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Meet Richard Farrahi of Southwest Chi-Town Volleyball Club in Orland Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Richard Farrahi.

Richard, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I have always been involved in volleyball in some capacity. Either as a player, a coach, a referee, a clinic instructor, or volleyball camp instructor. I started my coaching career as a volunteer boy’s varsity assistant at St Laurence High School in Burbank, IL. The following year I was hired as the full time head coach. I spent 6 years at the high school varsity level, also at the same time, I began coaching at the USA Volleyball club level for boys U16’s and U18’s. I continued to coach for small travel clubs and gain a lot of experience and respect throughout the volleyball community. Throughout the time of coaching high school and travel volleyball, people always said I should start my own club or travel teams.

It took a few years with people asking me to start my own program and use my own coaching philosophies to share my knowledge of the game. I finally decided to start asking questions and networking with others who owned their own travel programs. I did a lot of research before I jumped in. Even though I had a lot of volleyball knowledge from the coaching and reffing side, this would be a tougher challenge to start my own business.

I had no prior knowledge of running or owning a business. I had to do extensive research on everything from marketing to ordering equipment and uniforms hiring coaches and getting the word out who we were and where we were located. Thankfully, I was able to turn to a lot of friends in the volleyball industry to help me along the way. I would have to say it was a tough start but definitely worth it.

When it was time for our first tryout it was kind of scary and almost depressing. After all the hard work and people saying I should do this, the turnout was dismal. I was very discouraged and had to reschedule another tryout. After the 2nd tryout we were able to establish our first team. For the first year. From that day forward we began to grow and become successful.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
In the beginning it was a little rough letting people know who we are and why they should come play for us and not our local competition. There are currently between 5 & 10 other travel volleyball clubs within a 10 mile radius so we are all competing for the same players. Also finding gym space is a rare commodity and when you do find it, the costs are very high.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Southwest Chi-Town Volleyball Club – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We teach, train and facilitate a well-rounded student athlete in all aspects of the game of volleyball. Giving each athlete the opportunity to progress and grow as an individual, competitor and teammate. While learning the skills of the game, athletes will gain a positive environment through strong leadership, experienced coaches, communication, teamwork and sportsmanship all while maintaining their integrity by working hard to pursue a common goal.

What I am most proud of is being able to build strong character, strong ethics and most importantly establishing amazing memories and friendships for these players though the sport of volleyball.

What sets us apart from everyone around us is we are small, everyone is involved with what goes on and we are able to teach the exact same skills across all ages. As the owner and club director and head coach I am always in the gym to see what’s going on and to be able to help when and where needed immediately.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
In the future we would like to grow a little bit but not where we forget how and why we started this. We did this for the love of the game and it so happens we can make money doing it. I don’t want to make it a business where the focus turns to just finance and forget about the love of the game itself.

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