High-SchoolVolleyball: BYU volleyball

Cosy's Corner: Go camping

July, 31, 2012
By Cosy Burnett

Cosy Burnett is a top 2013 volleyball recruit from Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. She plays outside hitter and opposite for La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Coast Volleyball Club in San Diego. She has competed in the California State Finals and at Nationals for the past five years. She recently committed to play for BYU. In the latest installment of her blog, she runs down the benefits of attending college camps.

La Costa Canyon volleyball
Cosy Burnett
Going to college volleyball camps is an amazing experience. It’s a great way to get noticed by coaches, get a feel for the school and meet some great new volleyball-loving friends. You will play about eight hours of volleyball per day, so come prepared to work hard and be sore. There are players of all different levels, so try not to compare yourself to others. Just focus on your own game.

Meet the head coaches
Make sure you introduce yourself to the head coach at the beginning of camp if you want them watching you. You can get a really good feel for the coach at camp. I like to watch how coaches treat their players, their recruits and the little kids. Watching the coach at camp may help you decide whether the program is a good fit for you.

Wear a bright headband or something else to stand out in the crowd. It’s also a good idea to show your volleyball experience with your apparel, so wear you club shirt or your Junior Nationals or AAU shirt to show the coaches what kind of volleyball you play.

They are looking for your talent and athleticism, so don’t be afraid to show them. If you can put balls away, then let it rip! If you have some sweet setting hands, then lay out the sugar! If you are a digging phenomenon, then be loud and aggressive and pas it up! Also, coaches like to see what hitters can do with bad sets. They want to see how you handle yourself and your different shot ranges. Hitters, be prepared for this because often college camps will have a separate week for setters and, like I was one year, you may be stuck with a middle blocker setting the balls.

I talked to a couple top volleyball college coaches who run big camps every summer. Here is their advice on how to stand out from the hundreds of other girls at camp:

John Cook, head coach, University of Nebraska: Work hard, look coaches in the eye, be coachable and make adjustments.Talk and be a great teammate.

Tim Nollan, associate head coach, USC: There are three things to help you stand out to college coaches at camps. First, have a positive attitude. It may sound simple, but a positive attitude toward yourself and others is a trait coaches look for. Second, effort. Try the techniques the coaches are asking you to perform, even if they take you out of your comfort zone. Coaches are always looking for players who are trying to learn more about the game. Finally, enthusiasm. You have to provide a spark for your court. Encourage others and drive your court to be better. It’s a trait every coach loves.

BYU volleyball
Courtesy of the Burnett familyCosy Burnett poses with friends at the BYU sports camp dance.
Check out the school
You get to stay in the dorms, eat the dorm food and explore the campus. You’ll be there during summer, when it’s quiet, but you can still get a good feel for what the school is about.

Make lifelong friends
You will be surrounded by tons of other girls who love the same sport you do. Take advantage of that and make some great friends. Room with someone random. Pepper with people you don’t know and introduce yourself to everyone. Sit next to new people during lunch. I love going to national tournaments and seeing or playing against girls I met at camps.

Read the previous installment of Cosy's blog – on her thoughts on nationals – here.
By Cosy Burnett

Cosy Burnett is a junior outside and opposite hitter at La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.) who also plays for Coast Volleyball Club in San Diego, Calif. Her high school team competed in the state finals for Division II last season and she has competed at nationals five times with her club teams. In the latest installment of her blog, she salutes all those special volleyball dads -- especially her own.

La Costa Canyon volleyball
Cosy Burnett
My dad has always supported me.

When I was 8, he was the one who brought me out to the backyard and onto the sports court and made my arms bright red from so many volleyball “bumps.” I remember going back into the house with the veins in my arms popping out thinking “volleyball really hurts.”

He was the one who got me volleyball private lessons at age 11, which helped me barely make the lowest volleyball team for my age group at the best club. He believed in me.

Every September, my dad sits down with me and he helps me make reachable goals for the school year. He helps me have confidence.

When I was 12, he bought me a big blue board and told me to write down goals, and make myself a “vision board.” It changed my life. My dad explained that I should make a collage of pictures to illustrate what I want in life. Then every morning when I wake up and see those images, they will become cemented in my mind. I covered that blue board with my dreams: a baby blue convertible Bentley, an Abercrombie & Fitch model (as my future man), exotic places, my dream home, pictures of Jesus (to keep my faith) and photos of BYU volleyball. I had that vision board on my wall facing my bed, so every morning I woke up to my dreams.

