Since entering the Andover Boys Volleyball program in 1999, Head Coach Clyfe Beckwith has led his team to two Founding Four Tournament wins in 2007 and 2010. First competing in high school, then at Dartmouth College, and then for a regional team in Zürich, Switzerland, Beckwith has faced a long list of strong opponents on the court himself. With his years of experience playing the game, Beckwith possesses a special knowledge of the sport which he is able to pass on to his players.
“I was one of the taller players on my high school’s volleyball team. My twin brother and I had a distinct advantage as a setter/hitter combo; we had a lot of fun. At Dartmouth I learned about competitive training, playing with multiple attack and defense options,” said Beckwith in an email to The Phillipian.
“Clyfe gets me as a person, before anything else. He says the main order of importance of things is your health, your family, your academics, your team, and then you. Those are the five, in that order. So Clyfe understands that volleyball’s important, and a lot of us really want to do well — he’ll push us to that success — but at the same time, he’s a human, and he’s empathetic, and he fully understands that you need time to yourself,” said Jackson Lee ’17.
Coach Beckwith also works closely with Coach Victor Svec, who serves as an assistant coach to the Andover Girls Volleyball, and is the head coach of Andover Boys JV Volleyball. According to Svec, Beckwith’s philosophy is not based solely on technique and skill on the court, but also on unity and enjoyment.
Svec said, “We work as one. His thoughts and my thoughts mesh on absolutely every aspect of the game. The first and foremost is that you should have fun. On top of that, you should play for the team and not for yourself. Coach Beckwith is a master of putting the right people together and having them play for each other, not just with each other.”
Coach Beckwith achieves this by fostering an inclusive environment on and off the court, and welcoming newcomers openly.
Sami El Solh ’18 said, “We have team dinners every single week, where he cooks at his house, and it’s very special. It’s a lot of team bonding, and it’s not a team, but a family.”
Coach Beckwith emphasizes improvement, and focuses on developing and training each and every one of his players.
Coach Svec said, “A good coach has to be knowledgeable, has to know how to teach the sport and then, after teaching the sport, has to be able to encourage people people to go beyond what they think they can personally do.”
“He’s coached volleyball for longer than I’ve been alive, so he really knows how to do the sport. He can see when the team’s tired, he knows when we need to cancel practice, or when we need to run stairs, when we need to pick up our game,” said Rawit Assamongkol ’18.
While many coaches are called by their last name by their athletes, Beckwith does away with formalities, and his athletes typically call him Clyfe instead, giving rise to the Andover Volleyball motto “Clyfe is Lyfe”.
“Clyfe has all of our utmost respect while still treating us as equals; that’s why we call him Clyfe,” said Ben Meyer ’18.
Lee said, “In a lot of student-to-faculty kind of relationships, students will be in a certain place, and having a certain conversation, and when a faculty member shows up, the tone changes. With Clyfe, it’s not like that. Clyfe is a genuine member of our team.”