Get to Know Those You Lead with ISU’s Jen Malcom

For Iowa State Associate Head Volleyball Coach Jen Malcom, sports have been a lifelong passion. As a child, she played softball, basketball, volleyball, and did track. She also watched her own parents coach team sports. When she was in college, she learned from their example and started to coach, as well as play. The shift taught her to see the game from a different perspective when she was challenged to explain new things and bring together players in a group that works together well and can rely on one another.

This week, she shares tips for building strong teams and supporting players from varying backgrounds. It’s important to have a thick skin, she says, and learn to roll with the punches. You also have to be proud of what you accomplish and put your all into learning and growing with the game. And finally, as a coach, you have to understand how you can impact the lives of the players you work with. Taking responsibility for your potential and accountability for your actions can make all the difference, whether you’re on the court or behind the team.

Key Moments You Don’t Want to Miss:

  1. In the Game Why Jen Malcom developed a passion for sports at an early age
  2. A New Perspective How starting to coach changed the way Malcom looked at sports, teams, players, and the game
  3. Role Models What Malcom learned from watching her parents coach as she was growing up
  4. Team Players How focusing on the mental side of sports and the personality of the players can build team cohesion

What You’ll Learn:

  • Have thick skin
  • Be proud of what you do
  • Understand how you can impact others
  • Value people’s different abilities
  • Take the pulse of your team


“Touching other people’s lives is huge. You can be the role model in a different way for them. Some people don’t have the support that you do at home, so they need somebody else that they can lean on.” -Jen Malcom

“You’ve got to leave things better than how you found it. So, now I need to keep building [this program]. … We might not get the top kids all the time, but we’re going to find the kids that are going to work hard.” -Jen Malcom


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Episode 242