Don’t Quit. No Excuses.

Sometimes you need to suck it up and just do it.  Even in a sport that I love, there were a few aspects that I could have done without.

-Conditioning — why interrupt a perfectly good volleyball practice to do circuit training, ab workouts, and suicide sprints?

-Waking up at the crack of dawn to drive hours away for a tournament — I’m going to play volleyball…I’m going to play volleyball…I’m going to play volleyball…that makes it worth it, right?

-Really cold gyms and Jammed fingers — sometimes I wonder if it is even possible to have one without the other?

-Starting a club tournament with reffing — so we drove all the way here before the sun came up just so I can LINE JUDGE?

Just to name a handful.  Most of the time, there are very good reasons for why we do things.  Even if you can’t always see the reason, sometimes you just have to do it. If you want to play volleyball, you have to take the good with the bad, the fun with the not-so-fun.  It will be worth it in the end.

Don’t quit because the work gets too hard.  It will make you stronger in the end.

Don’t quit because you have to get up too early.  It means you have an entire day of volleyball ahead of you!

Don’t quit because it is too cold.  It means you need to get moving to warm up.

Don’t quit because you hate reffing.  It will make you a well-rounded volleyball athlete and increase your volleyball IQ.

Don’t quit because of things you cannot control.  Accept them, move on, and do it.  No excuses.

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Believe In Yourself. No Excuses.

When I coached 11’s a couple years ago, I met a girl I’ll call Michelle.  She was this cute, tiny little thing.  Her teammates towered over her.  The volleyball looked giant in her hands.

The first week, we worked on serving overhand.  If you have never been to a developmental or younger volleyball players’ practice, I will let you in on a little secret:  overhand serving is one of those skills that quickly divides players into skill levels. Not intentionally but it happens.  It is such an important skill at any level – after all every match starts with a serve – but at the younger age groups, it could mean the difference between a blowout game and a close, tight match.

Overhand serving is also one of the skills with an obvious success and failure rate, at least according to players.  Coaches can see even the smallest improvements and adjustments which is how we measure success at this age.  There are so many intricacies that may seem insignificant, but to a coach’s eye, it is huge.   However, players usually see overhand serving success like this:

  1. Serve over the net = success
  2. Missed serve = failure

It can be terribly frustrating, especially when other players may be getting it right away.  Trying to teach players to trust in the correct steps and trust in the correct form even if it doesn’t work right away is tough.

“Coach, I can get the ball over if I just my fist.  Why can’t I use my fist?”

“Coach, if I swing my arm sideways, I can serve it really far.  Do you want to see?”

“But Coach, I usually serve with my other foot forward.  Why can’t I do it that way?”

(There are reasons…but, well, that is a blog post for another day).

Not, Michelle.  She was very coachable and did everything we suggested.  She tried and tried.  Never getting frustrated and never getting upset.  I never heard Michelle come up with an excuse on why she couldn’t.  After every practice and even after every match, if there was an open court, you could find Michelle practicing her overhand serve.

Even in matches, she never looked scared or frustrated.  Our club had a rule that you had to try to overhand serve in the game.  If you missed, you could serve underhand on your replay serve (the younger age groups automatically get another chance if they miss the first serve in the series).  At practice, everyone practiced overhand.

In the beginning her serves didn’t even reach the 10 foot line.  In the middle of the season, they were falling very close to the net.  Toward the end of the season, they were hitting the net but not going over.  Michelle’s attitude on the court never changed.  If anything, we, the coaches, started to think she may run out of season before she got it over.  Don’t get me wrong, we always knew she could, we just didn’t know the time frame.  Maybe she would have a growth spurt to help out with the process?

Then one day it happened.  She did it!  It was a tight match where the loser went home.  Michelle rotated into the server’s position.  The coaches all knew that improvement and progress were more important than a win on the scoreboard…but being athletes and competitors…deep down we all do.  Michelle was almost a guaranteed sideout for the other side.

