Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why Volleyball?

Hi All,


My name is Lindsay and I am an avid volleyball player (this sounds like the start of an addicts meeting, however, that is pretty much accurate). I started playing volleyball at 11 years old (14 years ago), and have not stopped loving the sport ever since. 

As an elementary school kid I was a dancer (jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, hip hop, musical theatre; you name it, I probably did it). But, as I got older I turned to sports (basketball and volleyball). My mother had a big push for basketball because she was an exceptional player back when she was in high school. I quickly realized though that there was no way to find time to play the sports and dance. So when it came time to choose; sports it was. 

I mainly focused my attention to basketball (again, my mother pushed hard for this), but because of my natural athleticism and coordination (I definitely have dance to thank for that) I quickly realized I was good at volleyball too. Moving into high school I stuck with both basketball and volleyball. Not to toot my own horn, but I was pretty good at both, always playing on the "A" team or even getting called to play with the older girls.

Unfortunately, about half way through grade 12, my basketball experience was thoroughly ruined by an over-aggressive, not so pleasant descriptive word here, coach. It was the same coach I had had since grade 10 and for my club team, but I was growing up and had had enough. I took it upon myself to remove myself from that kind of attitude, pressure and criticism (Yes, as much as I hate to admit it, I quit the team). So there I was, an ex-dancer, an ex-basketball player, left with only volleyball at my side. I was lucky enough to absolutely loooooooove my volleyball coach throughout high school. I really have her to thank for making me fall madly in love with the sport. She taught well, kept me competitive, had a passion for the sport, and she really gave me a big push to join club to improve my skills. She constantly sent me home with flyers of different clubs to check out. In grade 11, I finally convinced my mom to let me try out for a club volleyball team instead of basketball. 

The first club team I joined was "Surrey Heat Volleyball Club". It was my first club experience and man was I terrified, I wouldn't say I learned a lot technically that year, but I definitely realized that there was a lot more to the sport than just what the high school level had to offer. The second year of club I played for "High Altitude" in Langley. I definitely learned a lot more of the technical and strategic aspect of the game that year. In my last year of high school, we got a new volleyball coach. I was sad to see my original one go, but I knew she'd left me with a solid foundation to continue to build upon. After a few weeks with the new coach, he invited me to try playing co-ed out of a rec volleyball league he ran in Langley. I was definitely a little hesitant at first to play with guys (I had seen the way guys can hit at nationals and it was terrifying to me at that time), but I've always liked a challenge so I said yes. 

My first co-ed experience was intense, but I surprised a lot of people with how well I kept up (keep in mind I was minimum five years younger than the next youngest person). I immediately loved how different the sport was having guys over 6' spiking the ball at me. I continued to play with that co-ed league and man did it ever change the way I looked at the sport. It was a way faster, more aggressive game. Less choosing a spot to hit and more crushing the ball hard and hoping no one could dig it. Now granted this was only a drop in co-ed league so the skill was not necessarily top notch, but playing there lead more people to ask me to come out and play in other leagues and thus my adventures into co-ed volleyball really blossomed. 

Being a girl playing volleyball with the boys, I quickly learned to be afraid of the ball, some of those guys hit ridiculously hard, and I was young, slow, and inexperienced compared to a lot of the people I played against, so naturally I got a lot of balls in the face. Fortunately, I took it as an opportunity to learn to get in better positions and react faster. After a while of playing in various rec co-ed volleyball leagues, and drop-in sessions (mostly 6s, sometimes 5s, if there wasn't a big turnout), I then got introduced to Reverse 4s, R2s,beach, and grass. Again, this totally altered my perception of the sport. I had to take into consideration guys only being able to hit back row, or having to deal with wind blowing the ball around, sun in your eyes, and what felt like a whole new set of rules. 

Suffice to say, no matter which version of volleyball I've played, I learned something new about the game and have had to find a way to adapt my game so that I could keep up. I am proud to admit that after 14 years of playing the sport that I desperately love, I still have lots to learn about the sport, but I am confident to admit that if you throw me into any volleyball scenario with any team, and I will definitely be able to handle myself and hopefully even impress a few people.

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