Cosy Burnett
Courtesy of Cosy BurnettCosy Burnett says her vision board changed her life.
Years have passed and new boards have replaced the old ones, but I recently found my first vision board in the back of my closet. I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw the pictures and realized how right my dad was. I have already achieved a dream that my skinny, awkward 12-year-old self wouldn’t have thought possible. I will play volleyball for BYU!!

Whether it’s how to get a full ride to my dream school, pump me up, calm me down, or be there for me when I simply need someone to talk to, my dad is there.

It’s time to honor our volleyball dads. They cheer for us, they embarrass us, they believe in us, they fight for us and they sacrifice for us.

Here’s what some volleyball players in the SoCal Region have to say to their dads:

“To Brian, You are one of the most incredible people I have ever met. Thank you, Pops, for being at every 7 a.m. tournament and for teaching me what it means to be a genuinely good person. You've set a great example, and I only hope that one day I can turn out to be half the person you are. I love you and will miss you so much next year!” – Yale-bound Karlee Fuller, Wave 18-1, La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.)

“To Ken, Happy Father’s Day! Thanks for always coming to my matches and cheering for me.” -- Sarah Kramer, T-Street 17-Troy, Rosary (Fullerton, Calif.)

“To Jim, Thanks, Dad, for always cheering me on! I love you!” -- Courtney Crosby, T-Street 17-Troy, Los Alamitos (Calif.)

“To Kenny, Thanks for all the support you always give me. I love you!” -- Kalysta White, T-Street 17-Troy, Laguna Beach (Calif.)

To Jimmy, Thank you for all the support and always cheering me on. I can always hear, “Dominate the net, Brookie!’” -- Brooke Legaux, T-Street 17-Troy, Tesoro (Las Flores, Calif.)

“To Dave, Happy Father’s Day and thanks for everything you do for me! Love, Ash” --Ashley Swatek, Club West 18-Nat, Ayala (Chino Hills, Calif.)

“To Oscar, I love you so much, Daddy!” -- Taylor Scott, Club West 18-Nat, Claremont (Calif.)

“To Ron, Happy Father’s Day! Thank you for all the support you give me. Because of you, I am able to play the game I love!” -- Lauren Miller, Coast 17-1, Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, Calif.)

“To Jeff, Happy Father’s Day and thanks for all the support you give me. I love you!” --Krissy Witous, Coast 17-1s, Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, Calif.)

“To Mike, Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I love you so much and thanks for everything! You are really an amazing Dad!” -- Sydney Francis, Coast 17-1s, La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.)

“To Derek, Thank you for all your support! I love you and hope you have a great Father’s Day. You’re the best!” -- Breanna Barksdale, Coast 17-1, Eastlake (Chula Vista, Calif.)

“Happy Father’s Day, Charlie! I love you!” -- Christian Jones, T-Street 17-Troy, Los Alamitos (Calif.)

“To David, Thank you so much for supporting me at every game. It means so much! Happy Father’s Day! I love you!” -- Kelly Boutelle, Coast 17-1, Bishop’s (La Jolla, Calif.)

“To Chris, Happy Father’s Day, Papa! I love you!” -- Caterina Rosander, Coast 17-1, Canyon Crest Academy (San Diego, Calif.)

“To Mark, Thank you for supporting me in every sport I do! You’re the best and I love you! Happy Father’s Day!” -- Lexi Reddick, Coast 17-1, Del Norte (San Diego, Calif.)

“To Michael, Thank you so much for always supporting me in volleyball and riding! Happy Father’s Day! I love you!” -- Claire Manhard, Coast 17-1, Bishops (La Jolla, Calif.)

“To Bill, Thanks so much for being a great dad! You have always been so supportive to me! Happy Father’s Day! I love you!” -- Marin Longfellow, Coast 17-1, Santa Fe Christian (Solana Beach, Calif.)

"To Dennis, I love you Dad! Thanks for sitting through the long tournaments and helping me with my volleyball recruiting video. You are so supportive, loving and always know how to make me laugh. Thank you for setting an excellent example for me by working so hard at everything you do.” -- Alex Visser, EPIC 18-1, La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.)

Happy Father’s Day to our great dads! We couldn’t do it without you!

Read the previous installment of Cosy's blog – on rookie sensation Breanna Barksdale – here.
By Cosy Burnett

Cosy Burnett is a junior outside and opposite hitter at La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.) who also plays for Coast Volleyball Club in San Diego, Calif. Her high school team competed in the state finals for Division II last season and she has competed at nationals five times with her club teams. In the latest installment of her blog, she features a rookie sensation on her club team.

