A Letter to Young Athletes

March 17, 2016

 

I’ve learned so much in all my years of playing volleyball. It might surprise you to know that I’ve probably learned more about being a teammate and a leader than actual skills on the court. I’m far from perfect still but I’d like to share some things I’ve learned throughout the years. 

 

#1 The first and most important thing that I learned was that relationships are everything. No matter how skilled you are as an individual or your team is as a whole, if you do not get along with and respect your teammates and your coaches you will have an extremely difficult time playing your sport. This DOESN’T mean you have to be best friends and love them to death.. but you DO have to respect them and treat them fairly. 

 

#2 Win as a team and lose as a team. If you vocally blame others for losing the game no good will come of it and you have just hurt your relationship with your teammates. If you internally blame others for losing the game you have just lost an opportunity to reflect on your own game and get better. This is not to say that we shouldn’t talk about what happened in the game and figure out why we lost. Always remember though that volleyball is TEAM sport, and NOBODY plays a perfect game. 

 

#3 Commitment. Be committed to the team, our goals, and each other. Be committed to practices every week. If you miss a practice because there was absolutely no way you could make it whether it be sickness or something else that is okay, its not the end of the world. But KNOW that it affects the team and our ability to improve! It can be such a GRIND sometimes, I get it. You have school, you have homework, you have a social life, and you have things going on in your life that maybe no one knows about that are HARD. Being committed is a LIFE skill. You are going to have jobs and relationships and so many things in the future that people will be counting on you to be committed to. 

 

#4 Work Hard. How satisfying is it to see the results of all your hard work?! How many times do you look back and think, man.. I wish I would have done this or that better? I think most of us have experienced both sides of the spectrum. I can tell you that you will never regret giving 100% effort. My friend has a shirt that says “Lazy but Talented” and I have never wanted to burn a shirt so bad in my life. Laziness won’t win you championships no matter how talented you are. Laziness wont get you degrees no matter how smart you are. Always work hard and you will accomplish so many things in life!!

 

#5 Be mentally strong—GROWTH MINDSET. This is something that I am working at and will continually be working at throughout my volleyball career and life! The way we think affects the way we play. In fact it affects more than that, the way we think determines our effort, body language and attitude. If you continue to play sports there will be times when you will get singled out or yelled at. What you allow yourself to think afterwards is completely up to you. Convert any negative feedback you get to fire yourself up! Why should what your coach or anybody’s criticism or reactions are cause you to be fearful or doubtful? It shouldn’t unless you let it. Our bodies only do what we tell them to do, so naturally if you’re frustrated, angry, or fearful you are not going to perform well. Ultimately it is up to you if you are going to decide to be mentally strong. It takes practice just like any skill you would learn. EMBRACE change and EMBRACE the process of getting better. It doesn’t happen overnight.

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