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.
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.
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.