposed to there’ and just help you in any way you need,” continued Simpson.