What would you do after winning a national championship? Would you continue dreaming big the following days, thinking about next year’s season? Would you lay low, eat ice cream and bask in your happiness? We might all have different ways of celebrating successes. Nebraska volleyball, however, always continues on the same path, even after winning a national title.
The team was given about a month off following the 2017 championship match. Most of the players went home, saw their families or vacationed somewhere warm. (Not all Huskers are fans of the winters here!) As soon as they were back for classes, they also reported back for winter conditioning. This is a mix of sand volleyball practices, running, and lifting workouts. After a few weeks of training, the sand volleyball team makes its way west and compete in a few matches. Following the sand volleyball matches, the players then transition into a short indoor volleyball spring season. Sometimes they will play an opponent and sometimes they will scrimmage themselves, it just depends on the year and what team the Huskers can find to play.
As you know, seasons change and after spring comes summer. This may surprise you or it may not, but summer is where the biggest gains are made. Whether it is on the court or in the weight room, you will see players transform during this time of year. Workouts usually begin around 6:00 a.m. and last until about 8:00 a.m. in the summer. The players will run for an hour, doing sprints on the football field, running up the stairs at Memorial Stadium, jump rope, you name it, they are doing it. The other hour is spent in the weight room. Some days are heavy leg days, other days are heavy arm days and then there is circuit training, one of the hardest workouts out there.
After their workout is complete, the girls are usually off to a summer school class or to coach Nebraska volleyball camps, which happen every summer. This can be a challenge because you are already exhausted from workouts and then you have to deal with preparing for class and coaching camps on top of all of that. As you can see, with this schedule, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for down time. The team hardly has time for a pool day or to go and get their nails done. This is why they always say: “Champions are built in the offseason.”
Even though you might not hear much about Husker volleyball from January through July, just remember that they are still staying busy! The number of hours the coaching staff and players put in is extraordinary. This is probably why, in my opinion, Nebraska is so successful each and every year.
Nebraska volleyball opens the regular season this weekend, hosting Florida on Friday and Oregon on Saturday as part of the VERT Challenge. Both matches are at 6 p.m.
Lauren joined Hail Varsity in 2017 as a contributing writer covering Nebraska Volleyball. Lauren played volleyball at UCLA in 2009 and then finished her collegiate volleyball career at the University of Nebraska from 2010-2012. After college, she played professional volleyball in Switzerland and Puerto Rico before making her way back to Lincoln. Lauren considers herself a wine connoisseur and a major “foodie” and she also loves to travel the world. Lauren and her husband, Jason, married in 2018.