By Cosy Burnett
Cosy Burnett is a junior outside and opposite hitter at La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.) who also plays for Coast Volleyball Club in San Diego, Calif. Her high school team competed in the state finals for Division II last season and she has competed at nationals five times with her club teams. In the latest installment of her blog, she shares five tips to prepare for nationals.
Club volleyball season is winding down. Those 14-hour tournament days of florescent lights, deafening noise, lost water bottles and fleece blankets are coming to an end. We may have a regional tournament left and then we have a whole month or so before nationals. Whether you’re headed to Columbus, Florida or Phoenix, it’s time to step up your game so you will perform at your peak during your season finale. This week I thought I would blog on how to prepare to get the most out of your experience on the national stage.
It’s normal to feel a little tired at this point of the season. Now is the time to refocus, make new goals and get excited about excelling. Talk to your coach about where she would like to see you at nationals and make specific goals to get there.
Don’t get injured this last month -- you owe it to your team to be careful. Protect your ankles during long tournaments and avoid activities that could cause injuries, such as four-wheeling, skateboarding, or, in my case, riding a bike. Save it for your summer vacation. It’s also a great time to focus on your fitness routine. You’ll see results in your performance after a month of weight training … great timing! Stronger, fitter athletes perform better and are less likely to be injured.
Team chemistry seems to be either at an all-time high or an all-time low at this point in the season. Either way, it’s important to reconnect with your teammates in a fun way. Have a team party, eat pizza and ice cream, and do anything that produces gut-splitting laughter. You will need good vibes going into nationals. Be positive and avoid negative talk about teammates or coaches. Don’t even listen to it. Spend your energy building up your teammates and supporting your coaches.
My volleyball shoes always seem to wear out exactly the week before nationals. I’m always rushing at the last minute to buy new shoes and then don’t have time to break them in. Evaluate your equipment needs early. I put my uniforms, good socks, extra spandex and everything else I intend to take in my backpack weeks before I leave so I won’t be crazy trying to find them an hour before the flight. My friend’s mom cleaned her closet and accidentally gave her jersey to Goodwill, and my friend had to scramble to borrow one from another team at the same club hours before her flight left.
Make sure to call or email your top 5-10 schools and let them know where you are playing. Find out if they will be there and invite them to watch your court. You’ve worked hard to get here; let them see how far you’ve come.
Playing at nationals is an amazing experience. It’s the highlight of the club season and it’s what your team has been working toward all year. Your efforts this last month can play a huge part in your personal performance and the success of your team.
Read the previous installment of Cosy's blog -- a Mother's Day special -- here.