For the first time since middle school, I’ll be missing out on preseason this year. Lacing up new volleyball shoes and practicing, training, and drilling in unairconditioned gyms twice a day has always signaled the start of fall, the school year, and most importantly, a new volleyball season. This year, however, the season will start without me. I played my last college match in 2011 and this year, for the first time since graduating, I have chosen not to coach. Free time in September? I’m not exactly sure what to do with myself. Apple picking? Leaf peeping?
Many players dread preseason, but I was never one of them. I actually looked forward to seeing my teammates again, reveled in the soreness that followed an entire day spent in defensive position, and enjoyed the deep, exhausted sleep between evening and morning sessions.
Perhaps to ease the transition and in honor of the high school and college teams starting preseason, I’ll hit the gym extra hard this month and see if I can reach that epic level of soreness I miss so dearly. I might even commit to playing in a tournament every weekend. My sadness at missing out on preseason is diluted by the knowledge that for volleyball players, the end of college eligibility doesn’t have to mean the end of commitment to this sport. Adult volleyball is thriving around the country and internationally (read “Fulfilling an International Dream” live on the website Aug. 21), and this year I’ll have more time to enjoy it. Even so, you’ll probably find me in the stands at a few local college matches, living vicariously through the players and reminiscing about the good old days. (Need some guidance on where to go to see the best match in your area? Check out Deb Kniffin’s NCAA Women’s Preview live on the website Aug. 20.)
Whether you’re grinding through three-a-day workouts and weightlifting sessions with your team, or in the yoga studio stretching it out before the weekend’s amateur tournament like me, our fitness apparel review (live on the website Aug. 19) will help you perform in comfort and style. Get out there and give it your all—in the gym, on the court, and in the stands.
Originally published in October 2014