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York’s new volleyball coach Sharon Grunthaner said she has two speeds: high and no.
The mother of five children who range in age from 14 to 27, a math teacher during the day and the keeper of domesticated stock that includes Guinea hens and chickens on her 1.5 acres in York County, Grunthaner stays busy during the day keeping up with everything before crashing at night.
This year, Grunthaner is adding a group of teenage girls to her list of responsibilities as she returns to York High for her second stint as the school’s head volleyball coach.
Grunthaner has a long history of coaching volleyball along the Peninsula. In the mid 1990s, Grunthaner started the boys volleyball program at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy before moving to Idaho to coach at multiple schools.
In 2002, Grunthaner returned to Virginia to become the junior varsity volleyball coach at York. After a couple years with York, Grunthaner became the head volleyball coach for Tabb High School.
Her time at Tabb was short-lived and she returned to York in 2007 to become the head coach of the program.
However, her time at York would also be cut short as she was forced to take an eight-year coaching hiatus for personal reasons after one year on the job. She was replaced by Kelly Dreyfuss, who resigned from the position in May after seven years.
Once Grunthaner learned York had an opening for a math teacher and needed a new head volleyball coach, the timing seemed right to resume her coaching and teaching careers. Grunthaner has had to modify her coaching style after taking so much time off, however.
“When I ended [last time], I could still play,” she joked. “I’m in my 50s and I’ve had a couple injuries, so I can’t demonstrate like I used to. It’s a whole new learning experience for me because I can’t do it. I have to come up with more creative ways.”
One of the biggest changes Grunthaner has had to make is curbing her frenzied personality during games and practices. In an effort to keep her team in a healthy mental state, Grunthaner maintains a calm demeanor on the sidelines even when plays or calls are not going her team’s way.
“I try to stay as even-keeled as I can, so they stay even-keeled,” said Grunthaner, who tries to focus on the positives in any situation. “Even if we’re playing poorly, I have to find something positive to say because I don’t want to cut them down or bring them down.”
As Grunthaner spends more time with her players, she hopes her positive outlook on things will begin to rub off on a group of players she thinks is a bit “down on themselves.”
Grunthaner is convinced about one thing: As York’s mentality improves, so will the results. If her first months on the job are any indicator, she appears to be on her way to achieving her goal of improving both.
Despite an 0-3 record, the Falcons have been playing their opponents tough during the start of the 2015 season, as they showed when they took Lafayette to four sets in their most recent match.