Jason Lochhead, and the world path to being a two-time Olympic coach

Nick Lucina, Jason Lochhead and Phil Dalhauser at the FIVB (Photo / FIVB)

Jason Lochhead was tied for second, sitting eight below par at the 2013 Nevada Championships, when he suffered the worst—or, if you like to consider it existentially, best—a hole in his burgeoning golf career. Take eight, the ghost of a shameful quartet.

He was scrambling really well from there, finishing his last round at 1-below par, good for 30The tenth Overall, high enough to redeem his $750 entry fee. But that quadruple bogey, and a subsequent slide on the leaderboard, prompted Lochhead to take a look at his finances. Here he is, playing one of the most expensive sports in the world, playing some of the best golf of his life – and he’s hardly ever equaled.

He remembers thinking about it: “I should make some money.” SANDCAST: Beach Volleyball with Tri Bourne and Travis Mewhirter.

His mother always told him that one day he would be a good coach. It was a compliment that, as is customary for mothers’ compliments, only frustrated Lochhead.

I’d be like ‘Nah, I’m not a coach, I’m a player! “I don’t even think about coaching,” Lockheed said.

At the time, when Lockheed was having those conversations with his mother, he wasn’t a golfer. He was a beach volleyball player. A rare type too. A native of New Zealand, Lochhead stood at just 5 feet 10 feet tall and aspired to a height-worthy sport, representing a nation that did not compete in the Olympics. But while New Zealand has never made an impact on the World Tour, it has boasted and continues to boast one of the best national tours in the world.

“When I was coming in, the New Zealand Tour was probably at its best, so every year we were getting two of the top five teams in the world,” Lockheed said. “We had brothers Lasiga (Martin and Paul, from Switzerland, who competed in the 2008 Olympics), we had Julius Brink (from Germany, who won the 2012 Olympic gold) there, we had some really good teams. When I was a little kid, 15 , 16, I could play against these guys and get a taste of it, which is amazing. And then I’d get close to these guys, or take a bunch of them, and I just thought maybe I could compete, maybe I could do that.”

When he was 19, he had a choice: beach volleyball, a career unheard of in New Zealand, or a full-time job. He even had a job offer at an electric company. full wages. Benefits. Certificates. Business. Or he could put down the $8000 of his New Zealand cash he had saved up, and go on a world tour with Kirk Pittman, then one of the best players in the country.

“This was my chance,” Lockheed said. We said ‘let’s just go out there and see what happens. “

For seven months, they hit the road, competing around the world, qualifying for major draws in China, Puerto Rico, Poland and Brazil. They scored enough to break a tie, a victory in itself for a teenager chasing beach volleyball from a country unknown to him. They narrowly missed qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Olympics but finished off the season in a big way: fourth at the Klagenfurt Grand Slam, and bronze in Norway one month later. That was enough for another tour in London, in 2012. Once again, they failed to reach third place in the world.

Lockheed had no intention of retiring after that. He and Bateman decided that a year’s vacation would be good for mind and soul. Like many men might do during a year-long sabbatical, Lockheed turned to golf.

“I was a golf fanatic. I was a golfer, so I said ‘I’m going to try golf,’” he said. “I was living in Los Angeles, and I started training full-time for golf, and I started playing in all of these tournaments. I always finished in the top five, and I won a couple.”

That was when he entered the Nevada Championships, and everything went downhill with that quadruple stealth, leading him down the leaderboard. To earn a little money on the side and continue funding his golf ambitions, Lochhead started coaching, only private lessons here and there.

But then it presented the strangest and most interesting opportunities: Vanuatu needed a coach for its national team. Would Lockheed be interested?

“I thought I could go there, train them for two months, do a few coins, and then go back to golf,” Lockheed said. “That’s where I started. It wasn’t planned. I carried them and had fun and they did a really good job and got better and better.”

A number of teams on the World Tour took note of Vanuatu’s rise – and they also noticed the red-headed kiwi leading them. Germans Markus Bückermann and Misha Orbatska needed a coach for the 2014 Gstaad Grand Slam and asked if Lockheed might want to take the job. The Vanuatan team was great with it, and Lochhead helped the Germans take 9th, their best finish of the year.

“This time Ben Saxton And the Haim Schalk He asked me if I was coaching guys,” Lockheed remembers with a laugh. “And I said, ‘Okay, I’m here.’ So they wanted me to coach them for the next tournament and that evolved from there. Then continue from there. very crazy. Then I ran out of time to practice golf and I fell in love with the practice.”

Saxton and shalk Hired Lochhead full time. Over the next two years, they would win five World Tour medals en route to qualifying for the 2016 Olympics. When Lochhead led them, they ranked 24. In the end, they were in the top ten. Just as Germany noticed Lockheed’s training for Vanuatu, and Canada took notice with Germany, an American team couldn’t ignore Lockheed’s repeated success.

“We were starting 2017, probably in February, and we had some practice with her Elephant [Dalhausser] And the nick [Lucena], and I was in San Francisco, Nick called me and said ‘Hey, we’re thinking about getting a new coach and we think you’re going to be great. What do you think of that?’ I thought, ‘Oh, my God, this is crazy. I’m going to need some time to think about this,'” Lockheed said. “I didn’t sleep much the next two nights. It was a really tough decision. You obviously have Phil and Nick, Phil who would go on to be one of the best blockers ever, but then I have Ben and Chaim, and we’re good friends too.”

“It was a tough decision, but you’ll never get a chance like that again, to coach someone who’s already won a gold medal. It’s the equivalent of Michael Jordan asking you to train. I have to say yes. I remember talking to them: If you do, we’ll go to the Olympics. , is not it? “

Five years later — “None of us thought it would be five years,” Lockheed said. “Fuck COVID.” – This is exactly where they are. at OstravaLucina and Dalhauser qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. He would be Dalhauser’s fourth as an individual, and second for both Lucina and Lochhead. On the way, they have won 10 regular players, including Manhattan Beach is openAnd four gold medals in the International Volleyball Federation.

However, there is another target on the list: an Olympic gold in Tokyo.

“Eyes are on the gold medal,” Lockheed said. “We can certainly do it, but it will be very difficult. You need some luck to go your way. But we talked a lot about what we want to feel after these Olympics?

“Having such a good feeling yet: We did everything we could, we enjoyed the moment we put everything in there. We’ll make sure it’s not a bitter end. Obviously for Phil, that’s it, this is the last. Nick wants to play more. last dance الرقص: that’s it.”

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