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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student


Team focuses on mental game

'Inner-athlete' helps players prepare for tough matches

Getting ready to play No. 9 Wisconsin Friday and Northwestern Saturday might require intense preparation. But the volleyball team said it has no doubt it can hold its own and prove it has what it takes to be a winning program.\nThe team trains for hours a day to develop communication, skills, physical strength and the mental aspects of the game. Being mentally prepared is one important aspect to the team. \n"So much of the game is mental. We focus on taking out distractions and to work together for a common goal," coach Katie Weismiller said. "We work on how to approach practice and matches and how to be relaxed when you play."\nThe team takes one hour each week for "inner-athlete," a program devised for each player to focus on the mental aspects of play. They do everything from visualization to role-playing, Weismiller said. \n"We work on situations to better the team…we do visualizations. 'How do I focus on the goal at hand?'…How to better communicate," Weismiller said.\nWorking on mental strength has made a difference in the first year Weismiller and her staff has implemented the plan in the fitness routine. Weismiller said many matches have been lost because of mental breakdowns and is sure the new program will make players stronger and more confident. \nSenior Crecia Keithley has seen changes in her game since participating in the mental training.\n"It's one of those things that you have to force yourself to do and believe, but it conquers your mind, and in sports it's 90 percent of it," Keithley said. "We are getting that mental advantage over the teams that we play."\nThe mental aspect of the game is something sophomore Monique Pritz said she feels is just as vital as physical training. \n"Mental is just as important, it gets you relaxed before a game and it gives you confidence," she said. "I think about how I'm going to block and hit…and play my best." \nThe Hoosiers said they believe their mental and physical game is ready for the strenuous competition, as long as they don't lose their mental edge. \n"Mental is a higher percentage (of the game) then physical because if you lose your mental game then your physical game breaks down and you have to be there mentally to play the best that you can," Pritz said.

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