Volleyball in the Time of Social Distancing

Author: Abigail Buchanan-Kenzinger

Editor’s Note: Abigail wrote this blog in early May, and we felt it was best to keep her thoughts as they reflected the situation at the time.

So much has changed within the world of volleyball in the last few months, and as a club athlete and high school student, I’ve had to adjust many aspects of my life.

But, how do we all respond to the rapid and overpowering changes that have arisen?

Currently, my area is still under strict social distancing guidelines. Sit-in service at restaurants is unavailable, all parks and public areas are closed, and local gyms have remained closed as well. The ability to spend time with my friends and family is limited.

Having conversations using online video chats has been the closest thing to in-person interaction.

But, I’ve been part of activities that don’t require individuals to be near each other and still allow you to show support for friends during this time. For example, I recently went to a birthday parade for one of my teammates. Each of us remained in our cars as we drove past her house and had zero contact.

Despite not being able to touch one another, we still enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate together.

Honestly, in the beginning of the quarantine, I struggled to find a routine and was devastated by the prospect of losing both my club season and what remained of my sophomore year. I struggled with this reality for a while before realizing that I couldn’t allow myself to fall into negative patterns. Adjusting my sleep schedule and finding ways to work out at home boosted my energy levels and allowed me to feel more like myself.

I’ve been peppering with my brother, who also mourned the loss of a volleyball season at his high school.

In fact, any willing and able family member is a great peppering partner, regardless of their level of experience. Simply getting touches on the ball and working on fundamental skills are helpful. Work on conditioning and weightlifting to stay in shape and prepare for the day that our schedules return to normal. I’ve also been using this time to communicate with prospective colleges. Although college coaches may not be able to see you play, it’s still possible to send film, build relationships and learn more about the recruiting process.

Although you can exercise at home, the feeling of playing with a team and competing is irreplaceable.

I was upset by the cancellation of qualifiers, nationals and our tournaments, but I understood that it was for the benefit of my health and safety. Even though my time with my team was cut short, this season was one of the most enjoyable I’ve ever had. We never failed to work hard for each other and found success because of it. Being a part of such a great program and having the honor to work with an amazing coach and team is a part of why losing that experience was so devastating.

Currently, I’m connecting with my club and working on my volleyball IQ by doing Zoom calls with my team and coaches.

During the meetings, we’ll analyze film, talk about ways to adjust our technique, or practice scouting a team. We may not be able to see one another in the gym, but doing these types of meetings has allowed me to keep in touch with the non-physical aspects of volleyball. It’s important to keep in mind that the current circumstances don’t take away from your memories or successes from this season.

We’re still motivated by the future and all of the volleyball yet to come. Regardless of these changes we are facing, we are not facing them alone.

Abigail Buchanan-Kenzinger of Michio Chicago VBA is Your Court’s junior blogger.



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