Girls’ Volleyball Season Has Come to an End. How are the Players Feeling?

By Zola Mlambo and Sebanti Chowdhury

12 min read

Photo by Jacqueline Kabuya

Upon the ending of the girls' volleyball season, we decided to interview players of the junior and senior girls' volleyball team for their perspectives on sportsmanship, volleyball, teamwork and more. We had the privilege of hearing about their season filled with music, friendship, and a fair bit of chaos.

DISCLAIMER: The interviewee’s responses in this article may be edited solely for the purpose of clarity.

First, let’s see how the junior girls' team are feeling about their very chaotic season. Their responses show resilience in the face of struggle, as this season has been particularly challenging for the team. The way the players lift each other up after loses and the friendship they all share was quite inspiring to me. I (Sebanti) spoke with Cora and Talia for insight.

How was the season?

It was good, we played good, it was a very chaotic season.

— Cora

What memories are you going to miss the most from this season?

The pre-games. During FIT we would do our hair together and listen to music. I’m gonna miss that.

— Cora

What do you think your strengths as a team are? What are your challenges?

Our strengths, after we lose, we kinda come back together and hype each other up for the next game, even though we lose.

— Talia

The pre-games. During FIT we would do our hair together and listen to music. I’m gonna miss that.

— Cora

I want to ask you about audience etiquette. The way the audience behaves, does it ever effect your performance?

Yeah, like when they cheer really loud, I definitely get a lot more excited.

— Talia

It wouldn’t affect me if they were booing us, but it helps when they’re cheering us on. I think more people need to come to volleyball games.

— Cora

What do your warm-ups look like? What helps you get into action?

We just do drills and blast music, and I think the music helps hype us up. We do kajima for one of our drills, which is three people and a hitter hitting at us, and we have to get [the ball] back to the hitter to tip it or hit it or freeball it. And then we hype each other up in a circle.

— Cora

What technique do you apply when you play? What’s going through your head when playing a game?

Moving our feet, to get to the ball and following the ball.

— Talia

What goes through my head when I’m playing, I mainly just focus on trying to get the ball over [the net]. That’s all I'm trying to do.

— Cora

Is the school accommodating to your schedule when it comes to sports? How do you keep a balance between school and sports?

Well, the good thing about this school year, all my classes are just electives, science, and French. So I don’t really have that much homework. But it’s not something I think about before playing, like Oh my god, I have so much schoolwork! On the days I have a game I try to finish them during class.

— Cora

Our practices and our games, they’re not late, they started at 4:30 or 3:00. So, we always have time to go home and do [other] stuff.

— Talia

What level do you think your opponents are at, higher or lower or at the same level?

Honestly, Point Grey, definitely better than us. Magee sucks. But yeah, I think we’re pretty equal with the other teams. We just… had some other problems.

— Talia

I want to talk about mindset. You mentioned how this season has been hard for you guys, so how do you keep a positive mindset, even when things might be tough on the team?

Positive mindset? We definitely didn’t really do that this year; our mindset definitely was not positive. I think what kept us going, was we really wanted to win because we weren’t winning.

— Talia

Talia’s [mindset] was [positive]. Talia and Mitsuki (another team player) and almost everybody else were like, the nicest people on the team, so they all had positive mindsets – I think? It seemed like they all had positive mindsets. I just feel like deep down we all had, like, a doubt. We were all like oh, we’re probably gonna lose this game. But like we wanted to win so badly, but we also thought we were gonna lose. That’s how we kept a positive mindset, we were like we need to win this game. Especially home games.

— Cora

What is your favourite thing about volleyball and why?

I love the team atmosphere, being part of a team is so fun. Like doing our hair, listening to music together, the car rides and the bus rides to the game, are so fun. I love being part of a team. Obviously playing is so fun too, because you get so much adrenaline, it’s so fun! But the team is also one of the best parts.

— Talia

Spending time with each other and getting closer. And talking about the games that we lost and the games that we have in the future. Volleyball is just such a fun thing to be a part of! And our team, I think that we were all pretty close, we were all friends, which helped our team. That’s my favourite thing, if I see one of them in the hallways, I can say hi.

