Written by freshman outside hitter, Kara Lindstedt
Hi, I am Kara Lindstedt and a freshman this year from Shoreview, Minnesota. One thing that lots of people ask us freshman is "How is college volleyball different from high school volleyball?" The only answer I have been able to come up with is they are not comparable at all. Being a Division I student-athlete, it is about so much more than just being a volleyball player. We are expected to maintain good grades (with help from our academic night life, i.e. Study Tables!), strength train, and be intelligent about our opponents. Then you have the skills of volleyball which are divided into our team concepts and individual development. We have team practices, but we also have small group sessions, which are much more individually and technically focused. In high school, we had team practices and that was about it.
As a Division I student-athlete, we log more hours than just the hours we spend in the gym. For example, in order for us to know our opponents, we watch game film on them. We study the other teams we are going to play and take notes that coaches give us on things to look for or areas of their game we can take advantage of. Then you have weight training which in-season has not been too bad. We lift one or two times a week, but I have been told many stories about our spring season and I am excited (as well as a little afraid!) to experience it. From what I know the sessions will be more often with a little heavier lifting along with conditioning like running which is usually in the morning. Good thing I am a morning person! In addition to the two hour practices every day, we have our small groups where we get to work with other players in our position on position specific things.
Then you just have the differences in your team. Your high school team is made up of people who live in the same area so they are basically on the team based on geography. Here at Green Bay we all (some more than others) are from different areas, which makes our practices way more intense than high school because everyone on this team is here for a reason - they are good at volleyball. You also spend soooo much time with each other, so your teammates really do become family - "Ohana". In high school, you may not be friends with all your teammates, but here I enjoy all of my teammates because during preseason I got to know each one of them not only as my teammate but as my friend. Each of us chose to come to UW-Green Bay, so we automatically have that as a common bond. Then you have the long bus rides to our conference matches which just add to all the bonding time, nothing like a 10-hour bus ride to add to the stories!
Making that leap from high school to college volleyball has been a big change in every aspect of the game. I always knew the game was going to be faster, but it has been all the little things that I never really thought about until I actually was going through it all. But I feel good about the commitment I have made to play Division I volleyball - having a teamroom we can call home, a team you can call family, not to mention the feeling of putting on that jersey and knowing, the wait and stress about choosing a college was totally worth it because I can't see myself at any other school!