After weeks of being "pushed out" of serve receive line-ups, not regularly setting for teams, being asked not to block, and getting packed in the face, it's not surprise that lately I've had a huge bout of self-doubt in relation to my volleyball life.
I have been playing volleyball since 2001 - that's 17 years people. It's not new to me, yet compared to the last 17 years I have never felt more useless playing the sport I so desperately love, than in the last month.
If you're new to my blog, I'll give you a brief history of my volleyball life:
I was tall so most of my early years of volleyball were spent playing as a middle. In my grade 12 year of high school we got a new coach and he asked me to set because I was eager enough that I could always get to the ball (Let me be clear: IN NO WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM DID I HAVE SETTER HANDS...or even instincts). Once I started playing drop-in and therefore co-ed volleyball, it quickly became clear that at not even 5'9" tall, I was not the most effective middle anymore. Now this didn't completely stop me from playing middle. In fact, for a couple seasons I did what I could to keep up with the high paced co-ed caliber play that I was engulfed in, but somewhere along the way, I started playing right side instead (a common place for an average girl playing co-ed 6s). Eventually, we started running a 6-2 system on a more regular basis and then, we realized there were a lot more girls out there that were even more effective than me on offense, so it was only a matter of convenience that I started setting on a pretty regular basis and letting everyone else swing.
I was coached in elementary school, high school, and club ball with a basic foundation in all volleyball skills but I was never coached specifically as a setter so I definitely feel like I'm lacking a lot of specific key factors that "true setters" have, and lately people seem to notice. That being said, I've spent probably a good 5 years or so setting on a regular basis that I've let a lot of my defense and offensive skills fall by the way side.
Needless to say, I'm feeling a little lost these days. I don't have a solid enough foundation to be a "natural" sought after setter, but I've also spent so much time not having to serve-receive and not putting balls down that, no one sees me as the strong well-rounded player I once was. So, where do I go from here? Of course, I won't give up my love for the sport but I'm tired of coming home from volleyball every night feeling tense, frustrated, and useless.
After some restless sleeps and a lot of self-reflection, I've realized it's time for me to refocus my attention. Instead of dwelling on what I lack, I've decided to put my energy into what I can control: improving. I've never been one to be the best, but I love the satisfaction of progress. So here's to making strides in the right direction. Here's to not letting my 17 years of experience make me become a stagnant player. Here's to starting fresh.
(Basic drill: ball control)
You can't expect to improve unless you're willing to do the work.