Lauren Sampson: College Connections

Lauren Sampson, an Elite Alumni, just finished her Freshman season at Gannon University. She came back home for Christmas Break with some recommendations and insight for our younger players looking to compete at the next level.

Gannon University is a Division II School located in Pennsylvania. Lauren was able to make a significant impact for the team as a Freshman. The team finished with a 31-3 record with a trip to the PSAC Championship game and the NCAA Tournament. She was named Freshman of the Year for the PSAC Conference along with a First Team selection. Sampson earned a spot on the 2018 NCAA Atlantic Region All-Tournament Team and won PSAC Northwest Volleyball Athlete of the Week on three separate occasions. She finished her season with the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) naming her to the 2018 DII All-American Honorable Mention team.

At Elite Volleyball Training Center, we strive to continue to help the next generation of athletes prepare for what lies ahead. We asked our returning Alumni a series of questions regarding their Freshman year experience. Here is what Lauren has to say about her first season at Gannon University:

Were you ever home sick and felt like you were all alone?

  • For the first few days I felt homesick, but I got over it quickly.

What did Elite help you prepare for?

  • I was ready to play at a high level. I was ready to compete for a spot on the court along with compete for the win. Everyone at Elite pushed me to become better, and I was well prepared when I got to school.

What did you take for granted while in the gym at Elite?

  • I took the resources I had available outside of practices for granted. This included lessons, conditioning, and weight room training.

What is your recommendation to our younger players that have dreams of becoming a collegiate volleyball player?

  • Work hard all the time. Get as many extra reps as you can on the court or in the weight room.

 

“Elite has helped me prepare for the intensity and high level of college volleyball”

Lauren Sampson
Elite 2018 Alumni
Gannon University

For the Love of the Game

A stranger comes to your door. He hands you and your family $200,000 cash. He says this is for your daughter to help her get her life started right. He also suggests that she meet some of his connections. These connections are very successful business owners, corporate leaders, or experts in their field. He explains these connections are part of his tight knit family group. This group of people want to help her become a successful person in this world in any field of work she finds interesting. He finishes his conversation explaining that the only thing your daughter needs to do to receive all this money and special treatment is…play a game for four years.

He approaches you and explains that he notices your daughter is exactly like a group of people he knows. They would get along perfectly. He explains that this group of people spend 20 – 30 hours a week doing the same game. Even when they are not doing this game they spend all their time talking about it. Sometimes they even like to dress up wearing gear that represents this game. He can guarantee that in four years your daughter will make some of the best friends of her life.

She will be able to travel the country for this game. He would provide private jets that would take her and her group to play this game against other girls from other states. Since they are traveling so much, he said she needs to represent the group. He will give her 2 pair of game shoes, 2 t-shirts, shorts, pants, a winter coat, gloves, a hat, special shoes to wear on the plane, and even shower sandals. He promises to give her all new gear every year, and he explains he will even wash her clothes for her. All she needs to do is play a game for four years.

In addition to the $200,000 cash and the gear, he promises to give her a monthly check to cover her rent and food. This amount is the same every month even if there are times of the year that she does not need to play the game as often. He promises that there will be plenty of time for her to take classes in any field that interests her. She can become whatever she wants to be when she grows up.

He does explain that he needs her help to show others how awesome this game is. He says that there will be times that she will have to take some of these new players to football games. It won’t be that bad because he promises to get her seats really close to the field. There may even be days that she can go on the field and watch the action up close and personal.

Lastly, he promises that there will be several younger participants that will look up to her. They will ask her for her autograph and tell their parents that she is who they want to be like when they get older. She has the potential to be in the newspaper, or even on television. She may even become a household name.

You daughter gets all the above if…..she plays the board game Twister for four years.

I know, you were assuming that all this was for a volleyball scholarship. If your daughter received all the above for a simple board game of Twister, you would be eternally grateful to the organization that so generously provided for your daughter and your family. That is how we must feel regarding volleyball scholarships. Your daughter has an opportunity to go to college for FREE….plus much more.

The love of the game must come first. If the end goal is to get a scholarship, then your daughter will stop being excited about the process when she commits to play collegiate volleyball. She needs to love the game through the good times and the bad. She should not feel as if she is entitled to anything. My sophomore year of college, I called my father crying. I was not getting the amount of playing time I thought I deserved. He interrupted me and said, “Jackie, just go to practice and play volleyball because you love volleyball.” He was right; I loved volleyball. After that, I played my heart out, not for playing time, but because it was the game I loved to play. The game does not owe you or your daughter anything. However, the game can provide everything if she shows her passion for her teammates, the love of the game, and the willingness to continue to learn and grow.

My dad kept the ball that started it all. When it was new we used it to pepper in the backyard when I was a kid. This ball is now tattered and torn, flat and unuseable, and my dad handed it to me the day I got in the car to drive to The Ohio State University to play for their volleyball program. It sat on my shelf in my dorm, apartment, and now in my office. It represents my volleyball life. I hope your daughter loves the game so much that she ruins a few balls in her career too.