Lauren Gibbemeyer: “Volleyball it’s team effort, it’s not an individual sport, it’s everybody working together”

Scritto da on ago 27th, 2013 e archiviato sotto la categoria Campionati Esteri, Interviste, Nazionale, Notizie. Puoi seguire la discussione di questo post tramite RSS 2.0. Puoi lasciare una risposta o un trackback a questo post.

GibbyLauren, Gibb, Gibby, Gibblet…the list goes on. If you want to watch a volleyball player with endless passion and heart, just get your eyes on the center of the court when this girl is playing. There is no doubt she has a deep seated passion for the game of volleyball. It’s hard to miss her celebrations which start way deep down in her gut and come out howling for an extended time…it is so fun to watch but even more fun to be a part of. Lauren is a huge competitor with a relentless pursuit kind of attitude that makes playing with her extremely enjoyable, memorable and exhilarating. She is a tremendous volleyball player but there is more to her than this beast of a middle blocker. I have had the privilege of spending the last few years of my life with her by my side and couldn’t have asked for a more caring and loyal friend. Simply put Lauren is family, both on and off of the court..

Inteview: Matteo Mangiarotti & Cristina Gatti. Foreword: Carli Lloyd

Ph Fabio Cucchetti – Getsportmedia

 
Why did you choose volleyball? Talk about your experience in college.. 

I used to be at the University of Minnesota and in the High School I played volleyball and basketball, and basketball was my main sport. I decided that I’d like to start playing volleyball in a better way and I decided go to the University of Minnesota because it was close to home, my family could watch it and because they had a wonderful programme. To be honest, I don’t have any regret, I had a great experience. I had a wonderful coach there, he taught me a lot of things about volleyball, not only physically or volleyball wise, but also mentally. I become very strong mentally. My daily life was: I wake up, I train, I go to school, I train again, and then I go home and do my homeworks. Having to wake up very early, you have to train for three hours and sometimes we also have classes after training. You have to be really smart and able to managing your time.

When did you realise that volleyball could become a job for you?

I think, if I remember well, during my third year at college. I was getting very good and my coach, Mike, said to me: “Gibby, you can either take two road: you can continue, and be a great player, or you can be even greater, take more risks, push yourself higher and go anywhere. He gave me the right confidence that I can do it.

 Why a country like the USA can’t make it to have a professional domestic tournament?

I think a lot of that has to do with television and money. We have so much emphasis on sports like the NBA and the NFL and there are no spaces left, for female sports and for volleyball in particular. There have been some chances, we have a very small league here now. A lot of people don’t know much about volleyball but if we go on like this, and we keep going on spreading the word, we can change the situation.

Gibby13Why did you choose to go to Japan?

Basically, I had a contact there thanks to a coach in the Hawaii. He knew that a team in Japan was looking for a good middle blocker and he gave them my name. Jen Tamas had played there before and I thought it was a good idea to go there. Japan is very good at defense and even as a middle blocker I thought it was good, for me, to be good in any skill and so I decided to go there. It was gonna make me stronger, being in a culture completely different from US, away from my family. It was hard, to be alone, without my family, but I think it made me get stronger. Now I feel that I can play anywhere and be ok.

Was it so difficult to get used to the Japanese everyday life?

First of all, it was difficult because I couldn’t drive and I had to be completely dependent on someone taking me everywhere, I felt kind of confined in my own apartment and I couldn’t go out by myself and doing things. But it’s so good to live in a completely different culture, wherever you go you have to bow, for instance, the food was very different from the US but it was beautiful.

And what about Italy?

Oh my God, I love Italy! It was so easy to settle there and I am very sad that I couldn’t stay longer in Italy. A lot of people speak English, it was an easy culture to live in. I met a really good people that I think I’ll be friend to forever. We reached the semi-final in the last season, I think that Italian league is a very strong league, completely different from Japan. And, generally speaking, I do prefer the modern volleyball, with libero that helps us middle blocker in doing our defensive job.

Why in the US is so important to share your experiences with the other players?

I think that it’s good to have communication with everyone on the court, even with players in your position, because it helps you to be the best you wanna be. If you help other middle blockers it makes you better, because if they improve, for instance, in blocking, you have the chance to improve in attack. In Italy I know that they’re scared about the fact that, if I help you, you can be better than me, but I don’t really understand that. It sounds a little selfish. I know that it’s a competition, in which you wanna be the best, but it’s all for your team. You’re supposed to do your best for your team, to be together and to try to win together, as a team. If I am not hoping a teammate to do her best, I am not doing my job. It doesn’t make my team any better. Team is not about one person, not about me, it’s a unit.

What are your relationship with the staff and teammates in the US Volleyball Team?

Last season was my first time ever with the team and I had to get use to it. Now I feel that you are free to play, to make mistakes because it’s a very open minded environment, you can learn from that, even from mistakes. Even the younger people are encouraged to do their best, regardless of their age or experience. I think this is very important. This year I feel really good, we have a good coaching staff.

In Italy we used to practice later in the day, and it’s good because you are able to get used to the time when you play matches. But for me, personally, it’s better to have your training in the morning and then have the rest of the day to recover, to rest, to get good sleep and not have to worry of anything else.

Here training is a little bit shorter but more intense, and we have a break before restarting and getting things done.

Usa-Ser_070What is your greatest source of inspiration?

Honestly, I think that I’ve been given this gift and I have to find a way to be thankful for that and I do this the best I can. It would be a waste if I didn’t. Christa Harmotto is one of my inspiration, for instance, as well as some teammates in the high school that kept me under their wing. Sometimes coaches, Karch, when he say that he’s confidence in me. And I give a great credit to the players I played with and I played against, they keep me going and keep pushing me to be the best that I can be.

What about the difference in physical preparation between Italy and USA?

In the US we don’t really care about what you look like, I mean you can be strong but to be honest it’s not something we take care about. I think there’s much competition to be the best as you can in all aspects of our life. We wanna look like athletes, that’s it. I feel that in Europe skinny look is what is considered “beautiful”, but here’s different. People like when there’s a little bit of muscles and curves in a body of a woman.

What do you like the most about volleyball?

The team work, definitely. I like going into battle with six other girls and we all have one goal. It’s team effort, it’s not an individual sport, it’s everybody working together.

Something that I would change, maybe having a pro league in US!

What’s your goal for the next season in Azerbaijan?

I know a lot of American players that played over there, I heard their experiences and I had a good offer to go there so I am convinced it was the best choice for me. A good opportunity for me, to play with other good players. I am excited when I have the chance to change coach, I like challenges and I don’t feel it like a problem.

 What do you think of the World Grand Prix?

I think we can win it. We’ve been working very hard for it, and if we stay focused, disciplined, if we work together and have a lot of communication, I think we can win. Norceca is gonna be difficult, but I think we have a strong team and got good chances as well.

Gibby2

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