With experience playing for Switzerland’s National Junior Volleyball Team, Clyfe Beckwith brings a deep understanding of the sport to Andover as he begins his twenty-first year as Head Coach of Andover Girls Volleyball. While in college, Coach Beckwith also played on the Dartmouth College Club Volleyball team, as Dartmouth did not have a competitive team at the time.
Coach Beckwith’s coaching principles center around a holistic view of each player’s success on and off the court, including their overall health, academic performance, and interpersonal relationships.
“What I tell the girls is that my priorities are their health, their family, their academics, the team, and them as individual players. So they all know what those priorities are, and the most important thing is that they have fun,” said Coach Beckwith.
Through his clear dedication to the team’s overall health and wellbeing, Coach Beckwith stands out as both a leader on the court and in the Andover community, according to Captain Serena Liu ’19.
“He has this list of five expectations that he always talks about… I think that [this list] sets an amazing tone for the team and the community in general because it exemplifies how much he cares for each one of us as a player, a student, and a person,” said Liu.
Liu continued, “Coach Beckwith was, for me, personally, my first adult mentor on campus. [Junior] Year, he was one of the first interactions I had, especially through the volleyball team. All four years, I’ve never ceased to be amazed by his level of care and compassion for the team and each player.”
Along with his extensive knowledge and deep love of the sport, Coach Beckwith never fails to enjoy his time coaching.
“Coach [Beckwith] has told us that coaching is a really important part of his life. He’s really happy to just be there. I guess you can see that because he’s been coaching the team for twenty years, and you can see that he has a lot of experience. He’s seen a lot of different kinds of players, and he knows a lot of different strategies to help us,” said Mudmee Sereeyothin ’20.
According to returning player Brooklyn Wirt ’21, one of Coach Beckwith’s best qualities is his genuine care for all the members of the team, as shown in the meals he cooks for the team each week.
Wirt wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “He really cares about everyone on the team and their wellbeing. While, obviously, we all want to win, he also cares a lot about team unity and [our health as individuals]. He has great character, and is an important figure on campus who has to deal with a lot but still makes time for our practice, games, and the team dinner he cooks for us every Friday.”
Liu continued, “The first [team] tradition that comes to mind is our family-style dinners that are on Friday nights during the season. [Coach Beckwith] always cooks the most amazing pasta and bakes bread for us, lathered in garlic sauce. That’s one of the most memorable traditions, and the fact that he takes the time out of his very busy schedule to host us in his home and cook for us is just another aspect of him that I think really shows how much he cares for us and really wants us to excel at what we do.”
Keeping with the theme of his team dinners, one of Coach Beckwith’s biggest goals for the season is to bring the girls together and to create a more cohesive team.
Coach Beckwith said, “I would like this team to gel in terms of chemistry so that we can all know where the other person’s going to be before they know it, so we can cover for them whether in defense or in offense. And when we achieve that, we will go into the tournament.”