Rising Fast

Despite being relatively new to the sport, Jamie Deines was invited to the Under Armour volleyball tournament.

When she received the invitation all she could think was, “there is no way this is possible.” Sophomore Jamie Deines started volleyball later than most of those on the Varsity team, having only played for four years while some advanced volleyball players started playing years earlier. Despite this, Deines was invited to an Under Armour event.  The Under Armour Next Camp Series is a highly selective camp for promising future athletes to train and compete at. 

“I told my parents and they were really excited for me. I thought, dang, I have to play really well when I go to this camp. I contacted the person that sent out the email and sent, thank you so much for this opportunity. And I just can’t wait,” Deines said.

Deines didn’t grow up playing volleyball but she grew up playing many other sports. From the age of five, she was always active, partaking in swimming, martial arts and soccer. Growing up in a family where everyone played sports, Deines got introduced to athletics very early on and was certain she wanted to pursue a career in the athletic field. However, she did not expect to be drawn toward volleyball specifically.

“I sucked. I was terrible. And there’s some girls on my team that have been playing since they were four years old. So it was difficult when I was starting out at 13. I played other sports so the athleticism helped me. But having to learn a new sport is always difficult. For me [the challenge] was mainly learning the sport and navigating the clubs. I [wanted] to try out going to clubs and see how that would all work. It [was] the first time where I had really committed to a schedule because I had never been part of a club either, so it was a big commitment at the beginning and I was terrible. I didn’t know if I was wasting my time. But it worked out,” Deines said.

To improve in volleyball and get to a point where she can be able to pursue it as a career, Deines finds ways to “set herself apart” from other players. Aside from just practicing the sport she has engaged in weightlifting and workouts to build her strength, and spent time learning about more positions outside of her own and reading the situation on the court to apply it to her strategy. While watching varsity matches Sophomore Teagan Tuens, a junior varsity player, has noted this growth as well.

“As time continued throughout the season you could see her more and more as a starting player in the lineup,” Tuens said.

While some sports can be carried by a few people or even one, volleyball is a team sport. Due to the fact that when the play is live no player can hit the ball twice in a row and a team only gets three touches before they throw the ball over the net, teammates need to interact and rely on one another in order to successfully play.

“The team aspect of volleyball is amazing. I also did track, but with track even though it is a team, it can sometimes get lonely. But for the team part, [in volleyball]  you really have to learn how to play together and part of that starts like off the court.The people I play volleyball with are my best friends, which is great, but if you were on a team didn’t like know people or didn’t really like them it would very much affect you on the court. So being great friends with my teammates often really helps us on the court. And I think it’s great with us all working together,” Deines said.

Deines sees it as important to befriend those on her team; they have come together over and through volleyball. To Tuens, it is important to not only know the layout of the game but also to have communication skills when it comes to being successful in the sport.

“She [Deines] is very sociable in the court. She’s a really nice person that you will always know and always be able to talk to. She is very charismatic. I would say she has a very bright personality. So she’s very hard not to follow. And I feel that she really reflects on the court with her play,” Tuens said.

With tournaments on weekends in addition to playing three hours four times a week there is not much time for homework left over.

 “Sometimes it gets difficult, a little overwhelming, but I just have to plan ahead and you just have to grind and grind through and just get my homework done. So when I play volleyball, I just focus on that. When I’m playing volleyball, I’m not thinking about school, which is like a nice break. So it kind of provides a balance,” Deines said. “My favorite thing about volleyball is that playing the sport opened me to a whole new world. It really helps me to not focus on all the chaotic things going on in life and it helps me calm down in a sense so I can just focus on something that I actually love.”