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  • Why I’m Not an Olympian, But Here’s How You Could Be Friday, February 10, 2016A very well written article that is a good read for all young athletes out there today. Derek Thiessen was an Outside Hitter for the Trinity ...
    Posted Feb 10, 2017, 7:48 AM by Ashley Lee
  • Summer 2016 - Wednesday, August 17, 2016 Wednesday, August 17, 2016"Hi Lorne.Today really began yesterday when we won vs Italy.  Some surprise perhaps was evidenced but the enormity of what had occurred set in by ...
    Posted Feb 10, 2017, 6:37 AM by Ashley Lee
  • Summer 2016 - Tuesday, August 16, 2016 Tuesday, August 16, 2016Hi Everyone:Big win by Canada Men last night - 3-1 over Italy. It puts Canada in 2nd place in their pool, ahead of BRA, USA ...
    Posted Feb 10, 2017, 6:37 AM by Ashley Lee
  • Summer 2016 - Monday, August 15, 2016 Monday, August 15, 2016Hi All:Today Canada takes on Italy with a little look over its shoulder for the BRA vs France match. Italy has clinched 1st place in ...
    Posted Feb 10, 2017, 6:36 AM by Ashley Lee
  • Summer 2016 - Thursday, August 11, 2016 Thursday, August 11, 2016Match vs. France at 2:05 PM!
    Posted Feb 10, 2017, 6:36 AM by Ashley Lee
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Why I’m Not an Olympian, But Here’s How You Could Be

posted Feb 10, 2017, 7:48 AM by Ashley Lee

Friday, February 10, 2016

A very well written article that is a good read for all young athletes out there today. Derek Thiessen was an Outside Hitter for the Trinity Western Spartans from 2009-2015. 

Check out his website here: http://www.derekthiessen.com/

Why I’m Not an Olympian, But Here’s How You Could Be

By Derrick Thiessen

Part 1: Let’s Start Here

*This is a bit of a long one, so strap in.

This past summer I watched the Men’s Canadian Volleyball Team compete at the Rio Olympics. It was the first time the team had qualified in 20 years. It was a momentous occasion for Canadian volleyball and everyone was excited.

Over the two weeks of the Olympics, a particular emotion began to develop within me. As I sat there on the couch nearly every day, I couldn’t help but begin to notice a hint of jealousy creeping in.

Any time an athlete’s information would flash across the screen, I couldn’t help but take note of their age. 

An 18-year-old swimmer. A 23-year-old gymnast. A 30-year-old rower. And most notably a 25-year-old volleyball player.

In fact, the Canadian volleyball team was comprised mainly of guys that were either my age or very close. Some of these guys even played with me on my university team.

A lot of them are also around my height, my size, and my physical strength. 

On paper, we are pretty much identical. 

Yet, there I was, sitting on my couch. And there they were, at the Olympics.

What the hell happened?

When you think of the word “sports”, what comes to mind? Entertainment, money, teammates, fun, frustration, love, fear, balls?

When I think of the word “sports” I find a sense of comfort. I think of teamwork, sweat, strength, glory, and an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.

I have spent the vast majority of time on this planet immersed in the sports culture. Growing up I tested out and played every sport there was available. I lived for the competition. Winning was always the goal.

If you’re a high-level athlete, there’s a good chance your early years looked something like this: Growing up you were always one of the fastest kid in your school. Every sport you tried, you would have some success and excel quicker than others. When you did eventually specialize in a sport, you were probably one the best in your local district. Plain and simple, you were an athlete. Always have been, and most likely, always will be.

 

Sound familiar? Keep reading…

But as you got older and moved up within each sport you played, something troubling happened. The pool of players increased. And not only did it get bigger, but the competition got better. With every step up, the skill required just to be “average” became increasingly more difficult to achieve.

Just being tall, fast, or “athletic” was no longer enough.

You had to adapt — Or accept the inevitability of becoming average

This is a moment every athlete will face. Hell, it’s not just athletes— nearly everyone will come face to face with this crossroad. We come to point where we realize just going through the motions is no longer enough.

