Checking the Box

The growing game of women’s volleyball has certainly brought positives to the lives of young girls.

There are more opportunities for females to play sports than ever before. This brings more opportunity to be physically active, to be challenged in life, to interact and work with others. An opportunity to learn how to lead and to learn how to be a part of something outside of themselves. Many of these being what coaches describe as “life- skills”.

But then, the cons of the growing sports world…

Like young kids who are being pressured to decide where they will spend the most influential years of their lives (college), when they are 14, 15, or 16 years old.

Like children being told or encouraged to “focus on one sport”, assuming that is what the college athletes before them did.

Children being told to spend all their free time playing or doing extra training, and to expect to play college sports just because they are.

Since apparently we are at a time where 12 year olds are being ‘recruited’ and where more parents than ever think their child is bound to play in college… I wanted to spend some time sharing what I learned from my recruiting experiences, college career, and beyond. As I look back now and put my player role away and look onto the club volleyball scene with the role of a coach, I see so many girls struggling.

I see them struggling with the pressures of recruiting. The pressures of being expected to pick the best program possible instead of the school they felt was academically exciting. The pressure of their other athlete peers who find it a competition to see who is going to the “better” program, the Ivy League school, or the Division 1 institution. The pressure of young players who are already getting asked what schools have contacted them, or where they are ‘committed’ to – when maybe they don’t even know if they like playing enough to want to play in college.

My advice to the athlete is this: 

Stop comparing yourselves and your “accomplishments” to other athletes.  Each of you is bound to go through some good times, and some really bad ones while you’re in college. Some of you will probably quit, some of you will transfer, and some of you will make it all the way through. But the more you base your decision off of what school will be the most impressive to everyone who asks, and not based off what YOU need, the more miserable you will be.

Choose a place where YOU- as a player, a person, a student – will THRIVE during the ‘best years of your life’. Dont just check the box.


Your child MAY NOT BE A COLLEGE ATHLETE. (I said it.) Your kid may not even WANT to play in college. But pushing extra training, weight lifting, and private lessons, while still expecting them to keep perfect grades, and forcing your 11-year-old to never touch a piece of pizza, will only make them ill-prepared for the future. If they’re not driven to do the extra training that can take them to the next level on their own, when they get to college athletics they will just crash and burn. Dont force it on someone. There are endless opportunities for what someone can become besides a college athlete- life goes on.

Oh, and also – It’s okay to take breaks. No one’s scholarship ever rode on whether or not they took a couple of days off in the summer. Give their body the break that it needs- they’re still kids, and it will help keep their love for the game alive!


The growing opportunities for females in college sports is exciting, but it does not mean it is meant for everyone. At the end of the day, it is all just a game. A game that no matter where or for how long you play… will teach, motivate, and inspire future women.







The Science of Bench Warming

Growing up a competitive, hard-working, and talented athlete I spent little time on the bench… (there is more to that story so just keep reading)

Maybe your story is different. Maybe you are reading this because you are looking for drills or secrets that will get you off the bench.

But I am not here to help you be a better physical player. And I am definitely not here to tell you to be satisfied with being on the bench.

I am here to help you become the best second-string (or third, or fourth…) teammate there is!

So here is my story…

No, I did not spend a lot of time on the bench as a young player or high school-er. In fact, there was not one team that I did not start for in the first almost 10 years of my career.

I am only telling you this to prove the point that I was not accustomed to the bench, how to act on the bench, how to be part of the second-string, or how to be a truly good teammate.

A truly good teammate works hard, competes, and makes their team better every single day, no matter what the starting line-up says.

It’s easy to be a good teammate when everything is going your way.

I got my first wake-up call when I stepped foot on the campus of University of Florida to start my freshman year of division 1 volleyball. Obviously I realized and was told I had a lot to learn and the chances of me playing were pretty low that first year. After all, a majority of everyone playing division 1 volleyball was the best player in their area, on their team, and so on. When you put 15-20 people together who were all the best, and only 6 people can play at a time, you end up with a lot of heartbreak, disappointment, and selfishness.

Here’s what NOT to do when you find yourself not playing:

Talk badly about coaches or teammates – especially to other teammates! – because you think you deserve to be on the court

Have a bad attitude and effort in practice because you’re not starting

Cry or pout in front of teammates/coaches because of your situation

Get distracted while on the bench, not cheer for teammates, cross your arms, etc

Now back to my story,

As the time came for season to start, I was not in the starting line-up, and little did I know this would not be the last time. This was the beginning of a long line of seasons where I would be starting off in second-string.

But from that freshman season on, I decided I would be the most supportive teammate I could possibly be. I would take any opportunity I had to make my team better.

I would be the best scout team setter. I would do whatever my team needed me to do. I would get extra reps. I would study film twice as hard as everyone so that I would know exactly how to imitate the other team; the plays they ran and when, the speed of the offense, the defensive positioning, who they set in what circumstances…all of it.

I would cheer loudly and genuinely for my teammates. I would pay attention during games and not drift off and get distracted.

I would do everything I would be doing if I was on the court, and then some!

**This also goes for those of you who were starting and got hurt or demoted. I’ve been there too, and that gets into an even harder situation because you are also mad that you aren’t able to play… But keep reading!

The hardest season was the Fall of 2014, my first season with Oregon State University and my redshirt sophomore year. I had finally recovered from knee surgery and was playing well and confident. But I was still not starting. There was a 5th year senior setter, a great leader, and a hard worker who had earned the starting job.

