The ancient Romans had a phrase for it: Mens sana in corpore sano – “a healthy mind in a healthy body”, referring to the ideal balance for living a productive life. Thanks to coaches and community volunteers like Scottie Zucco, our keiki in Maui County are able to pursue sporting activities that enhance their lives. Zucco is the founder of the Aloha Volleyball club, which counts well over 100 participants and whose mission is to grow volleyball on Maui. The club does a lot a voluntary “behind the scenes” work, maintaining volleyball courts around Maui and running free tournaments year-round. The club also holds instructional camps and offers financial assistance as needed. Zucco has a fullschedule; in addition to his voluntary activities, he is a parttime PE teacher at Kula Elementary School and Achievement Academy, a Wailuku homeschool, and he coaches the Seabury Hall girls’ varsity volleyball team.
“My philosophy in coaching volleyball is about building character first; competition comes second,” says Zucco. “Young athletes mirror what their adult role models are doing, and I’m a believer in the system embraced by legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. His “pyramid of success” stresses values such as hard work, enthusiasm, loyalty, self-control and commitment. A good coach has to care about each child, and these qualities define character,” he adds.
Zucco has done much to promote youth beach volleyball on Maui, a format that the NCAA has just recognized as a scholarship-eligible college sport. He is quick to recognize that the rise in popularity in the both indoor and outdoor volleyball owes much to the hard work of other clubs in the community and growing cooperation amongst coaches. “Right now I’m working on plans to develop more courts and facilities,” says Zucco. “This year we pioneered a pilot High School beach league, and one of my goals is to see it develop as an official sport in the MIL.”