For me, I wasn’t ready for that choice. I would rather thrive on my natural born traits. I would rather use my physicality and try to win with brute force.  

Unfortunately, in a sport like Volleyball, brute force is not always the answer.

Long story short. This mentality got me further than one would expect. I was lucky enough to get recruited onto one of the best volleyball teams in the country. With that, came a vast number of upsides. We had a great coach, amazing team culture, and a collection of some of the best players in the country. 

The last of these was certainly a positive and had so much potential to allow me to succeed. Instead, I let it become my downfall.

Here’s where I went wrong:

In my early years, I wasted my time as a bench player. As far as I was concerned, I simply needed to wait it out, and one day, when I was “old enough” I would be a starter. I didn’t think about trying to beat out anyone. I just worked as hard as I needed to, but never harder than was necessary.

Well… soon enough, I got “older”. And low behold, I wasn’t ready.

To sum it up nicely, my final year consisted of a lot of frustration, bitterness, and regret — I was fighting every week for my starting position and ended up splitting time with an arguably better 2nd-year player.

Not much could be done at that point and some young buck was showing me first hand all the mistakes I had made in the past. He proved my preconceived notions wrong and capitalized on my complacency.

I had failed, and to be honest, it took me a long time before I could fully understand why.

But after some overdue reflection — I get it now. I see where I went wrong.

If you’re still a young athlete, I don’t want you to follow in my footsteps. I want you to succeed. I want you to realize that you are capable of so much more than you think. The only thing holding you back is YOU. 

Regret is a powerful emotion, but the hardest part about regret is that we cannot feel it’s full weight until it arrives. My hope is that you can sense my regret, that you can realize the importance and urgency of what I am about to pass onto you.

In the next part, I have laid out what I see as some of the most destructive reasons as to why I failed to reach my athletic goals. And more importantly, I have outlined some helpful ways you can correct your path to put you on a more focused journey.

One more thing I’d like to address:

As I read back and review everything I’ve written so far, I’m starting to notice a somewhat troubling similarity. With all these hypothetical “what if’s” and “what could have been’s” that I’m tossing around, I’m beginning to sound a lot like Uncle Rico.

The washed up athlete who can’t let go. It’s a risky label to give myself. Our culture has turned this line of thinking into somewhat of a running joke. We laugh at the desperation and pettiness that comes with such a mentality. We have labeled these people as “stuck in the past”; which, yes, to a certain extent they are.

But for those of us who are looking to improve ourselves, there is a valuable lesson to be learned from people like myself and Uncle Rico: Don’t make our same mistakes or history is destined to repeat itself.

Why I failed

1) I didn’t set specific goals

I’ve always thought I was the goal setting type of person. I had big dreams of what my life could be like and had a good idea of where I wanted to end up. 

All through my athletic career, I thrived on being the “all-star” player. It was the main thing I cared about. I loved being one of the best and sought it out wherever I could. Luckily, being a star player was something that always came easily. Being tall, jumping high and hitting hard never took much work. With these simple traits, you can actually make it fairly far in volleyball. That is until you get onto a team full of players who are ALL tall, high jumpers, and hard hitters. Just like that, you’ve become the average. Being the star player is now going to take some extra work. What are you going to do in order to separate yourself from the competition?

My goals were based on the idea of being the star on my team — which don’t get me wrong, it’s was an admirable goal. But how was I supposed to get there? It was no longer going to be easy like before. Where I went wrong is that I set a specific goal based on an end result, but didn’t focus on the path to get me there. More on that later.

2) Too much pressure

This one comes back to something I mentioned previously — I sought out validation through being one of the elite. Simply put, if I wasn’t playing well in games, it meant I wasn’t living up to the expectations. 

But whose expectations was I falling short of?

Well, in my mind, I was failing my parents, my teammates, my coach, my friends, my girlfriend. With every mistake, it seemed as though I was not living up to the image they perceived of me. And to a certain extent, yes, I did sometimes let down other people. But the amount to which they cared about my failures is nothing in comparison to how harshly I judged myself. 

We are all our own worst critics. The sooner we recognize this, the faster we can learn to avoid the trap of applying pressure when there is no need.

