Whether you are a junior player, college standout or pro beach player, finding “Volley-Bliss” can be tricky. Athletes, by their competitive nature, are constantly comparing themselves to the very best in their sport. This can create pressure and expectations, causing us to limit our ability to perform. If you’re not careful, you will find yourself in a vicious circle, losing confidence and the ability to win.
Change: The good, the bad & the ugly
Over the past 2 years, I have experienced some major life changes that greatly affected my volleyball “situation”. These changes caused me to adjust how I view myself as a player (I will explain in a minute). First, I want to talk about these life altering events. Some were good, others were horrible. I feel that it is important for me to talk about, because we all have to go through tough changes in our lives. I hope that I can offer some insight and comfort to others who may be going through one or some of the same things right now. Here we go:
1. 2012 – My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and passed away 6 months later. Category: Horrible – This was by far, the most difficult thing I have ever had to go through. I spent 3 months in ICU and hospital rooms in Las Vegas with her and my dad. Volleyball training was the furthest thing from my mind, but was the only place where I could escape. I battled depression, anger, sadness and a multitude of emotions. I missed most of the 2012 season and struggled to want to play.
2. 2013 – I moved from California to New York to live with my fiance, now husband. Category: Great but different – I went from training 4-5 days per week against some of the best girls in the world and playing tournaments every weekend, to living in a place with “seasons”. Unfortunately, New York has this season called winter, which I never experienced in southern California. Let’s just say it was an adjustment. I had to figure out a way to stay in shape, keep touching a volleyball and stay in touch with potential partners. Not to mention, I left my friends and family 3 time zones behind. Fortunately, I had the most supportive husband who has always believed in me and supported my dreams.
3. 2014 – I got married. Category: Exceptional – I am so lucky to have found someone who “gets” me and loves me for who I am. I won’t get all sappy on you, but he is so important because I know that he is always there for me.
The Pursuit of Volley-Bliss
With these 3 major life changing events, I have realized that life is too short to limit yourself. We set limitations anytime we compare ourselves to someone else, set expectations on ourselves or others, or we start defining ourselves by our level of success in 1 area of life. I have done all these things, and none of them made me happy. In fact, it wasn’t until I adjusted my perspective on who I am as a player, that I found Volley-Bliss. I now look at each opportunity like this: “I want to be the best player that I can be, in this moment, and in this situation”. As my situation and priorities change, I need to be realistic with myself. This allows me to relax, enjoy playing the sport I love and the people around me.
I am looking forward to the 2014 season and whatever it may bring. I know that I will play my very best, hold nothing back and enjoy every minute I have in the sand.