Volleyball Canada


Coach Profile: Shanice Marcelle

“Continue to ask questions and be proactive in finding ways you can improve yourself.”

When Shanice Marcelle is not on the beach representing Canada, she is behind the bench for the York University Lions as an assistant coach.

Marcelle is well-known for her impressive university playing days and time with the Canadian national teams, both on the beach and on the court. She was a star in university volleyball, helping the University of British Columbia’s Thunderbirds to five-straight National Championships while winning two National Player of the Year awards, a National Championship MVP, and the BLG Award as the 2013 Female Athlete of the Year (any sport) in the process.

She joined the Canadian senior national volleyball team in 2011 while playing professionally in Germany. In 2014, she helped her professional team to a league championship and represented Canada at the FIVB World Championship. She remains on the beach volleyball national team and joined the Lions staff as an assistant coach in 2018.

Volleyball Canada recently had a chance to talk with Marcelle about her coaching career and some general thoughts on coaching in the sport.

Volleyball Canada: How did you transition into coaching?  Was it something that you always thought about?

Shanice Marcelle: In 2017, when I moved to Toronto, I tore my ACL and had to rehab for about a year. I wanted to find ways to still be involved in the volleyball community even though I could not play or practice myself. I got involved with coaching camps and then the following summer I decided to apply for Team Ontario as an assistant coach and was even named head coach of Region 5’s beach volleyball teams for the Ontario Summer Games. In the years leading up to that, I definitely thought about coaching - I love giving back to the community and interacting with developing players.

VC: Who supported you in the journey?  Do you have any mentors?

SM: I feel as though I have been supported in my journey by every coach that I have ever had. Doug Reimer, Lee Carter, Joely Christian to name a few. I also recently took part in the Coaching Association of Canada’s mentorship program for women in sport and had the opportunity to learn from an experienced soccer coach.

VC: How do you find the balance in playing for the Beach national team and coaching indoor?

SM: I consider myself really lucky that I am able to do both. (Head coach) Jen Neilson at York is really accepting and supportive of my role as a national team athlete. Luckily, the majority of the sports season falls during my off-season so I’m able to work around my training schedule to be a visible and active coach in our gym.

VC: Do you think being a player and a coach at the same time helps your game? Does it help you as a coach?

SM: Absolutely. I think it helps me both ways. I feel like every day I’m learning something new on the beach whether it’s from my teammate, my coach, or an opponent so I try to think about how my learning as an athlete can apply to my teaching. Similarly, because I am an active coach, I am no longer consumed by my own personal failures and can see things through a lighter lens which I think helps me progress quicker.

VC: What are you most proud of in your playing career?

SM: I am most proud of my ability to persevere after setbacks and challenges. I’ve had to overcome two major surgeries to get back to a high level and previous to that I had to learn how to manage my struggling confidence. A few highlights that stick out for me would be walking the Canadian team into the opening ceremonies of the FISU games in Kazan as flag bearer, and scoring the last four points in a championship match to repeat as German league champions.

VC: What has been the biggest hurdle for you in your coaching career and how did you get through it?

SM: I think my biggest hurdle in coaching would be myself. Because I am still a player and not fully transitioned into that role of coach I often have a lot of doubts on what I can provide to younger athletes. I have to constantly remind myself that though I am not an experienced coach, I am an experienced player and I have a wealth of knowledge and understanding that I can help young athletes relate to.

VC: How does coaching differ from playing?

SM: I think coaching requires more knowledge of the finer details of the game. Technical and tactical knowledge and how to implement that for your team as well as learning how to manage the ebbs and flows of a season.

VC: What are you most proud of in your coaching career?

SM: I am most proud of being a member and contributing to the Lions women’s volleyball program at York University. In two years with the team, I’ve been greatly impacted by the incredible young women that I have the honour of working with. As we look towards the future, I’m really excited to see where the team will go.

I would love to one day be a head coach of a university program and be involved with our national programs as well.

VC: Do you have any advice for new coaches?

SM: First, I would encourage all young women who have even the slightest inkling of getting involved in coaching to do it because it’s so important to have them involved in our sport. Second, I would say to be willing to learn from as many people as you can. Continue to ask questions, and be proactive in finding ways you can improve yourself.

VC: You wrote a very powerful blog post recently, “The Power of Your Privilege.” What were you hoping that athletes, coaches, and anyone else, both in the sports industry or outside of it, take away from that article?

SM: I guess what I really wanted people to take away from my post is that in life we are not all afforded the same starting line. Life can be vastly different from one person to the next depending on what situation you are born into, and as to what my post is talking about - the colour of your skin.

I think it’s really important for people to acknowledge and consider the privileges they are afforded in their lives, and wherever possible support those people who do not have the same privileges in theirs. Just because we want to believe the world is just, and fair and equal doesn’t mean that it is. 


  • Interview by Josh Bell
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Shanice Marcelle