3) Not enough pressure

Too much pressure can cause anxiety, frustration, and poor performance. But on the flip side, a lack of pressure can be just as damaging. As humans, we enjoy comfort. It’s only natural to seek out routine and stick with the status quo. Making a change in our lives is difficult and it takes consistent effort. We enjoy doing things with a predictable outcome — it’s the same reason we choose to watch a movie we’ve seen before over a movie we have never heard of. 

For me, I would only apply pressure in extremes. I would get so worried about not performing well or letting people down that it would cause me to run away and hide from change. So instead I would go to a position of complacency. I would rather be content with my predictable position than go through discomfort. Quite simply I settled… 

4) I settled

By the time I got into my third year of university, I had chosen to settle. The guys above me were simply too good. There was no way I could beat them out, so why even bother? They will be graduating after this season, I might as well just buy my time and be a starter next season. 

Bad idea! 

“Yes, they are better than me. For now…”

I wish that was my mindset, but it wasn’t. As far as I was concerned, the guy ahead of me was impossible to beat out. He was the team captain and arguably one of the best players in the country. Even if I somehow managed to play better than him, I could never fill his shoes as a leader. It’s painful to look back on this mindset now, but I regret to inform you that it was these sort of invisible scripts that were my greatest downfall. I already created a story in my mind before it even happened.

5) I let my circumstances discourage or distract me

We all suffer from the ill-timed and seemingly unfair obstacles that cross our paths. To think that your problems are any more important than some else’s is simply selfish.

“Boldness is acting anyway, even though you understand the negative and the reality of your obstacle.” — Ryan Holiday: The Obstacle is the Way

Whether it was injuries or what I thought were poor coaching decisions, I let my own problems affect my growth. I saw my issues as more important and ultimately expected special treatment because of them.

“It wasn’t my fault I got injured!”

“Coach should have started me tonight!”

I let these kinds of thoughts take over. I let them dictate the way in which I choose to take action. Instead of accepting my injuries and pushing for a faster recovery, I used them as crutches to lean on when I wasn’t a starter. Instead of proving my coach wrong, I accepted my fate. 

6) I made excuses

Making excuses in some ways ties into my last mistake. But I would like to mention one thing on the matter.

When we say “I don’t have time”, what we are really saying is “it’s not a priority”. So next time you are complaining about doing something, don’t say that you simply don’t have the time. Plain and simple, tell yourself that it just isn’t a priority. You will be amazed at how quickly your mentality will change. The things that truly matter will get done and time will be allocated for what needs to get done.

7) I didn’t properly channel my emotions

This was a big one for me and it’s something I still struggle with today. When I say emotions, I am mainly referring to what I would simply label as the Three F’s: Fear, Frustration, and Focus.

I’m typically regarded to as a fairly calm person. In pretty much all things I do, especially sports, I never lose my cool. I liken to myself as a well-tempered person, who is slow to anger. I would certainly show emotion on the court, but almost never in a negative or damaging way.

However, when it comes to these three F’s, I am all over the map.

In pressure moments, I would let fear get the best of me. In games, I would let my mind run wild on all the possible ways in which I could screw things up. I would constantly battle in my own head with negative ideas that all revolved around letting other people down. After the fact, I would get so frustrated with myself for my unnecessary fear that I would rather just avoid high-pressure situations. I never got comfortable with them. Ultimately, I never had the focus required to handle those situations. Instead of just thinking about the task in front of me, I would be thinking about 4 points ahead when I may, or may not, have to serve with the game on the line. 

 What I would do differently

(actionable and incremental steps)

1) Creating more short-term goals that lead to one bigger goal

Reason: Big goals and dreams are awesome. But to achieve those goals requires a lot of patience and steps in between. Instead focus on daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals that ultimately build towards the big goal. By setting smaller goals and achieving them, you will receive more frequent feedback on what you are doing right/wrong. In the end, the small nuances of training are given much more meaning. Making sure you do weights today may not seem all that important in the long term, but when you define your small goals, you realize that for today it’s the only thing that matters.

