Coach Carson Lowden helps women strive for success with the volleyball program

Lowden aspires for excellence not just in volleyball, but also in life


Carson Lowden, American River College volleyball coach, helps women grow as athletes, through her knowledge and passion (Photo courtesy by Carson Lowden).

Carson Lowden’s coaching career started long before American River College. After getting a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and a master’s degree in kinesiology, she took a job as an assistant volleyball coach at Butte College. She also assisted at Chico State from 2011 to 2013, and at UC Berkeley from 2014 to 2015. 

Now it’s been seven years since she started coaching at ARC. Since then, she has provided her knowledge to women who are trying to excel in sports and also in life. 

Her expertise and dedication to volleyball encourage women to develop as athletes. 

“In athletics, there is the saying that the days are long and the weeks fly by and I have certainly found that to be the case,” Lowden said.

She was an athlete during her college career, and after playing several sports, decided to focus on volleyball. 

“I played volleyball at UC Davis and had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated,” Lowden said. 

Lowden says she realized that her path was coaching when she found a place that gave her the opportunity to make a connection between coaching and teaching. 

“I come from a family of teachers and it was fun to find my home at ARC and have a full circle moment with a career path I was perhaps destined to be on,” Lowden said. 

Lowden says she is always on the lookout for new learning opportunities to improve her skill and use sport-specific training approaches and methods that are effective. 

One of the goals of her program is to exchange values like curiosity, honesty and collaboration, to assist student-athletes in navigating the rewards and difficulties of team competition.

These values that Lowden tries to share are well-received by her athletes. 

“Curiosity is important to our team because it allows us to stay open and drives us to continue learning,” said Saide White, an ARC volleyball player. 

On their best and worst days, in their current state, Lowden says she wants to foster an environment where everyone feels like they have enough room to improve.

“We encourage each other to be the best version of ourselves at this moment and to be brave,” Lowden said.  

Also, one aspect that sets her apart is how Lowden stands as a woman in sports. 

The way she places herself on the sidelines during a game, the values she tries to share with her athletes, are some of the aspects that Lowden brings as a woman in the sports world.

“I’ve found that creating space for my more feminine characteristics to shine has allowed me to do my work in my most authentic way,” Lowden said. “As a woman in coaching, I try to see abundance in the hierarchical structure of ‘not-enoughness’, and hope to share that lens with others.”

According to White, Lowden’s players look at her as a role model and a really successful coach; White says being able to play for Carson is a privilege. 

“Something that distinguished Carson from other coaches is her willingness to be present through everything,” White said. “She doesn’t want her players to fit into a small box of perfection, she wants us to make mistakes and use them as a positive.”

Her hard work is paying off. This past season the team finished as the California Community College Athletic Association State Championship runner-up. 

According to Lowden, an important aspect of a successful team is the recruiting aspect that the coach has to go through, in order to find great players and great personalities that can complete the team in the best way possible.

What Lowden says she looks for in women when it comes to recruitment is their potential and abilities to be a suitable component for the team.

“I look for people with whom I can sense an openness, a curiosity,” Lowden said. “I look for kindness, for the ability to go for it, for joy in playing the game and being a part of something bigger than just oneself.”

Lowden also seeks for innovative projects to propose to student-athletes. In fact, this semester a new program is beginning: the beach volleyball team. With this program, she is going to be able to show more of her coaching skills. 

“It has been something we’ve been talking about on our campus since I arrived and it is great to field this first-ever beach volleyball team at ARC,” Lowden said. “It is such a similar sport and at the same time is completely different which has been a unique challenge for both myself and the gals.”

For Lowden, ARC means home, a supportive environment not just for her but also for student-athletes. They have a chance to be part of a program that reflects everyone, their past, present and future as part of it. 

“Sometimes it’s hard to see where it ends and where our volleyball program begins,” Lowden said. “I used to think there was something wrong if I couldn’t find that separation, maybe this program is part of all of us, and that’s what is beautiful about it.”