— Cora

Any closing thoughts? Anything to say to the people reading this?

So, were gonna win next year, next year we’re literally gonna demolish everyone! We’re gonna play super good, we’re gonna practice a lot, and we’re gonna win! We’re gonna frigging win provincials.

— Talia

Next year, if we get interviewed better, it’s gonna be more hyped. We’re gonna win a banner.

— Cora

We also decided to interview some of the senior girls who were formerly on the volleyball team. We asked them various questions about their experience while on the team as well as the advice they had for the next generation of King George girls' volleyball players. We had the pleasure of interviewing, Fiorella and Lara to give us some valuable insight into team sports life at King George.

I (Zola) first asked them about the initial plan the team had for the season, Fiorella shared that even though the main goal had not been achieved they were still able to make fun memories as a team and achieve plenty of other things during the season.

What were your goals as team during the season? What did you want to achieve?

Our goal was to win Cities which was the banner, but unfortunately, we didn't. But I think we had a great season throughout, but we had a really good team.

— Fiorella

I decided to inquire about what the girls thought their strengths were as a team. They highlighted some challenges in the past that they were able to overcome this season.

What did you think your strengths were as a team, and what were your weaknesses, or what did you think you wanted to improve as a team?

Ok well I would say our strength is -

— Lara

we grew a lot as a team, because at first a lot of us weren’t friends, so I think that we built a lot of -

— Fiorella

a connection.

— Lara

Yeah, our connection got way better throughout the season.

— Fiorella

Yeah, we were all open minded.

— Lara

We were very positive throughout the season as well, like before (last year) our team was very negative and very closed minded, but we wanted to change that this year, so I guess it was a big change.

— Fiorella

Next, I decided to ask the girls about audience etiquette, having been to a few school games myself, I've noticed sometimes students/spectators can get unruly and say negative comments to seek attention from players. So, it was interesting to hear the girl's response about their experiences with sports audiences in general and how we as spectators can cheer them on.

How do you feel about audience etiquette, and how they can improve? What was the best audience?

I think we had a really good audience this year, like from our school, because, past years, we had no one come to our games, but this year there was a big change, and there was a lot of people coming out to support us, which was really nice. But I don’t think we played against any other teams that were -

— Fiorella

Yeah, when we went to away games there weren't many-

— Lara

Yeah, like around 5 people that came to watch their games.

— Lara

Yeah, like the most that we had were definitely at our home games.

— Fiorella

If somebody were to come to your games, how do you think they should act, like be quiet, cheer?

Yeah be loud, just support.

— Lara

Cheer, yeah, be loud.

— Fiorella

I asked the girls about what routine they do to get ready for court, what helps them feel confident, etc. Music was a main factor in pumping them up and giving them the energy to play on the court. As well as the defense drill called kajima (which means don’t do it in Korean).

What do your warm – ups look like; What helps you get into action; What helps you play on the court?

Music definitely.

— Fiorella

Yeah, we play lots of music.

— Lara

If we didn’t have music, that was like a big change in the dynamic of our group and like our energy, which played a big role in the team. It would get us like very hyped.

— Lara

So, music is kind of, one of the ways that you get into the mood of playing, is there anything else or is music just the main one?

Music, main one, but like our warmup, we would just do kajima, like dynamics, it's like these little team games that we play.

— Lara

I wanted to know what techniques the girls use to assess their competitors, and what approach they use while on the court. Their response was mainly them analyzing the other team and making changes according to that.

When you see a competitor, what is it you’re trying to instantly apply to the game?

Right, so throughout the warm-ups, we just try to see the other team, like which are the best players, and how their setter mainly like, is. We just try to focus on their techniques and analyze how they work as a team.

— Talia

And then we come up with solutions or -

— Lara

Yeah, before the game starts -

— Fiorella

Plays on how we can like, kinda mess up their offence or defence based on how well they do stuff. And it's also for us like aggression, like we may be really good skill wise but if the other team doesn't see any aggression like we’re not gonna get anywhere.