2) Spending more time working on my weaknesses

Reason: Brute force and physicality were my two main ways of getting points. But in volleyball, that can only get you so far. I never spent the time working on my passing and eventually got pushed out of that role. I didn’t work on my blocking and found myself on the bench. It’s easy to show off our strengths. It’s hard to expose our weaknesses. They can be embarrassing to work on and difficult to change. But you know what’s more embarrassing — spending your final year of university losing your position to a younger player.

3) Developing mindfulness practices

Reason: This one may not apply to everyone. But if you found yourself nodding your head when I talked about the Three F’s, then read on. A common trait of many successful athletes, entrepreneurs, and performers is having some sort of meditation practice. Whether it’s breathing exercises, guided meditation, or some other way of achieving a mindful state — the ultimate goal is to achieve awareness. Why are you anxious? Why are you impatient? What is giving you joy right now? By taking the time to sit down, and clear our mind we gain clarity and perspective. It will allow us to be much more focused in times of stress and help to reduce anxiety. Just like any other muscle in our body, strengthening our brain takes time. But with a daily mindfulness practice, we can sharpen our minds and gain back some emotional control. Mindfulness is not about getting rid of all negative thoughts and emotions. It’s about giving us an understanding of what they are, why they exist and realizing they do not control you. 

Book Recommendation: The Mindful Athlete – George Mumford

Not sure where to begin? Check out www.headspace.com 

4) Reading when I had the time (summers)

Reason: I cannot even begin to express how much I have learned from reading. I used to only read for school, but then I started doing it purely out of self-interest. I was simply amazed at the sheer volume of useful information that would come about from the different books I’ve read. Some of it only useful for small talk, but much of it has been simply life changing. If you are too busy to read during the school year, that’s fine — but the summer is where I highly encourage you to soak in as much as you can.

5) Coaching more

Reason: There’s a wonderful subreddit known as r/explainlikeimfive. It’s a wonderful place where you can ask questions about complicated topics and receive simplified answers that even a five-year-old could understand. The reason these people can give you such simple and concise responses is because they truly understand what they are talking about. This is the truest sign of an expert and the same thing applies to sports. At a lower level, it is easier to get away with not fully understanding strategies and tactics of a sport. But when we reach the highest levels, those who genuinely understand the inner workings of the game will be the ones to stand out.

Therefore, coaching is the best step in improving your own skills. After spending some time trying to explain a skill to a young player, you will soon begin to see how well you actually understand it. And if you find yourself struggling to explain it, you probably don’t know it. So keep practicing.

 

6) Get some better friends. Seek out a mentor.

“You are the average of the 5 people you associate with most.” — Tim Ferriss

Reason: It’s easy to feel good about yourself when you are hanging out with deadbeats. When everyone around you is settling and not seeking out improvement, it’s easy to sink into a comfortable state. We even begin to trick ourselves into thinking that our minimal effort is exceptional in comparison to others. But it’s only human nature. We constantly compare ourselves to those around us. So why not improve the people who surround us on a regular basis. 

Seek out the people who want more. The ones who aren’t content with their current state. Or find the ones who are already exceeding. After enough time spent around these people, you will begin to notice what makes them special. You start to take note of their daily practices and all the little things they are doing to improve themselves. 

If you don’t have the luxury of just finding new friends, seek out a mentor. Find someone who has been in your shoes and provides you with some wisdom. Bouncing your ideas off this person can be beneficial for both parties involved. All you need to do is ask.

So what happens now?

Well…that’s a tough question and ultimately it’s not one that I can answer for you. 

But here’s one final thing I can say:

We are all going through life in our very own unique ways. There is no one true pathway. In fact, there are millions of paths we can encounter. Some will be freshly paved highways, some will be windy roads through the mountains full of switchbacks, some may even be a little bit bumpy, and then some will send you on what feels more like a suicide mission than an actual pathway. Yet, that’s just the way life goes. I cannot guarantee you safety along the way. But what I am offering is a previously used map. It’s one that is covered with poor choices and riddled with wrong turns. However, it’s also one that is packed full of treasure — with X’s that mark the spot.

