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Sykora Doesn't Keep Secrets - She Shares Them

By Kristina Harter | July 25, 2013, 9:16 p.m. (ET)

Kristina Harter, USA Volleyball Communications Intern, Phone: (719) 228-6800, Email: Kristina.harter@usav.org
USAV Facebook - @USA_Volleyball

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (July 24, 2013) – Three-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Stacy Sykora did not want to give up playing. Her career came to a sudden halt when she was involved in a bus accident in April of 2011 where she suffered from a serious brain injury.

It was more than a challenge for her to overcome this hardship, but if you know Sykora, you know she can do anything.

“Once my coach made me pass 1,000 balls in one practice because I didn’t pass a perfect free ball in a game,” she said. “I was crying, my legs were numb, my kneepads were covered in blood, but I did it.”

That is just one of many tales Sykora lives to share. A more recent story that is still developing is that of her first experience coaching at the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships this week.

“This tournament is the greatest thing I have ever decided to do,” she said.  “Honestly, being a coach makes me feel like I am accomplishing more than I did as a player.  I’m teaching these athletes how to become Olympic athletes.”

Sykora may not be able to play the game anymore at an elite international level, but she has filled that void with a passion for coaching players who may become the future of USA Volleyball.

“I’m helping the future of USA Volleyball and that’s huge to me,” Sykora said. “I want USA Volleyball to win a gold medal in every Olympics from here on out and this is where it begins.”

Sykora hopes to impact at least one player who goes on to win an Olympic gold medal.

“Maybe one of these girls will be like ‘Man, back in 2013 Stacy really helped me out when she told me that,’” Sykora said.

While many individuals find her motivating, Sykora feels the same way about the players she is coaching.

“Everyone says I’m helping and inspiring them so much,” Sykora said. “But I say they’re helping me so much and they are inspiring me. When I’m at home at night, I go to sleep with a smile.”

SYKORA’S TOP FIVE TIPS TO SUCCESS

  1. Pursue Goals – Players always seem to listen to the negatives and the positives get forgotten. People’s opinions don’t mean anything, it’s all about what you think. If you have a goal, go for it.

  2. Watch and Learn – I watched all the best liberos in the world when I was young. I wrote down all the things that they did great and all the things they did bad. I would master their greatness, and what they did bad I would never do. You can’t go wrong with that. You can learn from everyone, even the worst person on the bench.

  3. No Excuses, No Regrets – If you don’t have any excuses, you can go to sleep at night with no regrets as well.

  4. Why Not You? – Why LeBron James or Michael Jordan? They were kids with dreams once too. Anything is possible.

  5. Overcome Obstacles – We all have different backgrounds. It goes back to no excuses, no regrets, but if you want it, do whatever it takes to get there. If someone says they didn’t play well because their stomach hurt…well, what if you have that stomach ache when you’re in a gold-medal match? What are you gonna do then? You better learn how to do it.

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