North Texas Daily

Summer volleyball program helps team captain improve in all areas

Summer volleyball program helps team captain improve in all areas

Summer volleyball program helps team captain improve in all areas
September 09
00:00 2013

John Lugo / Intern

After taking part in a USA Volleyball Women’s Senior A2 program over the summer, Mean Green senior volleyball captain Courtney Windham has used those experiences to become a better overall player.

The 6-foot-3-inch outside hitter said her overall view of the game has improved by playing in the A2 program – the highest level a player can participate in the USA volleyball program while still in college. Her performance helped her understand the sport from a new perspective, already contributing early on in the UNT volleyball season.

“My whole aspect of the game has changed. I’m more educated on how the game works, how certain shots works and who is my opponent, more than what am I doing and how am I playing,” Windham said. “I focus more on what the other people are doing against me. That way I can better myself.”

One of the biggest improvements has been her mental game, Windham said. She doesn’t let bad games or losses affect her in the next game and she’s more mentally prepared for her opponent.

Senior outside hitter Courtney Windham on the court during Friday night's tournament. - Photo by Aidan Barrett / Senior Staff Photographer

“I’m more confident when I play now,” Windham said. “I’m more aware of what’s happening on the other side of the court. I feel like I’ve gained a lot of knowledge.”

Head coach Andrew Palileo said he sees the drive in Windham and that her leadership is a great asset to the team. She sets a great example for everybody preparing for each match, he said.

“Courtney [Windham] has high expectations for herself and she demands it from her teammates,” Palileo said. “She’s a leader out there from the way she plays. Hopefully she can continue that and bring her teammates along to play at the level that we want everybody to play.”

Sophomore outside hitter Carnae Dillard, who also participated in the USA program on a lower level over the summer, said Windham’s focus on helping everybody grow as a team is showing this year. Much of that credit goes to the Palileo’s program.

“She’s more focused on the team and she is looking for all of us to come together and she’s not just focusing on herself,” Dillard said. “USA helped her with that and so did coach Palileo coming in, so she’s doing good.”

Windham said with her and the other team leaders on the same page now, the game will come much easier to her, making it easier to communicate with her teammates.

“As a captain, the team naturally follows the people on the court who have the best hitting percentages and the people who are team leaders naturally when it comes to playing. I think that shows in Carnae and Karissa [Flack] and Hanna [Forst] and I,” Windham said. “I was just a late bloomer in figuring out the whole aspect of the game and so now we’re all on the same page.”

Feature photo by Aidan Barrett / Senior Staff Photographer 

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