My goal with this whole article was to hand over this map and show you where to go. But ultimately, I cannot force you to use it. That choice is yours.

–DT


Summer 2016 - Wednesday, August 17, 2016

posted Feb 10, 2017, 6:37 AM by Ashley Lee

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

"Hi Lorne.

Today really began yesterday when we won vs Italy.  Some surprise perhaps was evidenced but the enormity of what had occurred set in by the time the bus pulled into the village about 11pm.  Glenn addressed the group and congratulated them on making the quarterfinal round.  He gave a rough schedule of practice time (12 noon) and meeting time (6pm) for the next day as well as optional weights in the morning.
Behind the scenes Glenn and his staff of Frank Boyer and High Performance Director Julien Boucher arranged for the practice booking, the meeting room booking and transportation.  We then watched on TV the Brazil France match and waited about 30 minutes, until around 1am to be officially informed we were playing Russia at 10am.  Glenn and Vincent began dissecting video for their gameplan meeting this morning.  The gameplan will be delivered at 6pm.  Today’s practice was a stretching session led by veteran Dan Lewis followed by ball warmup, serve and receive and a few guys getting swings on sets.
The staff at the practice venue lined up to greet us with applause when we arrived.  A TV crew was inside waiting to interview."

-Coach McKay

Coach Glenn Hoag being interviewed at practice prior to CAN vs RUS.
The Canadian Men's National Team stretching and warming up pre-game.

Summer 2016 - Tuesday, August 16, 2016

posted Feb 10, 2017, 6:37 AM by Ashley Lee

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Hi Everyone:

Big win by Canada Men last night - 3-1 over Italy. It puts Canada in 2nd place in their pool, ahead of BRA, USA and FRA. They will play Russia who ended up in a 3 way tie for first place in Pool B but got ranked in 3rd with the tie breaking system. 

Tie Breaking Procedure:
Ranking System

In order to establish the ranking of teams, the following criteria shall be implemented.
1. Number of victories 

The teams will be classified in descending order by the number of matches won.

2. Ranking Points

In case of equality in number of matches won the ranking points will be considered.   
Results Winners Losers
3-0 3 pts 0 pts
3-1 3 pts 0 pts
3-2 2 pts 1 pts


3. Set ratio 

In the case of equality in the number of matches won by two or several teams, they will be classified in descending order by the quotient resulting from the division of the number of all sets won by the number of all sets lost.

4. Points ratio

If the tie persists as per the set ratio, the teams will be classified in descending order by the result of dividing all points scored by the total of points lost during all sets 

5. Still tied? 

If the tie continues as per the point ratio between two teams, the priority will be given to the team which won the last match between them. When the tie in points ratio is between three or more teams, a new classification of these teams in the terms of points 1, 2 and 3 will be made taking into consideration only the matches in which they were opposed to each other.

Summer 2016 - Monday, August 15, 2016

posted Feb 10, 2017, 6:36 AM by Ashley Lee

Monday, August 15, 2016

Hi All:

Today Canada takes on Italy with a little look over its shoulder for the BRA vs France match. Italy has clinched 1st place in the ‘pool of death’, as the media refer to it. Now if Italy gives Canada a bit of a gift by resting some starters then they could still advance to the final 4. Right now 4 teams are tied with 2-2 win/loss records. 

'Loud and Proud', wish them onward and upward!

-Lorne

Summer 2016 - Thursday, August 11, 2016

posted Feb 10, 2017, 6:36 AM by Ashley Lee

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Match vs. France at 2:05 PM!

Summer 2016 - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

posted Feb 10, 2017, 6:35 AM by Ashley Lee

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Email from Coach Larry McKay:

"Hi Lorne,

We scored timely points off serve to win the first set but then made more errors than Brazil in the next three sets. It was a good match-up to see how well we could do vs. them, and they were clearly better in most aspects. We were disappointed we didn't play better last night as well as pleased with how we came up with the points in the first set.

We reviewed the match this morning as coaches and met this afternoon with the team to discuss. We practiced with some players this afternoon. We didnt get to bed until 3 am so today was a mainly recovery day. Gameplay for France is being completed tonight. Tmoorrow we practice briefly in the morning forllowed by the gameplan meeting. Then it is the match at 5:30 PM."

