Volleyball Stories Nina Matthies
I am not sure that I had any huge hurdles during my career in volleyball, because of the time and era things have changed so much and with four decades of being involved I am not sure where to start!
But here is a little piece of "My Story".
There were no organized sports for girls when I was growing up, no volleyball, no soccer, no softball/baseball no nothing.
My only options were to be a cheerleader or work in the snack bar with my Mom while supporting my older brother, Greg, in his athletic endeavors.
I thank my father for including me in every work out at home.
We would run pass patterns for hours, shoot hoops, throw baseballs, run sprints and the mile in the soft sand at the beach.
Whatever it was, I tried to be better, faster, stronger. I competed with my brother in everything that he did.
I would race home from school, I would race anyone.
I knew that I was faster than most of the boys, so we would race off the bus, up the stairs anything!
Needless to say I was very competitive and enjoyed winning at a very early age.
I started playing volleyball in the seventh grade.
We had a great PE teacher, Mrs. Morton who set up a girl's doubles ladder where we came and played volleyball before school, during recess, after school, on the asphalt courts with nets that were strung quite haphazardly.
It meant everything to win that ladder and I had fallen in love with volleyball.
We lived at the beach so I played some doubles with my parents and watched a young Kirk Kilgour and his friends play beach volleyball in front of my house.
I was hooked. I started playing in USVBA and beach volleyball tournaments when I was 13 and I am still coaching and playing at 48.
Volleyball for me has always been my outlet, release, what I do for pure enjoyment.
I love and respect the volleyball game, all aspects of it. The teamwork that it takes, the hours and years that it has taken to perfect volleyball skills.
I have always loved to work out and I try to make everyday fun, different and challenging.
I was the one at our volleyball workouts with a smile on my face yelling "What else do you have? Is that all we're doing?".
I was taught to always give 100% and to never let on that I was tired or fatigued but always be ready for the next play or ball.
Since I grew up with relatively little organized coaching I have had to be very self motivated. I hold myself accountable for my actions at all times, both on and off the volleyball court.
I truly believe that you practice volleyball how you play volleyball, so how you practice must be very intense and have meaning everyday.
If I have any advice for young athletes, it is to follow your heart, enjoy what you do, play because you love it, not for the money you think you can make, college you can get into, or where you think it can take you.
After 35 years in this silly game I still love what I do.
I come to work everyday with a huge smile on my face, every morning I run 3 miles at Zuma Beach in Malibu watching the dolphins and whales cavort in the waves.
I have a wonderful husband/best friend of 21 plus years and two beautiful sons.
Life is good.
This story was written by one of America's famous beach volleyball players Nina Matthies exclusively for the Volleyball Voices project created and produced by April Chapple.
No reproduction is allowed.
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