Inspiration In Learning

Dec. 30, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)

Inspiration In Learning
By Stacy Sykora, three-time Olympian, 2008 Silver Medalist

I have had many coaches throughout my career. From playing and living all around the world and having coaches from all around the world. I cannot say that only one coach inspired me or made me into the player I am today. I can say that many coaches inspired me and made me into not only the player I am today but the person I am today.

As athletes and players we have to take each and every opportunity that we have to learn the game. Volleyball is a game with a million perspectives but if you churn all of them up into a bowl and then put your cherry on top, you can be the best that you could be at that moment.

It is easy to say, “But I was taught to do it this way” or, “But this way works for me” or, “This is what my coach told me to do.”

If I stopped listening, learning and trying new techniques, mental strategies and physical work, I probably would have never made it out of high school volleyball. I think all athletes in any sport could say this as well.

Change is a process, not an instant. Always try to change. Change is a good thing. Every four years we changed coaches, coaching staff on the USA team with a new strategy and new technique that we all had to use. We all had to make changes to be on the same page. Change can be used as an excuse or used in a positive aspect. No excuses. No regrets.

The sport of volleyball changes. It has changed tremendously since I started playing internationally. If you settle then you will be left behind. I always ask people to try when I teach. Just try what I believe is the best technique at that moment. You do not have to use it. Just take a pinch of it and put your cherry on top. Find what works for you with all of the techniques that you are taught.

One thing that I believe strongly in is to never be satisfied. Even if you are the best of the best, want to be better. Never settle. Never. Always want to be better and always want to help your team. Put your team first and yourself second.

Change is a process. Not an instant. Patience.