La Costa Canyon volleyball
Cosy Burnett
Recently I’ve been amazed at the caliber of “rookie” athletes we have in the volleyball world. Most of us have had long years of playing both school and club to achieve our skills, but there are some athletes who have just started playing this game and have already gotten college offers in as little as a year! I’ve had the opportunity of having one of these girls on my team, competing against others, and seeing more excel on different teams. For the next three weeks, I want to highlight a rookie player who turned into an elite volleyball athlete in just one short year.

Bre Barksdale, a junior at Eastlake (Chula Vista, Calif.), plays with me on my club team, Coast Volleyball Club 17-1, in San Diego. She’s a middle blocker. This has been my first year playing with Bre, and ever since tryouts I’ve been impressed with her athleticism. Not only does she jump through the roof, but she also has a huge hang time. Off the court, she is quiet and polite. On the court, she turns into a dominating beast. Her calm demeanor always helps me collect myself after a tough play. I can always count on her saying, “Don’t worry, Cosy, you got it.” I have seen her improve hugely throughout this year as she has turned into a clutch player.

Meet Breanna Barksdale.

Bre Barksdale
Courtesy of Derek BarksdaleBreanna Barksdale is a junior middle blocker at Eastlake (Chula Vista, Calif.) and plans to play at Cincinnati.
Cosy: When did you start playing competitive volleyball and how long after you started playing did you get your first college offer?
Bre: I started volleyball my sophomore year after my high school coach Erwin Macalaguim urged me to play. Within my first year, I started receiving interest from college coaches, and just after my first year playing I had received my first college offer!

Cosy: What came easiest and hardest for you?
Bre: Nothing came easy for me, but my athleticism helped me with my shortfalls. The hardest skill I still have some trouble with is blocking.

Cosy: Who was the most influential person who believed in you and helped you get where you are? What did they do?
Bre: Many people have helped me get to where I am today, including all of my coaches, teammates and, of course, my family. Especially my brother, D'Angelo Barksdale. He always encourages me to do my best and picks me up when I'm down. He reminds me to stay focused on the game but have fun as well. Watching him play for the University of San Diego football team inspired me to take volleyball to the next level.

Cosy: What is your favorite thing about the game?
Bre: Competitiveness! Playing teams of high caliber brings out the best of my abilities.

Cosy: Where do you want to play for college? Already committed?
Bre: I am currently committed to the University of Cincinnati. Go Bearcats!

Cosy: What advice do you have for those just starting the game?
Bre: Some advice I would give to those just starting the game is ask your coach what skills you should concentrate on. Work hard and openly accept constructive criticism. Volleyball is a team sport, so be a team player. Strengthen your legs, core and endurance to become quicker and stronger. And, learn from the players who play the best at your position And, to help along the way, live by my family motto: “Give everything your best effort and believe in yourself.”

Read the previous installment of Cosy's blog – on playing when you're under the weather – here.
By Cosy Burnett

Cosy Burnett is a junior outside and opposite hitter at La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.) who also plays for Coast Volleyball Club in San Diego, Calif. Her high school team competed in the state finals for Division II last season and she has competed at nationals five times with her club teams. In the latest installment of her blog, she shares tips on how to play when you're not at your best.

La Costa Canyon volleyball
Cosy Burnett
During volleyball season, you try to take the best care of your body. You hydrate, eat healthy foods, train and condition. But what happens when you find yourself driving the porcelain bus at 2 in the morning right before game day?

Last weekend, this happened to me. It was 2 a.m., and the nausea was intense. The headache I thought I could sleep off had turned into a full-blown migraine. I hadn’t slept for the last hour and was writhing on my bathroom floor wondering if I had the flu. Since Excedrin was the only thing that could fade away my headache, I was up for the next two hours, loaded with caffeine. I was very aware that we had our first game, Day 2 of SoCal Regionals, in precisely 4 hours. What was I going to do? Should I bring a bucket for the sidelines? How was I going to play with absolutely no sleep? We fought hard the day before and won a very tough pool. We were all super stoked for playoffs the next day.

Well, my body somehow did it. We played six intense matches and I must have hit over 200 balls and jumped to celebrate another 300 times.

This week I want to blog about playing your best when you’re feeling your worst.

Focus on the moment
Don’t stress, and take each moment one at a time. After a long rally that didn’t go our way, I got back in serve receive. I really thought I was going to lose it and tried to breathe slow and deep. I just focused on the serve and what I could control about my own body. I made sure that I was communicating with my teammates about who had short, deep, etc., and – hey -- it worked. This time the plastic number flipped for us, and we won the set.

Gatorade is my friend
Drink water and make sure to replace your electrolytes if you have been sick. It’s amazing how much better you feel when you’re hydrated. Just take small sips and eat whatever bits of food you think you can keep down.

