32 games later


The regular season has come to it's end and I got a feeling that I want to sum up this journey a bit at this point. I've never wrote a complete blog post in English (but I've got many international friends that I want to be able to understand too) so please be kind my English is not perfect.

I started this season in LP Vampula clueless of what I have ahead. I got my first contract in the highest league of Finland last spring. I didn't exactly know what's the level there, how I'm going to fit there, am I way too poor as a libero, am I going to play or just learn and practise for the first season without getting actually time in the court. Of course I knew finnish players and had followed the league before, but it is truly different to be there yourself. So many questions: How is our team? How is our coach? How is it to live in small city just to play volleyball? I knew nothing but I was ready to put all in and look what it is.

I moved into Huittinen in middle of the summer and we started working. I felt so insecure in the beginning. I hadn't touch the ball for a while and felt so uncoordinated. Suddenly two months just passed and it was time to hit the court. I felt unready and to be honest I was afraid. On the other hand I was so excited and willing to prove that this is where I belong and that my hard work is paying off. We've had amazing situation the whole season with my dear colleague Iina: we are very even as a liberos and we push each other forward. I bet none of us knew who is going to play in the first game of the season. We have the best relationship with her (even though we have same position and still compete with each other) in my opinion. She's so supportive and just wonderful.

Well the first game came and our coach decided to put me into the court. Actually the first game went pretty well. I had the feeling that YES I CAN DO THIS. I felt that I had no pressure as no one expected anything from me. Well after the first games there was many many not so good games, not so strong moments. The opponents served 21 aces in my zone in three games in a row. That is a lot. My reception was stiff, I started to doubt myself. The whole time I've played as a libero reception has been my weak point. Iina came to court and saved our game in the games when I started to suck and I'm so happy for her to be there for the team. Still I felt mentally a mess. I was practising like crazy just to get better. I did extra practises to get reps in reception. I was trying to find solution to my bad reception performance. I was trying to do different things and to think of the technique etc to just get better. Then after this one game in Nurmo I went to speak with my coach. I just wanted him to give me solution.

What he said was: 
"..Your problem is that you're trying to find solution for the problem that doesn't exist."

And that was something that really got into my mind. I realized how much this "trying to be something" had effect on my performance. I decided to go to the next game just relaxed and to not to care how it's going to be. Just be there, believe that you know how to do it and boom: this game was against Pölkky and they started in the beginning of the game to serve to me. In the first set I think I got maybe 8-10 reception and 80% of those I received good. It worked out. I played the first actually good reception game. I was confident and relaxed. After this I played mostly a lot better games. There were some bad games too but all in all it was going in a lot better direction. I felt so happy and continued the hard work but besides all the reps: I started working with my mind. I was going in the right direction.

We played the Challenge Cup, took some great wins, tough losses. Played so bad games and practised hard. After some very good period I had to realize again that it's not always going to be good, perfect. There's always always going to be ups and downs. Now when I'm looking back those bad games, bad moments are the ones that forced me to think outside of the box. This season has simply been so big lesson. I've never in my life been so motivated and determined about something. I'm right where I need to be. So during the whole season biggest improvement has been in the mental game, building the self confidence, focusing on positive self-talk. It's actually crazy how fast this season has gone and how much my passion, my will has grown. I'm willing to do anything to get better. To be the best. To succeed.

In the end all that I described above there is little things. When looking back to the fact that: I quit volleyball 2014 because of my rheumatic back. I gave up on doing it. But now I'm back and not willing to give up. I'm every day so grateful to be able to move, walk and play without pain. To be able to stand up from bed and smile every day. These things haven't always been possible and when you stand up after some harder periods in life you realize how amazing this is. I'm here just to enjoy and love this sport that challenges me every day.

I can't thank enough of the people that has effected my life during this season. You have been amazing support. This team, these people are just diamonds.

and NOW we hit to the play offs and I feel more confident than ever. 

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