Friday, December 6, 2013

Three Things NCAA Volleyball Taught Me

The first rounds of the Women's NCAA Division I Championship started today and I am so excited to fill my DVR with some high quality volleyball matches. The bf is also thrilled to have every single regional final (airing on ESPNU!) recording :)

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All of the excitement surrounding tournament time has made me think back on my NCAA volleyball days. As you may know, I played Division III NCAA Volleyball at Vassar College. (where I still hold the career digs record. holla!) Playing volleyball was one of the best parts of college for me, and being in the gym definitely got me through some tough times. I could go on and on about the student athlete experience but in the interest of saving material for later blogs keeping it brief, here are three things NCAA Volleyball taught me.


Teamwork

Volleyball is the ultimate team sport since you have three touches to get the ball over the net and players can't touch the ball twice in a row. This means that you rely on your teammates to set you up for success (sometimes literally. hah!) and that no individual player can win without strong teammates around them. Playing volleyball at the collegiate level taught me to work together towards a common goal with a diverse team of women. Spending so much time together on and off the court with a large group of women was also a good learning experience and, as a three year captain, I got a lot of practice at conflict resolution. 

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How to Try

While learning to respect your body's limitations is important, I think a lot of young athletes also have to be taught how to exceed expectations and try harder than you thought possible. Learning to go all out and just try--to get to that ball you thought was out of reach, to beat that blocker that's a foot taller than you --is an important part of competition and a valuable life lesson. 

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Dealing with Failure

When playing volleyball, or any sport, mistakes are inevitable. And almost every team, no matter how good, is going to lose sometime. Learning to deal with mistakes and losses was something I struggled with at the beginning of my career, but playing so many matches and being a team leader meant that I had to find a way to move on quickly. It's still something I'm working on today, but my collegiate volleyball days definitely helped.

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And finally, although this isn't really something I learned, NCAA volleyball also gave me the chance to get to know an amazing group of women (some of whom I saw at our alumni game!) who I love and still stay in touch with.

2 comments:

  1. Great post! Volleyball is a fantastic example of working together and "setting" up your team for success. I really need to remember to learn to deal with loss and mistakes with more grace. Thanks for the encouragement.
    Sami

    http://www.go-go-mountaingirl.com

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    1. Thanks Sami! Dealing with losses is still definitely a difficult lesson for me too. Lost in the semis of a tournament today and it was a little disappointing but I'm happy we played well :)

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