Mind over matter
My friend, Anne Carol Ingersoll, plays volleyball for Harvard, and she told me that the times when she had to compete after very little sleep, she tried so hard to compensate that she actually played better. It’s crazy what your body is capable of doing. We train hard, and our bodies respond when we push them.

Let your coach/teammates know what’s going on
Don’t hide your injuries or illness. It’s not fair to you or your team, and the last thing you want is to get them sick. Be honest, but let them know you are willing to do what it takes. Your coaches will know when it’s best to let you fight it out or take you out so you don’t worsen your condition. Your teammates will be there for you, helping you out by communicating even more and looking out for you.

I learned that I can push and perform at my best even when I’m feeling my worst. Listen to your body, and if you think you can push through, just go for it. Might as well, right? Jump your highest, run the farthest and dive the fastest. See what your body can do.

Trust me, it can pay off.

Read the previous installment of Cosy's blog – Parental Guidance required – here.
By Cosy Burnett

Cosy Burnett is a junior outside and opposite hitter at La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.) who also plays for Coast Volleyball Club in San Diego, Calif. Her high school team competed in the state finals for Division II last season and she has competed at nationals five times with her club teams. In the latest installment of her blog, she explains how to manage crazy volleyball parents.

La Costa Canyon volleyball
Cosy Burnett
“The score is wrong!”

All it takes is one parent to yell out that simple phrase and an avalanche of shouts, whistles, yells and arms frantically waving at the scorekeeper begins. And once it starts, they won’t give up until the score is checked and re-checked. The scorekeeper has 3.2 seconds to flip the plastic number before “Score!” is yelled. If she flips too fast and they don’t see it, that’s also a problem. And if she accidentally flips the wrong side, parents work themselves into a rabid frenzy.

We’ve all seen it; we’ve all experienced it -- the crazy volleyball parent.

Now, I consider myself lucky because my parents have to share their attention with my four other siblings, which has kept them in a certain state of sanity. Most of the time.

Usually parent “over-involvement” is humorous and harmless, but it can also cause problems with team chemistry and individual performance. Sports can bring out your best and worst. The same goes for parents. This week I thought I would write a blog on how to manage the crazy volleyball parent.

Stop negative cheering
The game from the parent’s perspective is always interesting.
-- Parent of the defensive player: “Why can’t we get a block? Girls, close the gap!”
-- Parent of the setter: “Come on, pass the ball. Let’s get a pass this time!”
-- Parent of the hitter: “Higher sets! Push it up!” Or my favorite, “SET! THE! MIDDLE!”
Guess what? We hear it, and it’s not helpful. We all need each other to make a play and we need support, not blame.

Make a contract
I was once on a club team that had some overzealous parents. During our team bonding night, we decided to make our parents sign a contract. We wanted to start things off right, so we came up with a list of rules. At the parent meeting, we had them agree to the following:
-- No talking to coaches about playing time -- that’s our job.
-- No coaching from the sidelines.
-- No trashing on teammates or coaches.
-- Only positive cheering allowed.
-- No yelling at the referees or line judges when they make a tough call.
-- No lectures in the car ride home on how we can improve.
The parents laughed, but we made our point and the stage was set for the season.

Let your parents know how you feel. It’s great that they’re passionate and involved, but you don’t want volleyball to be the core of your relationship. I always enjoyed a close relationship with my mom, but sometimes I just didn’t want to talk volleyball. She was so excited to talk about everything (the recruiting, the games, the plays), but once I let her know how I felt, she gave me my space. I need to “process” after a long tournament, and the only thing I want to discuss on the way home is which In-N-Out Burger we should stop at. I like to have “volleyball free” dinners at home and focus on other topics with my parents. It helps keep a well-balanced relationship, which I value.

Parents want us to be successful and reach our goals. They mean well; they love us. But sometimes we just have to lay down the law.

Read the previous installment of Cosy's blog – how to prepare for nationals – here.
By Cosy Burnett

Cosy Burnett is a junior outside and opposite hitter at La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.) who also plays for Coast Volleyball Club in San Diego, Calif. Her high school team competed in the state finals for Division II last season and she has competed at nationals five times with her club teams. In the latest installment of her blog, she shares five tips to prepare for nationals.

La Costa Canyon volleyball
Cosy Burnett
Club volleyball season is winding down. Those 14-hour tournament days of florescent lights, deafening noise, lost water bottles and fleece blankets are coming to an end. We may have a regional tournament left and then we have a whole month or so before nationals. Whether you’re headed to Columbus, Florida or Phoenix, it’s time to step up your game so you will perform at your peak during your season finale. This week I thought I would blog on how to prepare to get the most out of your experience on the national stage.

