Throughout 2018 preseason camp, returning VolleyMob All-Americans, other key players and even some coaches will be giving an inside glimpse into training camp at their respective schools.
They will introduce fans to their teams, share about drills, excitement for the season and more.
Colorado senior outside hitter Alexa Smith shares about the team’s preseason camp at the Olympic Training Center, family dinners and thoughts on her last season.
Smith was named to the Preseason All-Pac-12 team earlier this week after posting 3.97 kills and 2.83 digs per set en route to AVCA All-America second team honors in 2017. Smith was VolleyMob’s National Player of the Week (9/19) and went to be a VolleyMob All-America Honorable Mention selection.
The 2018 Buffs are ranked 15th in the AVCA Preseason Poll and 15th in VolleyMob’s Power Rankings. Colorado was picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 by the league’s coaches.
As a volleyball player, the month of August is one of the most exciting months of the year. Getting back on campus with teammates, getting new gear, and , of course, getting to finally play games again.
This year is a little different for me though. It’s the last time I’ll ever do this a college athlete since it is my senior season, and I’m taking every opportunity to soak it all in.
Unlike most players who leave home and return to campus for preseason training and two-a-days, I am lucky enough to get to go home for my pre-season training. Every year, our University of Colorado volleyball team has the privilege of training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for a week, which is only 20 minutes away from where I grew up.
At the OTC, we obviously spend a lot of time playing volleyball, but we also work on getting stronger in the weight room, and bonding as a team. We typically spend our morning sessions breaking things down whether that is implementing defenses or getting serve and pass reps. In our afternoon sessions we mostly play games and implement everything we worked on in the morning. Then, we have meetings at night to either watch film or talk about team stuff.
There are a few things I love most about having pre-season training at the OTC:
- I get to share my home with my teammates. Every year when we come to train here, my parents have the whole team over for a huge dinner. My CU volleyball team is my family when I live in Boulder, but it’s really special when my volleyball family and actual family can be in the same place at the same time.
- I have had the opportunity to train at the OTC multiple times with USA National Teams and it brings back all those memories. I’ve been cut from National teams a few times in this gym, and I’ve also made a few National teams in this gym, so it’s exciting to share those experiences with my teammates. I am so honored to have had those opportunities and every time I come back to train here, it reminds me of all the places volleyball has taken me (literally around the world) and the amazing teammates and coaches I have gotten to meet along the way. The amount of learning I have done over the years in this gym is pretty cool.
- It’s nice to just focus on volleyball. All my teammates would agree that Boulder is a pretty special town, but sometimes it’s nice to get out of there and just be able to focus on volleyball with no distractions. At the OTC, we practically only eat, sleep, and play volleyball.
- This is where Olympians train. It’s pretty special to be training somewhere that Olympians train, but even more special to see them walking around or share a cold tub with one. Last year we actually did cold tub with an athlete on the USA Skeleton team, and this year I actually ran into him again and we said hi!
There are going to be a lot of “lasts” in my senior season, and for my last preseason training I am extra thankful for the opportunity to be practicing in my hometown at the Olympic Training Center.