Follow the Golden Gopher volleyball program as they prepare for the 2011 season. Members of the team will share their experience with gophersports.com in this running blog. Check back to gophersports.com throughout fall practice to hear other members' perspectives.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 (Caitlin Roberts)
This morning, I went to breakfast and had the usual french toast with sausage and fruit made by the wonderful Bill and Frida. After breakfast, we would usually have a team meeting, but today it was moved to after lunch.
Because we had a little break, the other freshmen (Morgan, Kellie, and Juliane) and I decided to go into the team room and relax and watch some T.V. However, we couldn't get too comfortable because we had team yoga before lunch. Yoga is a stretch for me...no pun intended...because I am not the most flexible person in the world so it is usually a challenge. I try and do yoga near other girls who are around the same flexibility as me to make myself feel a little better about my yoga skills.
After yoga, we all headed off to lunch where I had a delicious tuna sandwich, a bag of chips, and some more fruit. Following lunch, we had our meeting and went out to our last practice in our gym before we head off to our first tournament at Penn State! Leaving practice, I feel that our coaches have done a great job preparing all of us for this weekend and that the team has really come together this preseason!
GO GOPHERS!! :)
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 (Juliane Daugaard)
This morning I woke up and went to breakfast with the rest of my team. Morgan (Bohl) always wants me to try the french toast but I ate oatmeal like I always do because french toast looks weird. :)
We had a meeting right after breakfast and then had the rest of the morning off. We are now down to one practice a day.
Bill and Frida made a delicious lunch. I am getting used to American food even though it's very different from the Danish food I am used to. After lunch I was laying on the couch about to take a nap, but then the fire alarm went off. Luckly it was only a test and everybody was alright :)
I forgot about my nap and began to prepare for practice. Practice was great. We worked hard and we are getting better every day. The team is leaving for Penn State in two days. I think we are all very excited and ready for the first match this season.
At dinner Bill and Frida suprised us with some really good cake.
We are all ready for another great practisce tomorrow!
KOM SÅ GOPHERS (GO GOPHERS)!
Monday, August 22, 2011 (Kellie McNeil)
Fellow Gopher Fans!
Today started with another nice breakfast made by Bill and Frida. I happen to have a very big appetite this morning! With every meal I always eat fruit. It is just too delicious! After breakfast, we had a meeting with our coaches and as always learned new things! Then, it was lunchtime. Being athletes, I think it is fair to say that most of us like to eat a lot since we work out so much! There's really only one thing that describes food and my relationship. I love food!!
After lunch, we had some time to prepare ourselves for practice by getting treatment with our trainer as well as getting mentally prepared. I like having enough time before practice to get ready so I don't feel rushed! Today was like most other practices. We continue to get better individually and as a team. All teams go through some bumps and bruises down the road including us, but I believe they make us stronger! In fact, I know they make us stronger! Just as Steffi had mentioned in the last blog, we didn't have to take ice baths again. Even though we didn't take an ice bath, some of my teammates and I still went and got ice because we want to minimize and heal injuries! I was talking to my teammate Bri, and we agreed that an ice bath sounded like a good idea. But, it was too late!
We had already headed up to dinner where we ate steak and potatoes, one of my favorite meals! And I had my usual side of fruit which was fresh and definitely hit the spot! After dinner, our team had a short meeting to re-cap practice and learn from each other. Overall, it was a good day! Our focus in the gym and practicing with the end in mind is pushing us towards our goal.
I'm very excited to travel to Penn State this weekend with the team! This is our first time traveling this season and should be a good time!
Go Gophers! :)
August 20, 2011 (Steffi Sooter)
Hi Gopher fans!
