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Advice to My Fourteen Year-Old Self

By Iya Lindahl

When I was fourteen, I played indoor volleyball on the Coast 15-3’s regional team. It was my first year playing at a high club level. That was the year I decided I wanted to be one of the best and to this day that is still my goal. I looked around at all the girls on the top teams who smashed and dug balls and I knew that I wanted to be among them. 

At that age, the difference between the best and the wannabes isn't hard work but more natural born talent. I was relatively athletic, but I wasn't as naturally gifted as the girls on the number one and two teams. I did however think that maybe if I was determined enough, just like all of the cliche quotes told me to be, that I could be great too. But I failed constantly. It seemed that every time I would play the girls on the top teams, they would annihilate me. I was so frustrated, but I refused to give up and as a result here I am at Cal Berkeley playing sand volleyball for the Golden Bears. 

In the “Easy” Way to Success: Hard Work, Dr. Alan Goldberg says that “while everyone may want the success that a Michael Jordan has, most athletes, perhaps upwards to 98%, are not willing to DO WHATEVER IS NECESSARY to get there. You see, this success strategy is very simple and very non-glamorous. It’s the four-letter word, WORK.”

So if I could say anything to my fourteen year old self, I would say that it does get better as long as you work hard.  Hard work does pay off, even if it takes as long as a year or even four years. For all the fourteen year-old girls out there who do feel discouraged, there are so many things you can learn to develop as a player. Focus on nutrition, watch video of the best (Kerri and Misty of course), listen to your coaches, lift weights (properly) and work your butt off until you achieve your dreams!!!