Each week, we will give fans an inside look at the Michigan volleyball program with the At the Net blogs. This week, junior Tiffany Morales talks about preseason camp, why the most nervous part of the first day might be headshots and what the Wolverines are doing off the court to help the mental side of the game.
Preseason, a time athletes physically, mentally and emotionally get tested the most. Our first day consisted of physicals, concussion testing, pictures, and team meetings. It was a long but exciting day because it was the first day of being the 2014's Michigan volleyball team. The first day, humorously, also contained an emotional toll on us. Readers might be surprised to hear, team photos are a bit stressful. It's actually the individual headshots that really get us shaking in our spandex. There's so much pressure to have an appealing photo for MGoBlue.com. Every athlete knows it could make or break its chances for being on "UMich Crushes." Of course, we knew that was the least of our worries being that the strength and conditioning testing was the next morning.
All summer, everyone trained the best they could to make sure they were ready. The testing evaluates each player's vertical, strength, and conditioning. As we went through day two checking off the series of tests, excitement grew because we were getting closer to stepping out on the floor of Cliff Keen for our first practice. Once the testing was over, we were finally ready to show the reason we are here, to play volleyball for Michigan. Before I move on, I want to give a shout out to the junior class. Passed every test with flying colors since our freshman year!
The first practice we got to compete. We got to see what each of us could do. The gym has been our sanctuary for non-stop competition since then. Not only has the team been able to set higher expectations each practice but we have also conditioned ourselves beyond belief this preseason and now we are ready to show other teams our tenacity. It is obvious we are working hard because at practice we leave our blood, a lot of sweat, and some hair on the court.
In addition to the team's work ethic, we have been working on our team dynamic. Greg Dale, a mental strength coach, visited us to do exercises to appreciate our differences and to observe the ability of our mind. The most intriguing activity performed was with all of us holding a string with a bolt tied at the end. We were to focus on spinning the bolt in circles, side-to-side, or stopping it without using our hand, just our mind. Our team concluded that Carly and Kelly have powers because they could maneuver the bolt any which way on command. It is interesting to see how much control we have using our mind. I believe the exercises will improve our abilities as well as other exercises we learned to benefit our team communication.
I am so excited to play in our first tournament this weekend in Arkansas. We have been working hard so I can't wait to show what we can do and win for Michigan!
To conclude, I want to thank everyone that has looked out for and taken care of the Michigan volleyball team this preseason. It is greatly appreciated.