I just wanted to take a few minutes to update all of you on our first couple weeks of preseason. Bottom line: It's been pretty awesome. I mean, we’ve been sore and tired. We not only had to take an ice bath once a day, but twice day, so I suppose there are a couple downsides, But all in all we've had a lot of fun and we have been very productive. As usual today we started the day off right with a yummy breakfast made by Bill and Frida and let me tell you, they know what’s up!! After breakfast we got a little down time to either get treatment, sleep, look somewhere for a little bit of inspiration, meditate, watch T.V. and some of us even dabbled in various non-traditional mind broadening methods to get prepared for our scrimmage this afternoon. But not me. I just bought myself a bottle of iced tea and had a Skype date, but my bottle of iced tea offered me inspiration. I knew it would. That’s why I bought it. On the bottle cap of iced
tea I had mine say, "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.- Ambrose Redmoon, motivational guru. Let me tell you, that bottle cap, as well as the iced tea (Honest Tea) did wonders for me today..
We normally practice twice a day (but today was a little different) and lift weights a few days a week, hence the soreness. I know everyone probably has some body part hurting, but overall we're doing well in the health category so we are very grateful. Shout out to Ronni (our trainer). Before our afternoon practice we had a yummy lunch made by Bill
and Frida, where we reminisced and had good conversation. Our afternoon practice/scrimmage went really well. We went over options for game warm ups and then once we were done with that, we split up into teams and played 6 on 6. We were all really focused on our process, execution and a little obnoxious at times, but hey it was all in good fun. With so many new bodies in the gym we've been able to scrimmage a lot which has helped us get into a better rhythm, especially with the new players. Even Chris and Alfee, our assistant coaches, have had the pleasure in playing with us. Chris sometimes steps in and sets for us and is incredibly quick and hard to read at times, but it is definitely making our blocking and defense a whole lot better!!! Then there is Alf who is an animal in both the front and back row. Don't let his height fool; he is a beast and they both definitely make all of us in the gym play better (we are all continuously making each other better).
Today was probably one of my favorite days though because we didn’t have to head down to the training room for ice baths!!! WOO HOO. Before practice was over Jess Gran and myself had the opportunity to entertain the team in a ironic way.. Now it’s time to wrap up the day, I think the scrimmage(s) have gone pretty well and the level of intensity in the gym is really high. We know that every practice can bring us one step closer to our goal. If we can focus on improving every day then we'll end this season as CHAMPIONS. So after we completed our afternoon practice we began to wind down, which means YOGA aka CHILD POSE (my favorite). Dinner was cooked again by Bill and Frida and let me tell you that orange chicken was BOOM!!!!
We're soon leaving for the AVCA Showcase and we are all really excited to play someone other than ourselves. This will be the first test of how good we actually are at this point. I can't believe we're really about to start, but it is going to be an amazing year! I hope all of you can come to our home games to cheer us on. See you at THE PAV!
Friday August 19, 2011 (Ashley Wittman)
Today started off very similar to our other days of preseason. We woke up around 6:30 a.m. and went to the Pavilion for a great breakfast of pancakes, hash browns, sausage and eggs. When we were done with breakfast the team either took naps, watched television, or just hung out. Around 8:30 we all headed out to the court to do our own individual skills we wanted to work on before practice actually started. At 9 a.m. we did a breathing sequence for about 15 minutes and then got right on the court for our morning session of practice. We worked very hard on serving, blocking and passing this morning which went very well. The team did a very nice job this morning at practice, and when it was over, we all went to ice bath and get ready for a delicious lunch made by Bill and Frida. For lunch, we had a meat wrap sandwich with chips, salad and fruit. Also, we had a short meeting with Anissa Lightner (Assistant Director for Student-Athlete Welfare) right after we were done eating. She gave us an overview of her job and her role here at the University, and then we headed off to our break. We had about a four hour break in which the team did their own things, like getting massages, taking a nap or just watching a movie to relax.
We then headed back to watch film of the men’s Olympic team and then had a lovely dinner of tater tot hot dish. After dinner we got ready for volley school and ran drills for the public. At 6 p.m. our team was announced individually and the coaches talked and answered questions. Then we warmed up, did hitting lines, had a setting and passing competition with a hoop, and finished with a serving activity that tested speed and accuracy. As the night wrapped up, we had an autograph signing and were able to meet out ball girls and boys. Lastly, we headed home to rest and get ready for tomorrow.
