"Hard work beats talent when talent stops working hard." – Connor Richey
KYLA RICHEY | OUTSIDE | TEAM CANADA | #4 | 105 INTERNATIONAL MATCHES
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A SUMMER TO BREATHE
This past summer I took a chance: I decided to take a step back from the National Team and not compete. After every summer spent dedicated to the program, since my grade 10 year, it was not an easy decision for me to make. In the end, I knew in my heart that is was just something I just had to. I needed to step back, take a breath, and focus on my total health.
Since graduating university with a degree in Kinesiology, I have been very interested in Holistic Health. I believe that as a professional and high performance athlete, we have to be "firing on all cylinders" and that total-body health is so important. Our physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional realms all need to be focused on in order to have success. Even though I believe this totally, I was trying to operate on about 50% of my potential. The last three years have been a huge struggle for me, trying to hold my head above water and cope (or not cope) with the loss of my brother, and somehow find the energy, strength, and mental capacity to be in the gym for over six hours a day. I started to recognize that I was hitting my emotional-rock bottom and I needed to make a change. Ultimately, that is what triggered my decision to step back from the National Team this past summer.
It was hard. At times I struggled more than others. However, with this time I had I was able to really take a much needed break and give myself the opportunity to explore some alternate means of health. I was also given the opportunity to coach Team BC which was so much fun! I am nowhere near "healed" of my grief of losing my brother, and I don't think I ever will be, but I am proud of myself for taking some steps forward.
At this time, my sights are set on the 2020 Olympic Games. It was devastating for me in January when our team did not advance out of our Olympic Qualifier. Had we beat Puerto Rico, we would have had the opportunity to host a couple African teams in the next Qualifier where our chances of qualifying would have been extremely high. My heart still hurts for this missed opportunity as I was so sure that this group was going to do it. However, our National Team Centre moves from Winnipeg to Richmond, BC in the summer of 2017 and I believe with this "reboot" of the system, we are going to have a lot of success.
Being so close to home (in Richmond) and just not feeling like my career is done, I will be committing to another Olympic Cycle. Having taken the summer off, I am fully energized and motivated to take on my next professional adventure in Athens, Greece (with teammate Marisa Field), and then come back to BC ready to lead a new group of athletes to the success we have been working so hard and long for. I know our National Team future is bright!
A new blog post about my summer off can be found on VolleyVerse.com or a more detailed description here on my blog.
a season in baku: complete
Whewffff. That was an experience. I hadn't really known what to expect going into my season in Azerbaijan, and I guess that was a good thing. I ended up signing my contract in the fall when I was down competing with our National Team at the 2015 NORCECA Championships in Morelia, Mexico, where we ended up qualifying for our Zone Olympic Qualifier in January 2016.
I went into this season with a pretty open mind and I think that helped me battle some of the curveballs that were thrown at us multiple times a week.
We knew our next-day practice schedule after our evening practice, games would also be cancelled and (possibly) rescheduled for no real reason, with no real notice. We had a "volley hotel" within our gym complex which we were required to stay at in-between sessions. This made for some extremely long days as we left our apartments first thing in the morning and weren't dropped off at home until usually after 8pm.
However, playing in the CEV championships was an amazing experience. We ended up losing to Krasnodar, Russia in the finals but getting there was an adventure - we were able to travel to a different country every month to play, which I loved. Especially because all of the teams in Azerbaijan were contained in Baku, so this was my way of fulfilling my travel bug needs!
Actually getting to Baku at the beginning of the season was a huge struggle and you can read about that here. Let's just say that a weekend trip to Tbilisi, Georgia wasn't in the original itinerary. My latest post on how the season finished up can also be found up on the blog here.
Playing overseas is nothing short of exciting, that's for sure. I think that I am "blessed" with finding myself in some pretty ridiculous situations but I guess that just leads to great stories! You're welcome... and thanks for following along!!
Wrapping up '15 summer
National Team is coming to a close for the summer. Sorry I have been a bit non-existent in the blog category. Stay tuned for a summer recap in the next couple weeks as well as two Meet Your Team features that I am very excited to write.
Thanks everyone for your continued support as we run around the globe representing our country.
We were especially thankful to the fans that supported us before / during / after the Pan Am Games in Toronto. Your love means the world to us!
The end of this month we are off to Mexico for the NORCECA Championship tournament where we will have to capture a top four finish in order to qualify for the Olympic Qualifiers that are currently scheduled in January. Our pool is U.S.A, Cuba, Canada, and Costa Rica. It's been a long summer but we're confident that we're going to find our stride and have a lot of success at this tournament; a great way to finish off the summer.
& In case you missed it, I had the privilege of being featured in the online magazine PowHERhouse which is all about women with a social mission and bringing strong women together. You can check out the full story here and see what I have to say on a wide variety of questions!
Team Canada 2014 is complete & professional seasons abroad are starting up!
Team Canada 2014 season has officially finished up! Check out the blog for an update on World Championships and a mini recap of each game. Unfortunately we were not able to qualify for the second round but we still got a lot of quality game experience within that first week. We had some awesome parents (special shout-out to my wonderful Mom & Dad) who came all the way over from Canada to create the best fan club possible. It was so awesome looking into the stands and seeing all of the Canadian flags waving around. A big thank you to those of you who supported us from home as well.
After every World Championships, the international rankings get updated. We just found out that our team moved up five spots and are now currently ranked 16th in the world. These world rankings are based on points that teams gain at major tournaments such as World Championships and Grand Prix.
Thanks for your interest. If you have any questions, ask away!