Cody Michaels recently began her first season as head coach of the Branford High School volleyball team, and she feels extremely enthusiastic about being in that role. In May, Cody graduated from Quinnipiac University, where she was a four-year member of the women’s volleyball team and enjoyed plenty of success as the Bobcats’ libero. Cody finished her collegiate career with 1,004 career digs.
Cody, who brings some coaching experience to the Hornets, has been working with her team for the past several weeks, and she’s excited that the season has finally arrived.
“We’re going to play to our strengths. We have a good amount of players that play defense pretty well, so it’s definitely my goal to make defense our strength. I want us to have a scrappiness about us where I want to be the team that is running down balls and making beautiful diving plays and saves,” Cody says. “I’m over the moon ecstatic. I have an amazing group of girls my first year, and they work so hard, which makes my job that much easier. I want these girls to win and do it the right way. We’ve worked a lot on skills, and I’ve seen a significant amount of improvement from week one to week two. It’s cool to see as a coach.”
Cody is only a few years older than most of her players, but she’s making sure that they view her as more of a coach than a friend. After having recently served as a leader on a college squad, Cody knows how to push the right buttons, and is planning on emphasizing excellent technique with the Hornets.
“I’m the youngest and shortest coach in the conference now. I blend right in with all of my girls. As a leader of 24 college girls and now 24 high school girls, I know how to gain their respect and the right things to say. I know what it takes to get followers and know how to find those willing to lead,” says Cody. “Going from a player to a coach is hard, but I know what I liked, and didn’t like as a player. Seeing what worked, I can apply that as a coach. I’m a young coach, so I have to earn their respect and show them that I’m not their best friend. I don’t like running as unnecessary punishment. My focus is on their skills. I don’t want to waste time turning them into a cross country team, because they’re a volleyball team.”
Cody did some coaching with the Connecticut Junior Volleyball Association during the past few years. She worked alongside a few of her fellow area coaches, including East Haven High School volleyball Head Coach Craig Brown, who suggested Cody apply for the Branford job because of her knowledge.
“She’s very determined and levelheaded. She understands what needs to get done to make sure she gets the most of out everyone she works with,” Brown says. “It’s a hard transition [going from player to coach], but she has good determination, and a strong head on her shoulders. She can read what is happening and make adjustments to push her kids to be winners.”
Cody grew up in Kentucky and says the state is a hotbed for volleyball. Now, Cody is looking to turn Branford into one, too, as she begins putting her stamp on the program.
“Kentucky is a huge volleyball hub. I grew up in some awesome programs. They’re a powerhouse, so I take great pride in the knowledge I gained from those programs,” says Cody. “To this day, I coach things in the manner they coached me. I hope to do that and influence someone the way I was. I know I have a long run, but I can hope big for the future. I also have an awesome support staff who I know will help me succeed.”