Thursday, August 18, 2011 (Tori Dixon)
Today was a very good practice day for us. We started the day waking up very early for our 6 am lifting we had. Following lifting, we went up and had some awesome breakfast made by the wonderful Bill and Frida! I had my usual, ham, cheese, and spinach omelet. After that, we went into the locker room for some quality team bonding/dance parties. Steffi, Granquist, Ashley, Kellie, and I made up the most epic dance game you could ever imagine, and that kept us entertained until practice.
The morning practice session was a tough one. Since I needed work on it, the coaches asked me to spend the morning working on pancakes...so I did. Three hours of pancake work. Man that was tough. Thank goodness the log rolls and crab walking practice prepped me for this new concept introduced of "floor association.
In our off time, we ate lunch, which was salad and sandwiches, and then I went downstairs and worked on homework for a bit. After I got my stuff done that I needed to get done, I went and played our dancing game, yet again, with Steffi. We then went and made faces at Ashley when she was doing her interviews for media day, which is always fun. We got ready for our next practice. At our next practice, it was a lot lighter of a load. We played short court for a little bit, and then went into a serving and passing game. After practice, we went and showered, got changed, and went into the team room to watch video from this morning’s practice. After breaking down film, we ate dinner. It was beef stroganoff made very well by Bill and Frida! We then went home to rest up, for another day of practice tomorrow! Overall, it was another great day for the team.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011 (Brianna Haugen)
Today was another great day working on getting better and learning in the gym. We had breakfast as usual and headed down to get ready for the morning session and to get help from our trainer in order to stay healthy. It is really important to keep our bodies healthy, so we do what is necessary, like getting warmed up before practice and icing after. We had a focused morning and everyone pushed themselves. You know it has been a good practice when your mind is tired afterwards from focusing so much.
Lunch was up next and Bill and Frida always do a good job of providing a variety of yummy food so that everyone gets the nutrients they need to go hard for the rest of the day. I chose to chill for a little while in the team room with some of the other girls during our time off after. I love hanging out with the team in our time off because we spend so much time together anyways, that we know each other well and always have a good time joking around.
Following a little downtime we had our second session which was a little lighter of a load as far as jumping, but still focused. It’s important to be strong at the end of the day as well as the beginning because games can last a long time and it is important to be ready to push through being tired. Following up practice was another set of ice baths and then some film to end the day. Now back to the house to relax some before doing it all again tomorrow. It may be tiring during this preseason but I would not have it any other way. Right now is the opportunity to get better without other important obligations, such as school, conflicting for time. So it’s off to bed to get ready for another good day.
Monday, August 15 (Katherine Harms)
Today was a great day for the Minnesota volleyball team! We started our morning with a good lift to get our body's moving. After some hard work put in the weight room we headed to breakfast made by our favorite chefs. With our body's fueled with food we hit the court for a very focused practice and lots of hard work. With the conclusion of practice we hit the ice baths for a little preventative treatment. After that we headed back to club room to eat again, one of our favorite things to do! We had a nice little break in the middle of the day and got mentally focused for some film in the afternoon. Ending our day was some wonderful yoga to stretch out our body's and keep up in tip top shape for the remaining of preseason. With the end of preseason in sight the whole team is excited to keep working hard till our first game and all the games to follow.
Sunday, August 14 (Jess Menden)
Today started off with another wonderful breakfast made by Bill and Frida. They served up french toast, eggs, hashbrowns, bacon, fruit, and omelets. I had my usual hashbrowns, fruit, bacon, of course my coffee, and enjoyed some good conversation.
We then proceeded into the locker room to turn on some pump up music, and get ourselves ready for practice. After getting ourselves mentally prepared for practice, we all headed out to the court to do our breathing exercises with Ronni our trainer. By doing this we learn to breathe more properly when we're tired and how to get the maximum potential out of our breaths even when we're tired. After that we proceeded to warm up and read over the practice plan for the first session of the day. Being a few days into preseason we know a little more of what to expect, but the coaches have many different ways of changing things up to keep us on our toes and keep our drills a little bit different enough that we continue to learn and develop each day. Our main goal of the first session of practice was to continue growing and fighting for every ball while learning the process.
