As Head Coach Clyfe Beckwith enters his 19th season coaching Andover Girls Volleyball, he has led the team to three New England Preparatory School Athletic Conference (Nepsac) Championships and two second place finishes.
Prior to coming to Andover in 1998, Coach Beckwith played volleyball competitively in Switzerland, both in high school and for the Zürich Select team. He also played for the Dartmouth varsity-club team for four years. After many years of playing experience, Coach Beckwith has created a strong coaching philosophy.
Coach Beckwith said, “ ‘Fun first, Team second, Individual last.’ All drills after warm up tend to incorporate the team dynamic. You can’t hit unless you get a set, can’t set unless you get a dig. Sportsmanship is also a huge component of who we are; we tend to annoy referees because we call touches on ourselves awarding the point to the other side.”
According to Co-Captain Claudia Leopold ’18, Coach Beckwith balances a passion for the game with a calm and collected attitude.
“Clyfe has always been a source of calmness and composure on the court. He is very compassionate and sincere, which comes across in his coaching. He is also very passionate about the sport and team. During games, he squats on the sidelines and he sometimes dives with the back row or hits with the front row,” said Leopold.
One of Coach Beckwith’s most admirable qualities is his positive attitude and care for each of his players, according to Chioma Ugwonali ’20 and Violet Enes ’21.
“Coach is an absolutely awesome guy, and he is such a great role model. He always reminds us that we are an exceptional team and that honesty, whether that be if we touched the ball or if we are not feeling well enough to practice or play, is the best policy,” said Ugwonali. “Coach is so encouraging and light-hearted, [and] he believes in me when I do not believe in myself. He is hands-down the one of the best coaches I have ever had and is one of the most inspiring people in my life.”
“[Coach Beckwith] does not foster an aggressive or competitive environment. Rather, it is an environment where we boost each other up and everything is done for the team. I know if we are winning by a lot he gets really hyped up and excited, but if we are behind, he does not yell at us or blame anyone. He helps us by telling us what to improve on. He is always positive and just an amazing guy,” said Enes.
According to Leopold, Coach Beckwith also strives to create a place where all players feel welcome, with his focus being on the team and on having fun.
“He has a lot of faith in us as players and lets us play and think for ourselves on the court. My relationship with him has not changed significantly since becoming captain because he trusts all of his players so much,” said Leopold.
“He was very helpful even before I stepped foot on campus and he was really welcoming once I got to PA. I don’t think that I would have played volleyball if it wasn’t for him. He told me when I first came that he is not trying to mold college players, he is just trying to have us have fun while playing the game that we all love,” said Enes.
Coach Beckwith also creates a fun environment off the court by hosting team dinners and keeping a sense of humor in order to build up chemistry, according to Leopold.
Leopold said, “My favorite Coach Clyfe traditions are weekly pasta team dinners with garlic bread and Klondike bars, a weird combo but it would be weird to have anything else at this point.”
According to Coach Beckwith, he hopes to have a successful season, but is also thankful for the time he gets to spend with the team regardless of its final record.
“Our goal is to play the best volleyball we can by the end of the season, and for me personally, I am most excited about spending afternoons with such a wonderfully fun and talented group,” said Coach Beckwith.