It’s normal to feel a little tired at this point of the season. Now is the time to refocus, make new goals and get excited about excelling. Talk to your coach about where she would like to see you at nationals and make specific goals to get there.

Be strong
Don’t get injured this last month -- you owe it to your team to be careful. Protect your ankles during long tournaments and avoid activities that could cause injuries, such as four-wheeling, skateboarding, or, in my case, riding a bike. Save it for your summer vacation. It’s also a great time to focus on your fitness routine. You’ll see results in your performance after a month of weight training … great timing! Stronger, fitter athletes perform better and are less likely to be injured.

Have fun
Team chemistry seems to be either at an all-time high or an all-time low at this point in the season. Either way, it’s important to reconnect with your teammates in a fun way. Have a team party, eat pizza and ice cream, and do anything that produces gut-splitting laughter. You will need good vibes going into nationals. Be positive and avoid negative talk about teammates or coaches. Don’t even listen to it. Spend your energy building up your teammates and supporting your coaches.

Keep organized
My volleyball shoes always seem to wear out exactly the week before nationals. I’m always rushing at the last minute to buy new shoes and then don’t have time to break them in. Evaluate your equipment needs early. I put my uniforms, good socks, extra spandex and everything else I intend to take in my backpack weeks before I leave so I won’t be crazy trying to find them an hour before the flight. My friend’s mom cleaned her closet and accidentally gave her jersey to Goodwill, and my friend had to scramble to borrow one from another team at the same club hours before her flight left.

Contact schools
Make sure to call or email your top 5-10 schools and let them know where you are playing. Find out if they will be there and invite them to watch your court. You’ve worked hard to get here; let them see how far you’ve come.

Playing at nationals is an amazing experience. It’s the highlight of the club season and it’s what your team has been working toward all year. Your efforts this last month can play a huge part in your personal performance and the success of your team.

Read the previous installment of Cosy's blog -- a Mother's Day special -- here.
By Cosy Burnett

Cosy Burnett is a junior outside and opposite hitter at La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.) who also plays for Coast Volleyball Club in San Diego, Calif. Her high school team competed in the state finals for Division II last season and she has competed at nationals five times with her club teams. In the latest installment of her blog, she explains how she decided to go to Brigham Young University.

When I was 12 years old, I decided it was time to make my entree into college recruiting. I looked up the phone number of the head coach of BYU (my dream school) on the Internet and called her and left a message.

It went something like this ...

Cosy Burnett
Courtesy of Cosy BurnettCosy Burnett poses next to the BYU logo on the back of her car.
“Hi, my name is Cosy Burnett, I’m 12, I’m 6-foot tall and play middle blocker for Wave 13-1s in San Diego. You don’t know me, but I’m going to go to BYU and play for you some day, so I thought it would be a great idea if we met. I’ll be at Junior Olympics in Dallas next week, so come by our court and watch our team win the gold.”

She didn’t come, as far as I know, but when I went to camp later that summer with hundreds of girls, the coach paused when she called my name and looked up and said, “So YOU are Cosy.”

As time progressed and other schools became interested in me, I opened my mind to a lot of different options and experiences. I was really lucky to have some great choices and flattered to have offers from the best schools and programs in the country -- schools that I would have never dreamed I could go to.

I had a coach from a top program give me some great advice my freshman year. He said to keep a list of my top five schools, and only five. If I liked a new school, I needed to evaluate it compared to my top five, and if I brought it up, I would need to drop one down. This helped me keep things simple and organized when recruiting got crazy. It takes a lot of time to investigate whether a school is a good fit, so make sure you spend that time on your top five.

Questions to ask yourself
-- Where would I want to be if I were injured and couldn’t play?
-- Does the school have the major I want, and will my practice schedule/coaches allow me to follow it?
-- Will a degree from this school help me reach my life goals?
-- What kind of support does the school give its athletes?
-- How do I fit with the team/coaches?
-- What will be my role on the team?
-- Can I see myself thrive and be happy there?

Time to commit
It’s hard to know when the time is right to commit. I tried to take my time and enjoy the process, but the pressure does heat up quickly. After one particular tournament, I was discussing the pros and cons of my top two schools with my parents. In the end, the deciding factor was going to a school where I would be the happiest. There are so many people who want to define success, but to me success equals happiness. In volleyball, in school and in life. I told my parents that I really wasn’t waiting for a better offer.

It was BYU … and apparently had always been.

Read the previous installment of Cosy's blog – what to expect on your campus visits – here.