After practice we headed up to lunch, which was again made my Bill and Frida. They made a meat, noodle and cheese concoction which was absolutely delicious. After lunch, we knew we were going to be playing a lot in the afternoon, so the whole team went in the team room, turned on The Bourne Identity while we rested our legs.
We went to the courts shortly after to play a bit and get warmed up by passing and playing short court. I became the National Champion of the World after I beat Laura in our mini competition we had, which means I earned bragging rights until the next time we play! The Golddiggers joined us this afternoon to watch practice. I hope they got a good glimpse of some of the things we are working hard at, and will continue to improve on. Like Laura said in our meeting, we will continue to grow and be a better team everyday. Whether that be with mental training or physical training, we will continue to improve!
After practice we went down to our ice baths, showered, and headed up to our reception with the Golddiggers. Bill and Frida made a really good meal of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. It was like an early Thanksgiving, which we all loved. We introduced the freshman and had them carry on the tradition of singing the rouser on our first Golddigger reception. They still have some learning to do I think! The reception went really well and it was great to see some old faces that I haven't had the chance to see since last season. Their presence and support is always so much appreciated by the entire Gopher family. It's great to know we always have such great fans backing us.
After dinner, we proceeded on our merry ways to watch movies and go to sleep because it'll be another early day tomorrow. I learned a lot today and am really excited to continue pushing myself tomorrow.
Aug. 13, 2011 (Jessica Granquist)
On August 13 we started our second chunk of preseason with another great morning seeing Bill and Frida. As we waited for all the players to arrive to eat together as a team we share stories around the tables and got a good laugh in the morning. And time finally came; we devoured the awesome breakfast prepared for us, and left with smiles on our faces! (I had my usual; eggs, bacon, potatoes, and fruit!!!)
After breakfast we headed into practice to get the morning, ambitious to return to the court. In the beginning it was all about working hard with our minds and body together. We had multiple drills that challenged each of us to think and respond outside our normal realm of thinking and playing volleyball. We broke the skills down in the morning session to get focused attention on movement, which has been a great add onto the gym culture in the Pavilion arena. It helps players and coaches’ work together to become better as a team, so it is one of my favorite times of the day. We topped off the morning with some “game face” competition; which concluded a great session.
Once we all got cleaned up after a long hard morning, we raced up to our awaiting lunch. We had or usual salad bar and fruit tray, along with some real good sandwiches. Oh and can’t forget the best part of lunch… the chips!! Following our fully satisfying bellies, we thanked Bill and Frida for the great meal and headed off to our mid-day-break. During this time we watched TV and rested our minds to get repowered for another afternoon of volleyball.
Entering in the gym for session number two of Saturday we engaged in an overview of how that practice was going to work, getting us all on the same page. After our discussion we had a cheer and an oval (one of our traditional hand slapping hands routine), then it was go time. We worked on the overall skill and IQ that comes along with being a division I collegiate volleyball player. We were pushed once again to reach outside our comfort zone to make ourselves better players. Every drill had a focus and moved at a timely fashion. We finished with some straight up volleyball for pride, which is always a favorite amongst the players, as we get a chance to transfer our developments from drills to live situations!
Upon the close of the afternoon session we all hit the showers. Within getting ready for dinner some of the players took part in the usual “guess what” game of trying to predict the main course of dinner (Another one of my favorite games!) We were all wrong, surprisingly, as we were greeted with tacos. The meal filled our hungry bellies and led us into our evening plans of meeting and watching some film.
Our meeting went smoothly as we covered some important areas of being an effective volleyball player, detailing the Gopher world, the ins and outs of everything to do with volleyball. The meeting had a light sense of humor as we shared laughs and got more comfortable talking over opinions and feelings in a nice relaxed environment. The evening complemented the day well with applying a quick video session to finish off the well-trained day.
All in all it was another great day being a Minnesota Gopher and we all can't wait to get back in the gym and start all over again experiencing another exciting day together!
Aug. 11, 2011 (Hailey Cowles)
The start of day three was an early morning for everyone. We woke up at 6:00 AM to lift weights. Once we finished our lift, we ate another fantastic breakfast from Bill and Frida (one of my favorite times of the day!!). I ate pancakes, hash browns, fruit, and some oatmeal.
