Follow the offseason through the words of Nirelle Hampton

Nirelle Hampton

Nirelle Hampton

March 8, 2006

Today was the last day of individual practices. When we return from spring break, we will start having team practices. Individuals have been a wonderful opportunity to focus on my skills and tweaking up on technique and form. I am very excited to have practice with the whole team again. During my individual today, I found myself getting extremely frustrated because I could not seem to get my blocking technique down. It was really helpful to have Lemeita (Smith), Calli (Corley) and Agi (Nemeth) there for support and encouragement. They really helped me through my frustration and stayed positive with me and helped me relax during the drill. Their encouragement carried over into the weight room as we maxed out in hang cleans. My teammates were able to talk me out of doubtful thoughts and I was able to clear my mind to focus on lifting. This is a positive glimpse of what is to come for the rest of the spring season.

March 6, 2006

We did a jumping test instead of conditioning. Yesterday we found our bench press maxes. For the rest of the week, we will test our maxes in hang cleans and squats. As a freshman, I feel this week is my chance to establish a block to build on for future success as a TCU volleyball player. I get to see where I am at now and look forward to the improvements I can make with the continued hard work. Though it is frustrating now not being able to perform the way I would like, I look forward to the future and working hard to achieve my personal goals in the weight room. I have to say that having my teammates by my side has really helped a great deal on trying to stay positive.

February 24

In weights today we did pull-ups, which are my weakness. The thing I like about pull-ups though is I can feel myself increase in strength and get better at it each time. Weights in general were a challenge as usual, but Friday is always nice because you have the weekend to look forward to. Our individual practice was cancelled today so instead we had an open gym where we got to just play. Open gyms are always fun because during the week, you work on individual skills and this gives us a chance to play and have a little fun. I love competing and open gym is a great opportunity to compete outside of conditioning and the weight room. Usually when we have open gym, we play on a men's net which is higher and more of a challenge. It makes our games more entertaining.

February 23

Today was quite a challenge in conditioning and in my individual. For conditioning, we had to throw a 20-lb. medicine ball as high in the air as we could for the warm up. It was frustrating because I would try with all my might and could barley get the ball above my head. Then, we had to jog, stride, sprint and walk circuits. It was very challenging and Matt Parker (strength and conditioning coach) was sure to push us. Even though it was hard, it felt like quite an accomplishment when we finished. During individuals, Anna (Vaughn), Emily (Allen) and I worked a lot on defense. Defense is extremely hard to work on coming right out of such a strenuous workout so I really had to push myself in the gym. Trying to stay in a low defensive stance and move is tough with legs that feel like jell-o. But with a little encouragement from my teammates and from the coaches, it turned out to be a productive practice where I felt like I made some good improvements on my defense.

February 14, 2006

During my individual today, I got to set a lot to my teammate Devon (Kirk). Once again, I worked on my setting footwork and hand placement to improve my setting consistency. Each day, I feel my confidence build as I become more consistent. It is very encouraging to notice the results. Conditioning took place in the sand volleyball courts today and it was pretty hard jumping and sprinting in the sand. However, it is cool how we get a variety of workouts rather than just doing the same thing over and over again every day. Each day is challenging and different which makes me have to stay on my toes. On Wednesday, we have a recruit coming in so I am excited to enjoy a little time off and hang out with a potential teammate.

February 13, 2006

Monday means the beginning of the week and early morning weights. Waking up early in the morning to work out is never fun, but it is nice to get it done early in the day. Trying to focus is hard in the morning, so having my teammates there to push me always helps. Today, I had my individual with my teammates Calli (Corley), Emily (Allen) and Anna (Vaughn). I did a lot of setting to Anna and Emily and back row to Calli. We got to work a lot on our connection and timing between my setting and their hitting. I felt it was a very productive day. Once again, we did repetition after repetition to implant the correct techniques into our heads.

February 9, 2006

During individual practice today, I feel that I made a small improvement. Today, I worked a lot on my blocking skills. Blocking is not my strongest skill, so working on it can get very frustrating. There is so much technique involved with all aspects of volleyball, and trying to master each technique takes a lot of practice and repetition. I know that it is important for me to learn to have patience with myself as I make progression in each skill. Today in the weight room, Matt Parker (our strength coach) pushed us hard, as usual. In the weight room, it is very encouraging because I can feel the results pretty rapidly as I grow stronger. For example, my weakness in the weight room is pull ups. Even thought I dread doing pull-ups, I can feel myself making an improvement each time by being able to do a few more than the previous time. I am excited to see how my strength continues to grow throughout the spring season.

February 7, 2006

Today, during my individual practice, I did a lot of technical footwork with my setting. It gets extremely frustrating at times trying to perfect such little details, but I know that it will make a great deal of improvement for me in the future. I have noticed that it is a lot easier to focus during shorter individual practices as opposed to longer team practices. The spring is dedicated to perfecting individual skills in volleyball instead of more team challenges in the fall. It is also dedicated to improving individual strength and fitness. That is where conditioning comes in. We worked a lot on foot speed today which I can always improve upon. Even though we have only been in the spring season for a couple of weeks, I do feel that I am making an improvement on my physical abilities. As a freshman, I do feel at times that I am not up to par on what the team's capabilities are, but that is part of being a freshmen. I know that the spring season is for me to learn and grow as an athlete and volleyball player, and that is exactly what I plan to do.



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