She took a deep breath.  You could see the determination on her face.  Step. Toss. Swing. She did it!  The look on her face was something I will never forget.  She was smiling from ear to ear as her teammates gave her high fives.  I could see her mouth “I knew I could do it!”

Little Michelle was by far the smallest, but while she did not outwardly show physical strength, she showed that inwardly, she was the strongest of the all because…

She believed she could so she did.

It only takes one person to convince you that you can do anything you set your mind to.  That person is you.  Strive to always be that person.  No excuses.

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Find Your Awesome. No Excuses.

I remember club try-outs growing up.  We didn’t have fancy numbered t-shirts.  We didn’t have online registration.  Or even huge facilities with 8+ courts in one building.

We had numbers on paper signs to pin to our shirts.  We had a few moms at a table taking registration by hand.  We had high school gyms with two courts.  Yep. It was crowded.

I did what many girls my age did:  dressed in extremely bright colors, crazy socks, and neon headbands and ribbons in my hair.  Then we would pin the numbers on my shirt.  My mom was the best – she ALWAYS brought extra pins so my number wouldn’t flap around in my face.

I looked crazy.  I know I did.  But you know what, I had fun with it.  I felt confident.  I got noticed.  As soon as I stepped onto the court, I lost any jitters tucked away deep inside.  I just played volleyball after that.

As long as I could play volleyball, I didn’t really care what I looked like.  I was there to play and I was there to compete.  Those outfits gave me this this kind of confidence even at 10 years old:

I’m not here to be Average.  I’m here to be Awesome.

That is the best attitude to have when taking a risk or trying something new.  Whether it is trying out for a new club team or trying out a new workout routine.  Sometimes you have to take a risk to reap the rewards.

Whatever gives you the confidence to be awesome, do it!  No excuses.

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Dreaming of Beach Volleyball

top 10 reason_beach

 

1.  It is 8 degrees outside. “nuff said.

2.  No matter how long the sun is out, it isn’t enough to melt all the snow and ice on the ground. Ugh.

3.  Spring break is just around the corner.

4.  College sand volleyball seasons are starting up just as soon!  Get your official Wilson H5001 Collegiate Sand Volleyballs here!

5.  Positive visualization is proven to enhance mood and produce positive results.  Daydreaming about volleyball on the beach totally counts!

6.  ICYMI…The Groundhog said 6 more weeks of winter.  I think Elsa may have bribed him…

7.  Sand socks are in great supply, which will change about one week before the adult leagues start.  It is never too early to order!

8.  It is Qualifier season, which means 3-4 full days of being indoors, with little-to-no windows, surrounded by concrete gray colored walls, and hundreds of people all in the same area.  Then you travel back only to go to school the next day.  Bummer.

9.  All the stores have their spring stuff out…there is hope that winter won’t last forever!  Check out our newest Under Armour jacket, capri leggings, and sports bra in coordinating spring colors.

10.  All the cutest bikinis are IN STOCK and ready to ship!  Check out this one from Asics and this one from Mizuno.

OUT! No, IN! No, OUT! OUT!! Oops…

Imagine this…

You are in serve receive…

The serve comes over the net deep on your court…

You move your feet while surveying the play…

You make a decision and call the ball…

“OUT OUT OUT!!!”

You watch the volleyball all the way…

Until it lands…

IN BOUNDS….

The ole “it happens to everyone” phrase may be true something like this, however, as comforting as it may sound,  it sure doesn’t help make Coach feel any better.

You never even have to glance Coach’s way to know he was mad.  You were on the receiving end of the dreaded, cringe-worthy LOOK.

Meaning = he was not happy.  He never was when this happened.  Not in the slightest bit.  Not even if we were winning 24-1.  Not even if we were scrimmaging “tall players” vs. “short players.”  Not even if we magically transformed into the Men’s National Team.

Except that one time…

It was my first college match at a preseason tournament. As a freshman DS, I was on service receive with our Senior Libero working against a tough float server.  She had a low trajectory serve with a lot of movement.  Combine that with a stellar blocking front row and we were in a pickle trying to get out of serve receive.

