Action, Volleyball

Reflecting on ISSEA 2016

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Above is a photo of the IST ISSEA Girls Volleyball team AKA Twigas AKA IST Chihuahuas. I was so happy and fortunate to be able to spend four days in Johannesburg playing with such a wonderful team! Overall, we came in 5th place in the tournament but I was amazed and so proud of how we played! It hurts to think that I know we could have done so much better (the game that basically set us up for doom against AISJ was won on a penalty in the third set after being capped), but there was so much more that I gained from this experience than a trophy or medal…

  • Great new relationships
    This season, I’ve gotten to become much closer with so many girls at IST who I would have barely interacted with otherwise. This became even more apparent at ISSEA when we were spending lots of time together, making inside jokes, and sticking together through the highs and lows. ISSEA also grants the opportunity to socialize with people from around the different schools and while I felt this wasn’t as strong at AISJ, I was able to catch up with people I had met the previous year or a few new people as well. It was especially interesting talking to the girls from ICS about the current politics in Ethiopia!
  • A stronger sense of team work
    I suppose that this builds off of my previous point. As I said, we were together through the highs and lows and became very close. Because of this I felt that we became much more of a team than previous people who I had played with. This was certainly obvious on court along with our little jokes (see IST Chihuahuas comment above ;)) 
  • Ability to perform well under pressure
    This, to me, is the most intense and obvious thing gained from tournaments. While I often involve myself in lots of public speaking and debate oriented activities, I find the pressure from sports to be a lot more intense. We’re working as a team and a sort of network and while that idea can be really overwhelming sometimes, it’s important to stay calm and collected.
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Action, Volleyball

First Volleyball Tournament

Saturday marked my first volleyball tournament in my senior year. This was an incredible experience as I was able to gain a great deal of insight regarding my personal strengths and weaknesses along with those of my team. In order to reflect best, I thought it would help to write the following in bullet points so as to address goals individually.

My Strengths:

  1. Movement
    I think that where I did really well in the games on Saturday, especially when playing more difficult teams like Makango, was in the way I was moving. I felt that I was following the ball and anticipating their attacks quite well. This is something that is going to be vital in ISSEA against teams with incredibly strong attacks and so what I’m going to need is to be consistent in what I had done here.
  2. Receiving
    Although I think that this relates pretty strongly to movement, receiving is another thing that I am proud of from this game. In the final set against Makongo, I was in the back court for a significant part. This meant that I had to be low and counted on in order to properly play the game and continue the rally. I think that I did a pretty good job at this and one better than what I had expected. What I realized is that in order to maintain this I just need to remember to sacrifice as the worse that can happen is a simple bruise or scrape!

My Weaknesses:

  1. Attitude
    I noticed early on in the tournament that my attitude greatly affected the way that I was playing. Not playing the first game along with Fernanda, I wasn’t as comfortable in the way that I was warmed up to play a more challenging team. This was obvious as I wasn’t playing as well as I could and then began to stress. Luckily, Maya just casually told me to chill out and not worry a couple of times and it was really amazing how that changed how I felt and subsequently how I played.
  2. Setting
    The irony of being a setter is the fact that I haven’t felt very confident in my setting lately. There were moments during the games where I felt great however I think that consistency is key and the best way to practice this is by helping the team with hitting drills before games along with generally practicing with Millie and Denym.

Notes in the regards to the team:

  • As I said before, it was incredible seeing the encouragement from Maya and how that completely change the way I played. I’m happy to say that this year I feel that we’re a much more encouraging and warmer team than before and so I hope that we keep this up!
  • Our main weakness I think though is laziness. We need to really work on our positioning and moving for the ball. It won’t simply come to individual players and so I hope that by practicing with Jenny or other coaches, we’ll feel more pushed.
  • Along with this, an issue that we certainly have is calling. I think that the easiest way to fix this is by developing the habit during drills but I know that I do that and it’s really helped me.
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Action, Volleyball

First volleyball game of the season!

Today I played the first volleyball game of the season and, incredibly enough, the first game of senior year. It’s been really amazing to see my transitions and improvements as a player from 9th grade and seeing how some things have even stayed the same.

In 9th grade, I can remember just how terrified I was in the first volleyball practice. Given that I was new to IST, I hardly knew anyone and being the only freshman trying out, I felt seriously out of place. Looking back to 3 years ago, I can see all the amazing friendships I’ve actually made during volleyball and just how much of an integral part its become of my high school experience overall.

It’s funny thinking about how overjoyed and anxious I was reading the list of the first cut outside of Batterby’s office and comparing it to the feeling of making ISSEA teams in the following years. I suppose I’ve gotten more confident in my abilities to make the team but what I really realized today is the fact that I’ve worked for that confidence. Today’s game was incredible in the sense that we were really being worked in terms of defence and general stamina. I’m really proud of the points we were playing even though we didn’t necessarily win all of them. Off of this game, I’ve realized that I need to be more confident in my serve as well as work more on attack. Overall though, this season came to a great start and I can’t wait to *hopefully* bring amazing competition to ISSEA in my final year with some of my closest friends!

*written on 25/08/16, not uploaded because of technical issues*

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Action, Volleyball

ISSEA Reflection

Just a week ago was the ISSEA volleyball tournament, and I think that this experience really was a fair representation of how it is not the destination that matters so much, but the adventure. Although we only placed 7th place, we definitely grew as a team both in the way that we played and our relationships.

Personally, I was proudest of myself during our game to HIS when I felt that I was able to contribute the most as an athlete. My work in the back court has made me confident that this is something that I want to use to my advantage in order to help the team next year. After seeing the way that I was able to motivate myself and perform, I am seriously considering talking to whomever the new coach will be about playing libero in our team next year. Through this learning experience, I think that we would significantly benefit from having someone take that position and I am confident that I could train myself to be that person.

Although we did only come in 7th place, I think we had the potential to do so much better. Given the fact that these were the only games (or sets) that we had won the entire season, I hope we made IST proud with at least stepping up our game. What I am most proud that we accomplished were the plays against AISJ when we almost beat the winning team in the second set (22-25). If we were as motivated as we were at that time, I have no doubt we would have taken ISSEA by storm.

Overall, we were able to develop amazing collaborative skills and truly develop into a team in the greatest sense of the word, personally improve on each of our behalves and challenge ourselves, and simply enjoy ourselves. I think that this definitely proves that it was a worthwhile and successful experience.

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