ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Beach volleyball head coach Michelle Piantadosi-Lima is both a leader on the sidelines and a confidant in everyday life at Eckerd College.
Her role as the athletic department assistant director of student well-being is one the Florida native takes great pride in, and one that seeps into her coaching philosophy.
“I believe a lot in balance, I believe in treating the athlete as a whole person, helping them find a passion outside of just volleyball,” Piantadosi-Lima said. “So I put a lot of those methods into my coaching.”
Clearly, her methods have worked early on in 2020 as the Tritons sit at 5-1 so far this season. While she spoke about her group’s success with great pride, she believes the job is not done if they hope to meet their high expectations.
“We have a lot of work to do,” she said, preparing for practice at the beach courts. “I think our goal is to win the AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) championships. I mean, I think top two, I’d be happy with top two.
“But we’re really far from that right now. We have a lot of work to do.”
Her investment in the group is clear in her words, but Piantadosi-Lima insists the success of the team will be determined by the players themselves at the end of the day with her playing days back in Tennessee behind her.
“It’s on them, it’s their journey. I tell them all the time I’ve already played, so this isn’t about me anymore. This is about me providing you with the opportunity to reach your potential as a team.”
The coaching staff is rounded out by the assistant coach and former Tritons player Kali Boatwright. Ahead of the 2020 season, Boatwright hoped her team would be known “as the hardest working team”.
While Piantadosi-Lima believes her group is on the right track to accomplish that, she remains adamant it’s about consistency each and every day.
“That’s something that we actually talked about yesterday after our game versus Tusculum, I said, ‘You have to check in every day and say, Did I give everything I got? And is there more in me?’
Because you don’t want a day to go by where you had a little bit more left.”