Everyone has a passion. No matter the scenario, it takes motivation and practice to improve in that passion. For freshman Karyas Slaten, she has found her motivation in volleyball, more specifically travel volleyball.
Slaten has played travel volleyball for three years with two different club organizations, Aspire and Union. At Aspire, she played for the 14s and 15s team, and this year she is part of the 16s Regional White team. Teams are made based on the players’ ages. In travel, athletes can play with any age group older than them but they can never play down an age group.
Through her years of experience, Slaten has learned a lot from her coaches. In volleyball, only six people to play at a time. Each position is important to playing the game, and Slaten started out with back row passing and outside hitting. An outside hitter will hit on the top left side position at the net, and back row players typically do not play the front row. At Union, Slaten has been able to work on other positions she has not played in the past.
“This year, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, so I’m now playing middle hitter and blocker full time, and I’m loving it,” said Slaten.
In school volleyball, she has played the right side, or the hitting position on the top right side at the net. Those who are left handed have a greater advantage of playing right side. Although school volleyball can be a fun learning experience, Slaten learns a lot from playing travel volleyball.
“Travel has really helped me better understand the game in all aspects. It especially helps with improving basic skills, and I think my skills [have] improved a lot,” said Slaten.
Slaten typically gets home at 10:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. She practices for around two hours and then drives back to Paoli from Pine View High School. However, she manages her school work and volleyball so she can still succeed in both the classroom and on the court.
Goals are important to Slaten, so she has set some goals to work on and eventually complete. One of her goals is to learn and understand all aspects of the middle hitting position. Along with this, she hopes to successfully run a slide, which is a type of hit for the front row hitters.
“I do plan on always playing travel volleyball, definitely for Union. I would even love to travel to bigger cities with bigger tournaments or even join a sand volleyball team,” said Slaten.
One of her favorite things about travel is improving her skills and knowledge in preparation of her sophomore year of school volleyball. This allows her to work with different girls and a new coach to get their perspective on the game.
After Slaten graduates high school, she hopes to attend Indiana State University to play volleyball. Travel and high school volleyball inspire her to want to continue her passion as long as she can.
Story by Kinley Block