— Lara

Like, it’s a big mental game

— Lara

Yeah, it is a big mental game.

— Fiorella

Following that question, I was curious to know if any school was able to make them feel a bit nervous or changed the way they played, and what they did in response.

Has any school kind of influenced the way you played, is there some school where you were like, ok we need to play sharper on this end or like their good at this?

I would say St. Pats.

— Lara

Definitely, the last game we had was against St. [Patrick], and it was really good, we played really good against them, we were ranging very well to what the mistakes that we were doing against them... I don’t know, I think that was a good game we had, they were a really good team as well, I think we were on the same level.

— Fiorella

Next, I wanted to know if the school system was accommodating to their schedules, since they had to practice (for volleyball) and study, were teachers understanding? Did they feel like volleyball had taken up too much of their time, etc? Their response was pleasing to hear. Expressing understanding from teachers like their coach (Mr. Campbell) and schoolwork not deterring them from their desire to play the sport.

Do you feel like the school is accommodating enough to your schedule?

Like as in our coach, like doing so or take time off of practice?

— Lara

Your coach or your teachers?

I know that our coach would, if we all brought that up to his attention, he's okay if we miss a practice because we have to catch up, because he always tells us, you’re a student athlete, student comes first, but I think a lot of us on the team are more like, ‘no, we want to play.’

— Lara

Spending time with each other and getting closer. And talking about the games that we lost and the games that we have in the future. Volleyball is just such a fun thing to be a part of! And our team, I think that we were all pretty close, we were all friends, which helped our team. That’s my favourite thing, if I see one of them in the hallways, I can say hi.

— Cora

My next question was regarding the level they felt their opponents were at. I wanted to know if they ever felt perhaps unprepared to go against certain schools. And what they would do before playing against them.

Because you mentioned that you needed to analyze some of your [opponent’s] movements, do you think after when you came back to practice that you needed to get to certain level to improve to go against a certain opponent?

Yeah, I think so, definitely, our coach would really help with that, the next practice, if we lost the game, he would be like, Oh this is what we're going to work on today because this is what we didn’t do so well on the day before, and that's what he would try to fix.

— Fiorella

An example would be, we played Prince of Wales, and they had this really tall middle whose 6’3 ft, and the day before we had that game, we were all hitting line because she blocks cross.

— Lara

How do you keep a positive mindset even when things may be tough on the team; how do you get together and cheer up?

I feel like that was a bit of a hard thing towards the end of the season.

— Fiorella

Especially for us, because we’re graduating this year.

— Lara

Yeah, so we really wanted to win, so like that was kinda hard for us.

— Fiorella

I think we all tried our best; we had like open conversations about how we were feeling and how we can support each other, but in the end, I think it was hard for all of us because we’re all very competitive, but we all just tried to keep a positive mindset Well, the good thing about this school year, all my classes are just electives, science, and French. So I don’t really have that much homework. But it’s not something I think about before playing, like Oh my god, I have so much schoolwork! On the days I have a game I try to finish them during class. Mindset because we knew how it could affect other people on the team if we were to blame people.

— Lara

What is your favourite thing about volleyball?

I think we would both say hitting.

— Fiorella

Yeah, I just love playing, like if anything it just makes me feel free, I like it.

— Lara

Winning or whatever it’s like a very good feeling of accomplishment.

— Fiorella

It's just great being on a team, you get close to these people, you share the same interest, and it's just like a great environment to be in.

— Lara

Since you guys mentioned that you’re seniors and graduating, what would your advice be to upcoming members of the volleyball team (from grade 8 to whatever)? What do you think they can improve on and add to the team?

Join club (Volleyball Club).

— Fiorella

Yeah, join club, practice off season.

— Lara

Like if you really want to have a good team by the time, you’re senior level, or like if you have the same goals as we have like winning a banner or winning all your games; definitely you have to put time and effort into that if you want to be a good team. You know if you want to be a good player you definitely have to put time and effort into it.

— Fiorella

The King George Times

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