By Austin Lassell–
Kerri Walsh, three time Olympic gold medalist, spoke privately to the University of Louisville’s women’s volleyball team on what she has found to be the keys to her success as a professional athlete.
Player Katie George detailed the experience, saying, “We got to have her one on one, just her and the team; and I mean she’s a superstar, a volleyball role model.”
Walsh said to the team, “What’s gonna separate the good from the great is your mental capacity, how can you deal with adversity…(This) level of volleyball is heavy hitting, it’s hard, it’s fast and it’s physical.”
Walsh also spoke about the values of camaraderie and combating competitive anxieties.
“To be a collegiate student athlete, you have to be on the ball, you have to know how to balance, you have to be a great team player. It’s really scary when you’re…in front of thousands of people, little kids, your parents, your coach, everyone you respect, your peers and it’s really hard to have the courage to show the world how much you want it.”
At the press conference, Walsh spoke about the “popularity explosion” which volleyball has recently undergone. She mentioned how the city itself is a huge part of the experience and spoke highly of Louisville as it “raises sport to the highest level” with it’s strong fan base and it’s KFC Yum! Center. As for the event itself, she called it full of “love and energy,” a place of inspiration even for non athletes, especially for kids to “show them that there’s life after grammar school, after high school.” Being an Olympic athlete, she explained why she finds collegiate volleyball to also be very exciting: “(In the Olympics) you have your patriotic pride, but when you play for your college…it’s gonna be loud, it’s gonna be factions against each other…people wear their colors very proudly.”
Walsh, who referred to herself as a dreamer, spoke directly on achieving dreams, stating, “Those, I believe, who show it the most achieve the most.” She explained that you must “own what you’re doing” and keep in mind the thought, “I’m gonna make it happen” and to put your whole heart into it.
“Just don’t be afraid to show it….that’s where I really believe that greatness happens…it’s all in you, the greatness is in you…no one wants perfect, just have a perfect heart and strive for a perfect heart,” Walsh said.
Photo: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal