At Drive Volleyball Club we have a balanced, dualistic approach to coaching and playing the game. The sport of volleyball is always growing, changing, and evolving both technically and philosophically, and we find it best to be just as dynamic and adaptive as a staff, team and club in training our players. As with many things, volleyball can also be subject to the trends and fads of the time, however, we focus on the aspects that are innately timeless and essential to the game. We identify the best way to coach players by acknowledging them as individuals with specific strengths and areas of improvement, instead of tailor them to be an objective ideal that other clubs and coaches might strive for.  Drive Volleyball Club is more than a specific way to pass, a serve receive system, or a defensive scheme. We are the sum of all the emotions, effort, and care of the members of our club: coaches, players, and families.  

Eli Estrada
Owner, director, coach

Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own
— Bruce Lee

My Philosophy
My philosophy has always been to teach and grow players‘ ability on the court, both mental and technical, while simultaneously teaching players life lessons they can use off the court. I aim to build a culture of responsibility, accountability, respect, and excellence. Just as I think a player's duty on the court should be to “better the ball,” as a coach my duty will be to help “better the individual.” I will always remind my players that practice does not make perfect, but instead, perfect practice makes perfect. From a technical standpoint, I want our team to build upon a strong defensive and serving foundation. Offensively, having and growing a full repertoire of shots and tools will do much in keeping our opponents off balance, where our out-of-system will be just as effective as our in-system play.

My Coaching Experience
I’ve been coaching for over 12 years and this upcoming season marks the start of my 42nd season. At the middle school level, I was 6th and 8th grade head coach at The Latin School of Chicago, as well as the girls head coach at Francis Xavier Warde school where I helped lead the girls' team to it’s first ever conference/league championship. For high school girls, I coached at The Latin School of Chicago as the JV coach with a combined record of 37-5 over two seasons. I was recently the head of the girls and boys volleyball program at Ogden International School (CPS), where I helped coach the girls to three regional championships in 4 years, two of which were back-to-back, the school’s first and only IHSA team awards. For the boys I started at Quigley Prep and restarted the boys volleyball program at Gordon Tech (now DePaul College Prep). I also returned to my alma mater, the Latin School of Chicago as the boys' assistant varsity coach and helped coach them to their first regional championship. Currently, I am the head boys and girls coach at Von Steuben High School, which plays in the highest division of the CPS conference.

In addition to coaching at the middle and high school levels, I simultaneously coached club volleyball for the last 7 years. I head coached at three Chicago-area clubs and directed at one, working for the 13U, 15U, 17U and 18U levels for both boys and girls.

My Certifications

Eddie Kao

Eddie Kao is a recent graduate who works full time as a Design Engineer. He has been playing volleyball for over 10 years and is an alum from Niles North High School and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was the assistant coach for the Drive Girls 17 Red and Boys 16 Red teams last season.

Coach Kao is enthusiastic about passing down his knowledge and experience as a volleyball player. He believes that the key to a great individual is not someone with extreme talent, but someone who understands the game and can think critically about their ability and performance to push themselves beyond their preconceived limits.

He’s looking to use the critical thinking and problem solving skills he’s acquired as an engineer to give players a unique and more thought provoking experience when learning and playing the game. He is a hard believer that if you not only give the players the tools to succeed, but the knowledge of what and why we use the tools, skills, and drills, they will be able to mold the practices into their own and succeed at alarming rates.

Kari Herbst

Kari Herbst played volleyball at Concordia University-Chicago and graduated with a degree in Education. She was the starting setter there all four years and holds the record for career assists. In August of 2009, she headed to Slovenia for an opportunity to play overseas. While she had a great experience and enjoyed the journey, she did not end up staying in Europe to play.

She currently coaches the Freshman girls volleyball team at Glenbrook North and has coached club for 11 seasons. She started her career at Energy coaching 14U for two years, and then coaching 12U for four years. Following her stay at Energy, she coached at Sky High, and continued coaching 12U for two more years. She concluded her tenure there coaching 15U for three years.

She loves teaching the fundamentals as she knows the importance of having good form and technique. Although Coach Kari takes coaching very seriously, she also understands the importance of having fun, making sure girls have a good experience, and helping them become better people.

Natalie Kozlowski

Natalie is an alum of Ridgewood High School where she received All-Conference and All-Tournament awards. She then graduated from Georgetown University with a double-major in marketing and international business. During her time at Georgetown she also played club volleyball and was captain her junior and senior year

She currently teaches at Morton East High School where she is also the JV Girls’ coach. She is excited to bring her teaching experience methodology from the classroom onto the court. Coach Natalie aims to instill confidence, pride, accountability, dedication, and commitment into all of her players this season, while simultaneously training their mental toughness.