by MICHELE GUMABAO
The best piece of advice I ever got was, “When you feel like quitting, think of why you started.”
There were so many times I wanted to stop playing, stop coaching, stop volleyball because it got too intense, time consuming and stressful, but I always found myself thinking back to my tryouts in DLSU.
I just wanted to play, I wanted to become part of something bigger than me, I wanted to win and I wanted to become better in volleyball. I know I wasn’t born with natural athletic skills, I’m more stiff than normal in volleyball, and it took me a while to learn the skills and be mentally prepared to win and compete, but I held on to the quote, “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”. I always believed in the amount of work I put in and knowing that it will pay off someday just made me work ten times harder.
In my early years, other people would make the starting lineup ahead of me, but I didn’t take it negatively. In La Salle, nobody was in the lineup if you didn’t deserve it. We each earned and worked hard for our spot, and I know Coach Ramil (de Jesus) takes choosing the UAAP lineup very seriously. I took it as a challenge, I set my goals. I wanted to be part of the starting line up and I wanted it to happen soon… I didn’t wanna wait for coach to just give it, I wanted to earn it and I knew I could do that by working hard. I learned from my teammates and all our coaches and pushed myself to become better every day.
I was so scared when I played in my first year. It was a championship game and we were losing and I wanted to quit, right there and then! I questioned myself why I decided to play and all those things, but that moment was also the time I told myself I don’t want to feel that way again! The next time coach trusts me and believes in me enough to put me in, I know I have to be ready and I have to give my best. And that’s what I worked hard to do in every game. After our first championship, I kinda felt the pressure to do more. I wanted to continue the improvement, and I was just so thankful that my coaches really focused on teaching me. I was so thankful God led me to be a part of the team and that legacy because it taught me to be a better person and a better athlete.
When I train anyone, I want them to know I’ve been where they are – I know the feeling to be scared and to doubt yourself. I often looked to myself as inexperienced therefore not being able to compete as well as others but my dad always told me there’s nothing those others could do that I couldn’t. And I would just hold on to that whenever I doubted myself.
So don’t wait for others to convince you to start achieving your dreams, or to start working hard – decide for yourselves that you want to put in the work.
Click here to learn more from Coach Michele Gumabao and the Alaska Volleyball Powercamps, ongoing this summer!