Destinee's child motivates her return to court
Hooker-Coulter, 26, and her husband, Steven Coulter Jr., welcomed the birth of their first child in the early hours of December 12. Hooker-Coulter announced the birth on her Twitter feed (@destineehooker) with a seven-word message: “She’s here!!!! My baby girl is here!!!!”
“My daughter has brought so much joy to my life,” said Hooker-Coulter, who hails from San Antonio. “It only motivates me to get back on the court and play not only for me, but more for her. I love her so much. She's my heartbeat. I'm motivated more than ever and nothing is going to stand in my way.”
Hooker-Coulter, who was the 2012 USA Volleyball Indoor Female Athlete of the Year, took the 2013 season off following completion of her playing commitments with Dinamo Krasnodar in Russia.
Just a few months earlier she capped her first Olympic Games by earning the tournament’s Best Spiker award with a .379 hitting efficiency. Hooker-Coulter was also the second-highest scorer at the Olympics with 161 points and finished fourth in the blocking category.
According to Hooker-Coulter, the time away from the court has been a blessing, not only for giving birth to her daughter, but also for renewing her love for the game.
“I enjoyed my time away from the court,” Hooker-Coulter said. “Being pregnant made it easier knowing that my love for the game will come back 10 times stronger. I missed playing volleyball.”
Hooker-Coulter is keen to return to the USA team and start preparing for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. For that to happen, she realizes she must get back into playing shape and shake off the rust from being away from the game for nearly a year.
“I plan on getting back into shape gradually,” Hooker-Coulter said. “I will train on my own until the team returns back to the ASC (American Sports Centers in Anaheim, Calif.). I may play a shortened season somewhere, but right now I'm focused on getting back in shape. I am not sure how long it will take – as long as I'm ready by Rio 2016.”
USA will play in the NORCECA qualifiers for the FIVB World Championships in May and June, and will also take part in the FIVB World Grand Prix (July 25-August 24). The World Championship will take place in Italy from September 23 to October 12.