Fast forward through a few missed plays and a stern timeout-talking-to, we were still on serve receive.  You could feel the tension and frustration in the air.

The next one comes rocketing over the net, but it isn’t dropping, I’m convinced it is going to go out.  “OUT!”  We are following it to the line.  I realize it is going to be close.  I second-guess myself, “IN!”  Then I changed my mind again (indecisive much, freshman?) but it is too late.  Senior Libero was in the path of the ball when I called “OUT” so she did what anyone else would do…play it, right?

Nope. She caught it.  Senior Libero caught the volleyball serve.  OUT. OF. BOUNDS.

I was shocked and looked at her.  She looked at me, embarrassed and equally as shocked.  I sneak a peek at coach, expecting him to fly into a rage and tell us to get “on the line” for suicide runs in the middle of the match.  (Don’t doubt me here…it’s happened…I’ve witnessed it).

Instead, he is laughing.  Honest-to-goodness, laughing.  The up ref joined in, along with the rest of our teammates, and what seemed like the entire court.  Our team dodged a bullet…a run-suicides-until-your-legs-fall-off bullet, but a dodged one nonetheless.

I can’t tell you want happened after that or even how we finished in that tournament.  It is all a memory blur, except for this one play.  All I know is the look on her face and that I was one who caused it.

I shouldn’t of said that.  I should NOT have said that.  Well said, Hagrid.  Volley on.

Recipe: Ham, Egg, and Avocado Breakfast Burrito

I was perusing through Pinterest and came across this delicious-looking breakfast recipe.  This would be perfect for those lazy, winter mornings when you need something warm and cozy to get your day started, especially if you have a club volleyball qualifier to attend!

ham egg and avocado breakfast burrito_image only

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup cooked ham, diced
1 avocado, sliced
2 tablespoons cheese
2 large flour tortillas (whole wheat tortillas work great for this recipe)

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Spray a small bowl with non-stick cooking spray.
Crack both eggs into bowl and add milk. Whisk quickly until eggs are completely mixed.
Cook eggs in microwave for 60 seconds, stir, then return to microwave for 30-60 more seconds or until eggs are completely cooked.
Take a tortilla and place half of the cooked eggs down the middle.
Top with half of the ham, half of the avocado, and half of the cheese.
Roll the tortilla into a burrito, folding in the edges.

Optional: place burrito in a panini press or cook in a skillet over medium heat until outside of burrito starts to turn golden brown (1-2 minutes per side).

Makes 2 burritos.  Enjoy one for you and one for a teammate!

Recipe courtesy of Tone-and-Tighten.com as found on Pinterest.  Speaking of…are you on Pinterest?  All Volleyball is!  Check us out by clicking here.

12 Volley-Days of Give-A-Ways

12 Volleydays Song

Sung to the tune of “The 12 Days of Christmas”.  Check out our music video too!

On the first volley-day, my true love gave to me
A Molten MS500 Volleyball Bee

On the second volley-day, my true love gave to me
Two pairs of Crew Socks (Asics ZK1105 Black)

On the third volley-day, my true love gave to me
Three Braided Headbands

On the fourth volley-day, my true love gave to me
Four Inflatable Beach Volleyballs

On the fifth volley-day, my true love gave to me
Five Volleyball Necklaces

On the sixth volley-day, my true love gave to me
6 Team Bags-for-packing (Asics ZR1125 Black)

On the seventh volley-day, my true love gave to me
7 Whistles-a-blowing (Fox 40 Classic – Color TBD)

On the eighth volley-day, my true love gave to me
8 Bag Tags-a-tagging

On the ninth volley-day, my true love gave to me
9 Volleyball Lanyards (I Love Volleyball Lanyards)

On the tenth volley-day, my true love gave to me
10 Dudes-a-dancing (Volleyball Dude)

On the eleventh volley-day, my true love gave to me
11 Hitters hitting (Volleyball Stick Girl – Hitter)

On the twelfth volley-day, my true love gave to me
12 Hand Sanitizers sanitizing (VB Hand Sanitizers)

Happy Volleydays to all, and to all, a good night!