Summer 2016 - Tuesday, August 9, 2016

posted Feb 10, 2017, 6:35 AM by Ashley Lee

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Canadian Men's team suffered a loss to Brazil this evening 1-3 but have gained some new found respect from the entire country. Looking forward to their next match against France!

Summer 2016 - Monday, August 8, 2016

posted Feb 10, 2017, 6:35 AM by Ashley Lee

Monday, August 8, 2016

Email from Coach Larry McKay:

"Hi Lorne,

USA coach John Speraw spending moments with me before the match chatting about family, old times. A great human being, and top coach, very good at his craft.

Our players loose, relaxed and enjoying all the lead-up moments to the match on the warm up court, in the locker room.

USA looking fantastic in warm up, they definitely have a great spiking team.

An even start for us, and USA looking to serve hard, making errors.

A close first set with no one on our team doing very good or very bad, and at the end, Nick Hoag displayed some superior attacking, our players especially Gavin heeded Coach Hoag's advice to serve in, USA still served out, won tight one, but USA not shaken (perhaps stirred a bit though).

Second set Anderson bombs some very good serves, where he was missing at the end of the first set.  USA looks to reassert their dominance over us, their younger upstart brothers. We do not succumb to braggadocio so easily.  In fact, perhaps the memory of 2013 NORCECA in Langley lingers on and sticking our finger in the eye of our older brother does not suffice.  TJ Sanders begins to work his chess board of attackers.  Nick Hoag continues to seemingly score at ease which does much for our confidence in all areas and seems to frustrate the USA.  And Sanders in his blocking match-up with former World League MVP Taylor Sander has great success.  In fact, Sander gets removed for legendary gold medalist Reid Priddy.  Not phased, our team pulls away as USA replaces their serving errors of the first set with many other shoddy ball contacts.

A complete team effort will now be required to finish this.  Several of our players took many turns up on the bench to assist players and staff.  Steve Marshall picked his sub spot perfectly and showed his range as a player delivering two perfect sets.  Rudy Verhoeff knew exactly who would be best replaced for his laser beam serve.  And in the end, when USA got some formidable blocks finally on Nick Hoag, other players scored their points for us as it took so much USA attention to stop Nick.  Gavin who had paced himself perfectly was there at the end (Rudy Verhoeff predicted it from the bench, that it was Gavin's time).  Gord Perrin delivered timely serves and spikes.  TJ Sanders used all his chess pieces now to the befuddlement of the USA blockers.  And when in the penultimate point, we passed a perfect ball, TJ held his hands such that the USA blockers were late getting to one of the best attackers in the world, and Gavin killed it for point 24 and match point was upon us, TJ walked back to the service line without celebration, already moving on to the next biggest point.  The student was about to become the teacher.  And Graham Vigrass delivered with a commit block on the exact set and shot the USA had lined up.  He stuffed it, it was covered but not well and Gavin hit it easily for the match point.

 
Gord Perrin took on one of the best and highest paid players in the world, Matt Anderson, and stuffed him a couple of times, one time one on one.
Justin Duff out-served Max Holt, another one of the top middle players in the world, and in fact played him even in other aspects. And Blair Bann passed the USA hard spike servers at the end of the match when it counted most.
Role of substitutes is so important and Glenn used all his players who rose to the challenge."

Summer 2016 - Sunday, August 7, 2016

posted Feb 10, 2017, 6:34 AM by Ashley Lee

Sunday, August 7, 2016



Team Canada just beat the Americans 3-0!  What a great match.  The men play Brazil on Tuesday, August 9 @ 7:35 PM MST.

Summer 2016 - Friday, August 5, 2016

posted Feb 10, 2017, 6:34 AM by Ashley Lee

Friday, August 5, 2016

Team Canada has been placed in what people have been calling the "death" pool at the 2016 Olympics in RIO.  Their first opponents will be against our friends south of the border, Team USA.  We can't wait to see our Canadian Men's team step up to the challenge!

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