Shaibani Brings Love to a New Game
September 11, 2019
While the sport of field hockey is brand new to Fluvanna, the school certainly didn’t have to look far to find a coach with years of experience in the sport. Coming from London, England, Dr. Saami Shaibani has a fresh, new perspective on the game that he hopes to share with his players on the varsity and JV field hockey teams.
Shaibani played his first game of field hockey when he was eight-years-old, soon scoring his very first goal. Since then, he has loved the game. He continued to play field hockey throughout his childhood and into his adult years. Shaibani enjoys other sports and hobbies as well, including cycling, hiking, watching movies, and strolling through museums. However, none, he says, compared to field hockey.
Not only is Shaibani a hard-working athlete, he is also an academic scholar. He enrolled in a prestigious university where he received his bachelors, masters, and more than one doctorate degrees in material physics. Once again, field hockey played an important role in his life. “I was fortunate to play at a high level in England, including competition against Olympic athletes every week for two years,” he said.
Afterwards, he went on to dedicate his experience teaching and coaching young athletes, specifically, the girls field hockey team at Randolph Macon Women’s College. While Shaibani enjoyed his time there, he was eventually ready for a new challenge. “I was just in the right place at the right time,” Shaibani said about his move to Fluvanna County Public Schools in 2016.
Dr. Shaibani is currently in his third year teaching math and science at the Abrams Academy. “The best part about working at Abrams is the students,” he said.
What is the one thing he hopes to teach his players? “If the players have fun, that is all that matters. Once there is fun, then we will step up the intensity and the excellence of the game,” Shaibani said. Still, he is no soft coach. He wants the athletes to play competitively, but play with compassion. “I want the other coaches to feel as if they have been through the ringer and back with Fluvanna,” he said.
Often times, coaches are so wrapped up in winning that they may their sense of love and fun for the game. However, Shaibani said he wants to know his athletes are enjoying their time and learning valuable keys to the sport. One thing that reveals his philosophy is this: “Even if you fail, the lessons learned from that can be more valuable than having an easy path with no difficulty.”