By JACK ROSSI
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa volleyball team is taking a different approach to leadership beginning this fall.
Rather than appoint select members of the team to leadership roles, the program has revamped what leadership and accountability looks like for the Hawkeyes by separating the team into leadership groups.
“The propose of the groups is to distribute the responsibility of holding a team accountable and cultivate those with leadership qualities,” UI head coach Vicki Brown said.
Last spring, Brown began implementing the concept that she has had since before she coached at Iowa and presented the idea to her staff, explaining that each person will be placed into one of three groups – Delta Force, Seal Team 6, and The Rangers – based on traits and characteristics identified by their peers.
"More players have been able to find their voice. All players want to feel they were able to contribute to the team wins."Head coach Vicki Brown
“More players have been able to find their voice,” Brown said of the leadership groups. “All players want to feel they were able to contribute to the team wins.”
Junior Hannah Clayton, a member of Delta Force, explained how she was selected for her group.
“In the spring when we were still on campus practicing, the coaching staff had different character traits and descriptions up on the white board and we each had a slip of paper for each member of the team,” Clayton said. “We placed everyone’s names but our own in the cup under the description that best fit them and their leadership style.”
After each group was created, Clayton and the seven other members of her group were tasked with a motto of their group. Clayton and her teammates began by analyzing what they have in common.
“Delta Force is team focused and exemplifies unity in the way we keep everyone connected. We work daily to uphold our team’s standards while bringing an upbeat and fun spirit to team activities and our program culture,” Clayton added. “We are able to find the happy medium between fun and focus and balance the team out well.”
According to Clayton, these groups not only help off the court, but on as the team continues to prepare for a possible spring season.
“Everyone in the Delta Force group is extremely people driven and very intentional with their relationships with others on the team which definitely contributes to a positive team chemistry,” she said. “We are all vocal and know what others need from us to be successful on the court and are able to build others up in a way specific to them.”
Clayton sees her group as the glue of the team in many aspects after seeing what each individual brings to the program. For Brown and the future of leadership in Iowa volleyball, this is just the start of a new wave of accountability and leadership.
“This will be long-term,” Brown said. “The group’s description will remain, but the mottos could change because the players write them.”