I Learned How To Be A Better Volleyball Player: Olympian Liz Masakayan

Liz Masakayan took steps to learn how to be a better volleyball

player despite being raised in a single parent household.

Learn about how she did it as she tells her story in her own words.

First, let me explain that everything I'm about to write could only come

from me now that I am an adult, and with that, a much more of an

aware and in touch person with what I feel.

It's easy to look back and know now where my choices came from.

If you were to ask me then about any obstacles I had to overcome

when I was a teenager, I would have told you that everything was fine,

except for the fact that I felt cheated that all my friends had more

material things than I did and that I had the strictest mom in the world.

Learning how to be a better volleyball player helps Liz get noticed by universities who want her to play for them in exchange for a paid education.

As an adolescent and a young adult, I never knew how competitive and

athletic I was.

I just played, worked hard, had fun and enjoyed being popular for it.

It was all very simple for me at the time. It was so simple that when I

was 16, going into my senior year of high school and starting to get

letters from universities wanting me to play volleyball at their school, I

had no idea that I could get free college education because of my


I was very excited and very appreciative of what I was being offered,

never once thinking I had actually earned it because I was always just

doing what I loved to do--sports.

I can truly say that I felt as though there were no hurdles that I had to


The biggest barrier then, which is not as big of an issue now,

was the lack of opportunities available for girls to play sports.

Participating in other sports also helped Liz learn how to be a better volleyball player.

I played Little League Baseball at 10 years old when they first allowed

girls to play. Then when I was a junior in high school, we finally got the

opportunity to form the first ever girl's soccer team.

I already had been playing club soccer for 5 years and really wanted to

play in high school like all the boys did.

Also, the closest club volleyball was about 30-45 minutes away.

Today, there's about 10 different one's in the area. I relied a lot on the

other girl's moms to bring me to practices and competitions since my

mom was working all the time having to raise four kids.

Because I believed I didn't really have any hang ups or handicaps, it

gave me every opportunity in my mind to do whatever it was I wanted

to do.

That was a good thing and bad thing all in one.

On a positive note, I worked very hard and had a lot of desire to be

better at sports and academics.

That gave me alot of attention and love that any kid in a big family with

one parent subconsciously wants to have.

But, unknowingly, my sense of self was very wrapped up in my


My value as a person was determined by winning or losing and

that can be a very dangerous mindset. If I succeeded, I was a person

and everyone liked me. And if I failed, I was worthless.

Liz learns life lessons while learning how to be a volleyball player.

It was a very conditional love I had for myself which attacked my self

esteem and led to self criticism and negativity. This motivated me to

improve and do more at all costs because I was never satisfied, but it

came from an unhealthy place and at the expense of having a lack of

balance in my life.

It was an extreme focus, but not worth the things I was sacrificing and


Even though my mother and the nature of a single parent home installed

a lot of great qualities, it also left me with a little sense of balance.

We were all in survival mode, and if we were to stop and really feel and

assess the situation, it would have been counterproductive to enduring

our circumstances.

This lack of balance that I experienced in my youth has been a huge

hurdle in my young adult life.

It led me to lose a sense of self awareness--enough to get injured

numerous times, lose a sense of perspective in life, enough to not fully

enjoy the process that got me the result, and lose a sense of how to

choose quality relationships enough to not have had the confidence to

be a good wife and mother in order to have a healthy marriage.

But these are all things I know now and am lucky that desire and

determination I learned as a child, has given me the courage to improve

my sense of balance today.

I'm grateful for the hard lessons I have learned, but hope that young

kids today have a different and healthier avenue to encounter them.

More important than anything I have accomplished in sports, I have

learned and strongly believed in one thing.

I think the most significant purpose for anyone is to put effort into

figuring out a way to have a healthy marriage so that as parents

one can raise their children together (in the same house) to be

complete and balanced individuals.

After all, our children are society's future and we need to be great

role models as parents and people.

Do You Have An Inspirational Female Volleyball Players Story To Share?

Do you have a great story? Share it!

The Volleyball Voices editorial project is an ongoing work in progress and I invite you and all Inspiring Female Volleyball Players readers to contribute their own personal stories of the obstacles they had to overcome in order to enjoy or excel at playing volleyball.

The purpose of this project is to empower, educate and inspire female volleyball players to become self-confident athletes with positive body images and through this collection of stories to provide ideas and inspiration to IFVP readers that will serve to help improve self-esteem.

The ultimate goal is to create the largest collection of inspirational female volleyball players stories on the web and your help is needed to accomplish this goal.

Are you one of the female volleyball players that have had to overcome any of the obstacles in the list mentioned above?

If so, please add to the collection by submitting your own story of overcoming obstacles.

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Do you want to learn more about how to be a better volleyball player in

the articles below?

For more inspiring stories by female volleyball players check out the

pages below:

E.O Learned How To Be A Good Volleyball Player

Famous Beach Volleyball Player Nina Matthies

Famous Female Volleyball Player Rose Magers

Good Volleyball Players Like Heather Bown Prove Critics Wrong

I Learned How To Be A Better Volleyball Player:Olympian Liz Masakayan

The First Volleyball Player America Had To Respect: Mary Jo Peppler

The Girl Volleyball Player Who Got Better Than The Boys: Laurel Brassey Iversen

The Most Famous Volleyball Player, Flo Hyman

The Shortest Volleyball Player On The Court: Debbie Green Vargas

The Tallest Volleyball Player On The Team: Kim Oden

Return To Inspirational Female Volleyball Players Stories From I Learned

How To Be A Better Volleyball Player

Return to Inspiring Female Volleyball Players From I Learned How To

Be A Better Volleyball Player

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  • Monday Volleyball Class (ages 11 - 14) - Stupak Community Center 6 - 7:30
  • Tuesday Volleyball Class (ages 13 - 18) - Mirabelli Community Center 6 - 7:30
  • Wednesday Advanced/Varsity Only Class - Chuck Minker Sports Complex - 4:30 - 6pm - Contact Coach April first before coming if you've never been
  • Thursday Volleyball Class (ages 13 - 18) - Stupak Community Ctr. 6 - 7:30
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Boot Camp Volleyball Class Requirements

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About Breakfast Club 60

  • Four Mondays 4pm - 5pm
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If you’ve never attended a Breakfast Club class contact Coach April BEFORE registering.

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About Brunch Club 60

  • Four Mondays 5pm - 6pm
  • 60 minute intensive Training
  • Class Max 12 - Coed
  • Ages 13 - 15
  • No Beginners
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  • Registration is Open
  • Stupak Community Ctr 
  • Pay $195 for a four class pack Breakfast Club 60 
  • Pay $195 late registration (1-3 Mondays)


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Private and Semi Private Lessons with Coach April
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