By Victoria Navarro
From the libero to the setter, volleyball revolves around multiple techniques that ultimately allow teams to improve. Senior and outside hitter Nicole Deobler has dedicated the last seven years of her life honing her volleyball skills in order to achieve her goal of playing in college.
Before diving into volleyball, Deobler played soccer during her adolescent years. However, after her sister joined the Granada Hills Charter High School volleyball team, Deobler’s interest in volleyball increased, resulting in her starting volleyball. In sixth grade, she decided to play recreationally after constantly practicing with her sister in the backyard.
As a beginner, Deobler struggled with learning the necessary techniques for volleyball. For instance, when she initially picked up the sport, she failed to master serve receives, which is the formation on court created to prepare for the opponent’s serve. However, in order to improve, Deobler focused on individual work by going to the gym and finding private instructors to guide her.
“Don’t be afraid to go for it. Don’t regard anyone but yourself and focus on the technique first, then you can build off of that later on,” Deobler said.
Although mastering techniques is key to success, volleyball still revolves around teamwork and trust between the six players standing on the court. Developing that level of trust requires mutual respect between each team member. Often times, Deobler struggled with finding a team that fit her, considering the team’s leaders may have different intentions in terms of success.
“It’s all the about doing it for the team. That’s kind of the mindset you need to have to play at the next level if you want to play in college,” Deobler said.
Despite issues with finding a suitable team, the school’s varsity volleyball team gave her an opportunity to meet more student athletes who share the same goal in advancing to college-level volleyball.
“We all got along pretty well and we also played a couple of years together before. We also had good leadership on the team so it all came together,” Deobler said.
Deobler’s constant effort to strive in her sports career has led to her recruitment and scholarship at Siena College in New York where she will continue to play outside hitter. Compared to the time when she first started playing volleyball, Deobler has grown as a player and an individual, taking in different skills in terms of leadership, cooperation, and self-motivation, to ultimately allow her to go beyond the fine lines of the volleyball court.