Volleyball South Australia is delighted to announce Rachel Orchard (Rourke) has been appointed as the VSA Performance Pathway Head Coach - Performance and Talent.
Rachel has an incredible history in the world of volleyball, often referred to as one of the most successful indoor volleyball players to ever come out of Australia. Rachel attended Oregon State University in her early years, and went on to play a total of 10 professional seasons abroad in countries such as Italy, Poland, South Korea and China, whilst also competing with the Australian National Team.
Rachel has most recently joined the Australian Women's National Team as their assistant coach.
Speaking on her new position with Volleyball SA, Rachel said: "I feel so fortunate to be offered the Head Coach position at VSA. Even though I am not originally from SA, I have spent many years volunteer coaching and also training with the athletes involved with the VSA program during the off-season of my professional career.
The athletes have always been so welcoming and responsive to my attendance, and I really look forward to being apart of the current, and future, athletes development and sharing our love for volleyball."
Volleyball South Australia CEO, Karla Della-Pietra, added: “We are delighted, and privileged to have Australia's greatest volleyball athlete leading our pathway into the next phase.
The pathway underwent a major restructure 18-months ago, and has since become the best of it's kind in Australia.
Rachel's experience and knowledge of volleyball is second-to-none, and to have her developing South Australia's up and coming athletes is hugely beneficial."
When asked about what she is most looking forward to, Rachel said: "I can’t wait to get stuck in, meet the athletes and really engage with what the previous coaches have accomplished in the last couple of years.
I believe I’ve got a similar coaching philosophy to them, and I hope I can continue on the incredible work that they have been doing."
Volleyball SA recently farewelled former Pathways Head Coach, Joey Yigit, who accepted the role of National Development Assistant Coach - Men's Beach Volleyball. When asked about Rachel's appointment, Joey said: "I can speak with a sense of pride, and excitement, that the succeeding Head Coach – Performance and Talent will be Rachel. She should not need an introduction - Australia’s greatest and most successful indoor volleyball athlete."
Rachel's experience as a player is something she values highly when it comes to coaching, in knowing what an individual athlete needs and creating a supportive environment.
Rachel has said: "I believe [a supportive environment] is crucial to their development as an athlete in driving individual and team success and also in helping them set themselves up for life outside of sport.
I look forward to building on the technical abilities that the previous coaches have laid a strong foundation for and pushing their limits on what the athletes believe is possible."