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Cosy's Corner: Ill advice

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 tips on how to play when you're not at your best.

During volleyball season, you try to take the best care of your body. You hydrate, eat healthy foods, train and condition. But what happens when you find yourself driving the porcelain bus at 2 in the morning right before game day?

Last weekend, this happened to me. It was 2 a.m., and the nausea was intense. The headache I thought I could sleep off had turned into a full-blown migraine. I hadn’t slept for the last hour and was writhing on my bathroom floor wondering if I had the flu. Since Excedrin was the only thing that could fade away my headache, I was up for the next two hours, loaded with caffeine. I was very aware that we had our first game, Day 2 of SoCal Regionals, in precisely 4 hours. What was I going to do? Should I bring a bucket for the sidelines? How was I going to play with absolutely no sleep? We fought hard the day before and won a very tough pool. We were all super stoked for playoffs the next day.

Well, my body somehow did it. We played six intense matches and I must have hit over 200 balls and jumped to celebrate another 300 times.

This week I want to blog about playing your best when you’re feeling your worst.

Focus on the moment

Don’t stress, and take each moment one at a time. After a long rally that didn’t go our way, I got back in serve receive. I really thought I was going to lose it and tried to breathe slow and deep. I just focused on the serve and what I could control about my own body. I made sure that I was communicating with my teammates about who had short, deep, etc., and – hey -- it worked. This time the plastic number flipped for us, and we won the set.

Gatorade is my friend

Drink water and make sure to replace your electrolytes if you have been sick. It’s amazing how much better you feel when you’re hydrated. Just take small sips and eat whatever bits of food you think you can keep down.

Mind over matter

My friend, Anne Carol Ingersoll, plays volleyball for Harvard, and she told me that the times when she had to compete after very little sleep, she tried so hard to compensate that she actually played better. It’s crazy what your body is capable of doing. We train hard, and our bodies respond when we push them.

Let your coach/teammates know what’s going on

Don’t hide your injuries or illness. It’s not fair to you or your team, and the last thing you want is to get them sick. Be honest, but let them know you are willing to do what it takes. Your coaches will know when it’s best to let you fight it out or take you out so you don’t worsen your condition. Your teammates will be there for you, helping you out by communicating even more and looking out for you.

I learned that I can push and perform at my best even when I’m feeling my worst. Listen to your body, and if you think you can push through, just go for it. Might as well, right? Jump your highest, run the farthest and dive the fastest. See what your body can do.

Trust me, it can pay off.

Read the previous installment of Cosy's blog – Parental Guidance required – here.