Q&A WITH KELSEY ROBINSON
Volleyball standout Kelsey Robinson is one of the fiercest competitors on the U.S. Women’s National team. Her hard work, dedication, and training led her to compete on the world’s largest stage. What’s her training routine? What are her goals? What fuels her fire? Find out in our sit down interview with Kelsey below.
YOU PLAYED BASKETBALL IN HIGH SCHOOL, HOW DID THAT HELP EXCEL YOUR VOLLEYBALL GAME?
I was originally a full-time basketball player and I wanted to play in college. I came from a basketball family and just started volleyball as kind of cross-training. Learning both sports and being exposed to different body movements and a different dynamic of a game really helped me to develop skills I wouldn’t have if I’d stayed just with volleyball. I think the biggest things for athletes now and young girls now is they always want to hit, always want to score and they always want to play offense, but basketball was the game that taught me the importance of defense and how huge it is to winning and success, so that’s something I carried with me from basketball.
DO YOU STILL PLAY BASKETBALL TODAY?
Yeah! I love basketball, it’s a huge release for me when I’m overseas and I’m constantly training or I’m in the gym playing volleyball. One thing I do when I’m overseas is I always bring a basketball with me. I go find a court and I’ll play ‘HORSE’ or one-on-one with my friends or even just kind of shoot around by myself and have that mental release.
WHAT DOES YOUR VOLLEYBALL TRAINING SCHEDULE LOOK LIKE?
Typically we go from about 8 to 11:30 in the morning training, practicing, or having full-time competition, then we’ll have a bit of a break — get some lunch, some rehab, recovery. Then we’ll go into some type of extra passing work, extra defense work, or we’ll do weights for about an hour to an hour and a half. The next 30 minutes are used for rehab or ice bath, then we’ll have video and do more rehab after. At this point it’s all about the rehab! Typically we are in the gym from like 8 to 4 every day which can make for long days but it’s really rewarding and fun.
DO YOU HAVE ANY UNIQUE METHODS THAT YOU REALLY WORK ON TO PERFECT YOUR ATTACK, OR ANY PART OF YOUR VOLLEYBALL GAME?
I have a couple keys as far as volleyball goes; with passing I try to think about keeping my platform out in front of me and contacting the ball at an early point. For hitting, it’s really my footwork that matters most. When my feet are doing what they are supposed to do, slow to fast, explosive at the end, I’m hitting at a high point, I have every shot that I know I can hit. I’ve been starting to add yoga into my workout regimen and just really taking recovery seriously now that I’m into my second quad of the Olympics cycle. I’m getting a little bit older but my body is my job and I need to keep it as healthy as I can.
WHAT ARE SOME INDIVIDUAL TRAINING AND FITNESS GOALS YOU HAVE AND HOW DO YOU PLAN ON GETTING THERE?
When I was younger it was always like ‘Okay I want to touch like 10-4’ or I had vertical goals or I had speed goals and I still have those things, but I think the most important focus for me right now is building up the little things in my body and I think yoga has really helped with that. I’m trying to focus on how my body moves instead of how much power I can lift or how many weights I can dumbbell and squat and press. I’m really, really focused and a firm believer of making sure that the little parts of my body and the little muscles and joints are all properly working and moving together because that’s what will keep my body going as long as it can.
YOU’RE AN INCREDIBLY FIERCE COMPETITOR, WHAT FUELS THAT FIRE?
A lot of it came from when I was growing up and my childhood. I was constantly in the yard and friends would come over to play and I would be like ‘We can’t go eat until we get all the way through this.’ I was just so determined. I had to win at everything, Monopoly, cards, whatever, and that actually hasn’t left me. I think the USA gym is a really awesome place because we all respect each other- we’ll talk smack and then there will be, like, yelling arguments in the gym because people want to win and they’re there to win. Then, when we walk off the court, everybody is best friends with each other. You know it’s not personal, which makes it a great place to be and you know you can compete as hard as you want.
WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE TO YOUNG FEMALE ATHLETES TRYING TO PURSUE THEIR DREAMS?
If I had to give any advice it would be, and I know it sounds cliché, but to believe in yourself. I think a lot of girls get to point where they think ‘okay, I can’t do this’ and they give up. Whether or not you can do it, going through it is going to give you the opportunity you want. It may not be where you thought you were going, but I think allowing yourself to embrace adversity and be open to failure, be open to pain, and be open to suffering can kind of show you who are and how tough you really are. That mindset will open doors to so many different things whether its volleyball, life, or school. I think it’s a really powerful lesson to not walk away from challenges.
Being a professional volleyball player has its obstacles, but Robinson faces them head-on. Her hard work, dedication, and training have taken her to uncharted levels of play allowing her to make sure she never backs down from a challenge.
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