After a short break we got to work. The first session was a lot of ball control and defensive drills and focused on technique. Once we finished that drill, we worked on digging. Once practice was over we all got to partake in everyone's favorite times of day, ICE BATHS... today's was so cold it felt like the Arctic.
The team then ate some lunch and got to relax a little before the second session started. We started the second session by working on individual skills. As usual, the next item on the list was serving practice. although, less physically strenuous, it take a lot of mental focus to get the results we are looking for. Once done with serving, we got into scrimmages. The scrimmages, thus far have been competitive and fun to be apart of. The team is looking good for the early parts of this preseason.
Practice wrapped up, but we were not done yet. We got to do Yoga after practice. This was much needed for most of us because we did a lot of stretching in the Yoga session. After an hour of Yoga, we went up and got some lasagna for dinner.
All in all it was a long, but very productive day of volleyball for the Gophers!
August 10, 2011 (Ariana Filho)
Day two of preseason! After a very enjoyable sleep following the first day of preseason, we were right back to practices and working hard to get better. Breakfast with Bill and Frida always starts our days off deliciously. Our day of exercises started off with some breathing lessons with our athletic trainer Ronni. Some of the things we do look a little interesting, but they teach us great skills on how to control and use our breathing most effectively as we play. We headed into the first session focusing on more ball control and what are known as "emergency moves." These were fun for us to work on as we learned some crazy ways to keep the ball in the air, such as the "chicken wing." However, we also learned how effective these moves can be in emergency situations. We recapped some of our covering and then headed to our ice baths and lunch. Some TV time, which always turns into napping, is essential for our bodies to rest up. These little breaks allow for us to work our hardest mentally and physically during our practices. Second session started with some blocking and then was full of competition. Competing in the second session is great for us to practice taking what we learn and applying it to our game. Alfee calls these new skills we learned part of our "tool belt." We learned new skills, had a recap on old ones, and continued to build our tool belt. As we play in the game we can use any of the tools on our belt to compete at our highest level. The competition today showed a lot of our ability to learn. There were very important things that we discussed in our team meeting the night before that we were able to start implementing on the court. We all see that there is still a lot of work to do, but we are all glad to see applications of what we are learning and look forward to what else we can grow in. After second rounds of ice baths and a wonderful dinner, we wrapped up the evening with a team meeting and heading home to go to sleep before our early morning lifting tomorrow.
August 9, 2011 (Mia Tabberson)
We got off to a great start on our first day of the 2011 season! We started our morning with physical testing with Coach Y our lifting coach; this includes a run test and three different exercises that measure our jump. I was super proud of Ari, Ashley, Bri, and TeTori for clearing 10 feet on their approach jump! This was a great testament to their hard work this summer. After a busy hour of testing, we were rewarded with our first breakfast from Bill and Frida. Their fantastic meals are definitely a highlight of preseason. Next, we had our first practice in our brand new white practice jerseys. We covered ball control, free ball and down ball situations, defense, and serve and pass. It was great to finally be back in the gym with the coaches again after having a summer of working on our own. We also had our first interactions on the court with our new volunteer coach Miss Waldo. Thus far, she has been a great help in the gym assisting in drills, keeping score, calculating the speeds of our serves, and helping us each get better at volleyball.
After practice, we have to put in 10 minutes in the ice baths. These are great to prevent soreness but are a mild form of torture. I now have a whole new sympathy for those in the movie Titanic because sitting in freezing water from your chest down isn't too fun. Once we were re-fueled with another delicious lunch, we got right back in the gym and worked on individual defensive moves, serving, and putting everything we had covered together in a scrimmage drill. It was great to get a chance to play at the end of the day! When we are competing, the gym culture rises to a whole new level that brings out the best in every player. Chris and Alfred also played with us which is always exciting because they bring a vibrant energy and challenge us to get better each and every contact. We concluded our day with spaghetti and meatballs and a team meeting to talk about important team dynamics that can take us to the next level. We headed home after a long 14 hours in the gym and rested up for day two!