Written by Kaya van der Horst
Nicole Christie’s youthful age has led to awkward situations in which referees mistook her for a player rather than a coach. Such humorous encounters will continue as Christie joins the Gunn volleyball team this fall from Palo Alto Volleyball Club
Volleyball has always been an integral element of Christie’s life: she has coached for the past five years and played since elementary school. “I started playing volleyball when I was in fifth grade because my older sister was on the middle school volleyball team,” she said. “I thought it was super awesome to go to her games and she’d always used to practice with me.” Christie continued to play at Foothill College, where her team consistently went to the California Community College State Championships, before earning a scholarship to play volleyball for Notre Dame de Namur University—a NCAA Division II school.
Christie recognizes the importance of keeping a healthy balance between seriousness and fun. “My number one goal is to always have fun while remaining intense and focusing on doing better,” she said. “I like to incorporate a lot of hustle and I really believe that you can hustle through your passion of the game.”
Christie values how everyone is a “volleyball nerd” within the volleyball community. “When you go to tournaments, everyone speaks this volleyball ‘lingo’ and it’s super fun that we can all nerd out together,” she said.
Christie hopes to carry this feeling of community over to the Gunn team through team-bonding spa nights as well as through her coaching style. “In practice, I incorporate a lot of partner exercises and I split up partners by grade-level or by position so everyone always has the opportunity to be working with someone different,” she said. “I think that helps them get to know each other, not only as players, but also as individuals.”
As passionate as she is about volleyball, Christie also loves her job at SoulCycle. “I love working out and work for SoulCycle during the mornings and on the weekends when I’m not coaching,” she said.
In addition to her devotion to exercise, Christie has a knack for culinary adventures. “I love exploring the city and finding trendy food places [to] try out and blog on Instagram with my friend,” she said. “I recently tried that rolled-ice cream place called ‘Icicles’ and it was like the best experience of my life—eating Fruity Pebbles in ice cream form.”