I made it my goal to make my team better in whatever way I could. And by the end of the 2014 season we were heading to the Sweet 16. Instead of pouting and feeling sorry for myself that I had nothing to do with it, I confidently told myself daily that I had every bit as much to do with our success as the starting outside hitter. I knew I had left it all on the floor. I knew I had made my teammates better by challenging them every single day with the second-string team. I knew I cheered them on and supported them throughout the entire season.

I am not telling you it is not hard!

Yes, there are bad days. A lot of them. There was a lot of crying behind closed doors and on the back of bus seats.

There are times that you think it is not fair, that you should be the one out there.

There are times you want to just quit everything you’ve worked for and give up.

For me, there was a lot frustration, negative self-talk, and a lot of confidence lost.

However, I never lost confidence that I made my team better and that I helped them to the Sweet 16 that year.

You don’t have to be on the court to make an impact. You don’t have to be the starting player for teammates to like you. You don’t have to be the all-american outside hitter to be a good teammate and treat them well.

But you DO need to:

Selflessly give up your wants and needs for the good of the TEAM.

Focus on your TEAM’S success, not your personal “failure” to fulfill your dream.

Commit every practice to making the TEAM better.

Genuinely be happy for, encourage, and support your TEAMMATES.

Persevere to work even harder to chase your dreams of being that STARTER.

I have complete faith that I learned so much more about life, people, and sports while sitting/standing on the bench than I ever would have learned if I didn’t have to deal with those hard situations. Whether your career is filled with bench-warming or your only destined for a season or two, it will always be difficult for competitive athletes to find it in themselves to work hard and not reap the rewards of play time. But, by being a good teammate you show your team that they are worth more, and that the team’s success is worth more, than your dreams and desires.

And after all, that is what being on a team is all about.

Gators vs. Jacksonville 09-17









Updated Dreams

So the last time I posted on here was about 9 months ago. Around the time I was dealing with the aftermath of the thing I loved most being ripped right from my hand in December 2015.

And yes, I mean volleyball.

Simply put, I was torn to shreds and didn’t know what to do with my life. I felt like I had no purpose. Volleyball was all I had ever done. It’s how I paid for my school. It’s where I gained pretty much the only friends I had on campus. It’s where I spent a majority of my time. And it’s really all I cared about.

However, since then a lot has changed.

During the time I would have been playing my senior season of OSU volleyball, I was helping coach a varsity team at a nearby high school (my first real job). It helped me stay busy and try not to think about my dreams being lived out right in front of my eyes, without me. It also gave me amazing young girls to hang out with every day while I tried to fuel their passion for volleyball and joy for life. This is when I confirmed my love for working with kids, no matter the age, and impacting their lives through sports.

I also got to start my internships, focus on my classes, and try to get healthy.

But my biggest opportunity for a new outlook was my summer mission trip to Guatemala. It was a difficult but amazing trip for me;  lots of manual labor, Spanish-speaking (the difficult part, I speak none…at all), new relationships, and growth. That is where I realized there is so much more than volleyball for me. There are other things I have been chosen to do. And whether you believe in God or not, I think we can all agree that each of us has a specific purpose in this life.

It took time to really buy into this renewed purpose. I was still very angry and bitter about everything I had worked for being taken away, and sometimes I still get caught up in fantasizing about the “shoulda woulda coulda’s”. But I was constantly being reminded: “patience”. I didn’t know exactly what for, but I just had to wait and see.

But here I am, almost 7 months from that Summer trip, patiently waiting for my time to come.

I moved back to California- a state I am not exactly a fan of due to the extremely high prices of food and the ridiculous traffic. I also moved away from my long-term boyfriend and the college-town I love (#1 college-town in the pac ;).

But I currently have a job that I love and enjoy. And I was able to move to San Diego to try to fulfill my new dream of being a professional beach volleyball player, God-willing. My goals of becoming healthy and taking it step-by-step will rely on one thing: being patient. Patience to see if my body will be able to handle training again.Patience to see if beach volleyball is part of the new and updated plan. And patience to see where God will use my passions next.

So it’s not so much ‘life after the dream’, but ‘life with an updated dream’


13 years later…

It’s been 13 years since I walked into my first gym and started playing volleyball. I was 9 years old with a seriousness that was just ridiculous for someone my age. The same attitude that you would see in a world-class athlete at the Olympic Games…Except I was 9, and all the other little kids were doing this weird thing-“having fun”. It’s not that I wasn’t having fun, I have loved every minute that I have been blessed to play or train in some way. Its just that I was serious about this sport because I wanted to be as good as I could possibly be-simply because I loved it. Its like I knew I was meant to do this for a long time.

It seems like such a long time to be doing one thing. But that’s exactly how I wanted it. Its all I ever wanted to do and all I ever will want to do. It was my dream. 

Anyone reading this as a past or present athlete understands the identity that you form in your sport. But yet it can disappear in a blink of an eye…                                                                                                                               and then what?                                                                                   At this point its hard to imagine doing anything else. 

Which brings me to where I am right now. 13 years later. An innumerable amount of club teams, coaches, and teammates. 4 high school varsity teams, 2 amazing universities.                          And its all gone just as fast as it came.

December 2015 I made the difficult decision to officially medically retire from my collegiate volleyball career due to health concerns. My days as a student-athlete were over. It was the hardest decision of my life, and I still struggle with it every single day. But, I am trusting that there is something new for me.

So for now, whats life after the dream?