Q&A With Salima Rockwell

November 12, 2018


Sports Imports is thrilled to announce that Salima Rockwell will be a part of Coffee with Coaches at this year’s AVCA Convention in Minneapolis. Rockwell is a 4-time NCAA Championship Coach and currently the Director of Volleyball Innovation at Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, CA.  She and top-ranked Stanford Head Coach Kevin Hambly will field questions from coaches in all aspects of the sport during an hour-long roundtable discussion during the convention.

In preparation for Coffee with Coaches, Coach Rockwell shared some insight into her new role at Sports Academy and how life has changed since retiring from coaching.

1. You have made big changes in the past year! How have you adjusted to your new life after a career change and a move across the country?

It’s been crazy, fun, and a bit stressful at the same time but I’m adjusting well! Having the weekends to spend with my family and even sleep in a bit (Gasp!) has been a welcome change of pace.  We love Austin and our family is happy to be back in this vibrant town.

 2. What is your favorite thing about your new role as Director of Volleyball Innovation with Sports Academy?

I love the variety of my work in my new role at The Sports Academy. I am doing some consulting, individual lessons, working with coaches, shooting instructional videos, working on an app, and a whole lot more. So it’s been fun to kind of create my own job description and have the flexibility to be creative in my job.

 3. Many were surprised by your decision to retire from coaching.  With this volleyball season in full swing, do you miss being on the sidelines?

The decision to retire from college coaching was one I took VERY seriously and certainly wasn’t an easy one. With that said, the time I have had with my own children since my departure has been invaluable so it’s a decision I don’t regret.  As far as this season goes, it’s incredibly hard not being on the sidelines – I LOVE match time and working with the girls on a daily basis, so when I watch as a spectator all I want to do is run out on the court and help!

 4. Can you talk about some of the obstacles you’ve encountered during your career?  How have overcoming those obstacles impacted where you are today?

The biggest obstacle I’ve encountered as a college coach was the time constraints I had with my own family. Balance isn’t actually possible so you do the best to be fully present and engaged with them when time allows. Being ‘on call’ 24/7 with recruits made that tough. I tried to implement a no electronics rule during dinner, but I ended up being the biggest culprit in my own set of rules.

I think all of that it taught me to be patient and quite possibly a better parent than I otherwise may have been. I understand the value of our time together and just how precious those moments truly are.

 5. Looking at your journey with volleyball, you are a true example of someone who puts their passion into action.  Can you describe how you your passion for the sport drives you every day?

Well, thank you for saying that! I try to put my all into everything I do in life and enjoy the process along the way. Being passionate about volleyball turned into being passionate about the young women I coached; it truly became my mission to do any and everything in my power to help them succeed on and off the court. This has helped shape how I am with my family, my work and anything else I get involved in. The reward, in the end, is too great to live life any other way.

 6. If you could give one piece of advice to coaches—young and old, veteran and new, what would it be?

Don’t forget the reason you got into coaching. It always has been and should always be about the kids. When you lose sight of that you lose sight of everything. Coaching with their best interest in mind is the most beneficial thing you can do for them and the most fulfilling thing you can do for yourself.



To learn more about Sports Academy Volleyball Club, visit their website here.

To register for a chance to win a seat at Coffee with Coaches at the 2018 AVCA Convention, visit our webpage here.