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July 23, 2023

OAK PERFORMANCE RADIO: Episode 103: Claire Ammeraal - Central Michigan Volleyball

Welcome to Oak Performance Radio, hosted by Adam Lane! In this episode, join us as we chat with Claire Ammeraal, a talented volleyball player from Central Michigan and the greater Madison Area. Claire shares her journey as a one-hit wonder, significantly impacting her 18th year playing for VCU United. She modestly brushes off her accomplishments, but her skills as a setter and towering presence on the court speak for themselves.


Tune in to gain insights into Claire's volleyball career, her experiences as a player, and the challenges she has overcome.

1:20 Who Claire is and why she's a big deal.

5:43 When they had games and when they didn't have games.

12:01 Prioritizing classes in college.

14:16 The importance of strength training

18:59 The importance of nutrition.

23:43 Leg strength and running speed.

29:39 Claire talks about burnout and how to overcome it.

32:37 Make friends with other athletes

37:37 Coaching Volleyball.

43:02 One of the best gymnasts in the conference.

Many thanks to POWER ATHLETE for sponsoring this episode of OAK PERFORMANCE RADIO!POWER ATHLETE is the premier resource for training athletes, educating coaches, and nutrition!POWER ATHLETE aims to provide world-class solutions for real-world athletes & coaches.

POWER ATHLETE has worked with thousands of athletes around the globe and has taken them to the highest levels of performance!

Check them out at: Power Athlete

And ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to another episode of Oak Performance Radio. I'm your host Adam Lane with me today from central Michigan and the greater Madison area. Yes. Ms. Claire Amaral. How is everybody doing? Claire, thanks for joining us. It's a hot day. Very. You drove all the way down from Madison. Yes. It's hot up there too. It's very hot up there. But you came here because you thought where else would I rather be? Exactly.

than Loves Park, Illinois on a Tuesday. You know, it's just beautiful here. It is. Absolutely gorgeous. Sun is shining. Always. Yes, birds are chirping. It's my second favorite city beside Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Is it? Something like that. Look at that. It's on there. There we go. At least top 10. You know. 15. 10, 20. 42. Something like that. So Claire, for the tens of people that listen to the show, who might not know who you are and why you're such a big deal, give the people.

a taste of who Claire Amaral is and why you're such a big deal. That is a great question. Well, I, my name is Claire Amaral. I play at Central Michigan for volleyball and I played at VCU United for my last year, my 18th year. Only one. Yes, I know. One hit wonder. Yes, there you go. One and done. But I don't know. I wouldn't say I'm much of a big deal. I just, you know, play volleyball. You play volleyball? That's all really. You're a setter? Yes, I'm a setter. I'm about six.

I would say on the roster they have me a 6'1", but you know, I could always opt out a little bit. Yes, you put on shoes. Yeah, exactly. Big shoes. Once you put on shoes, it's like a couple inches higher. And they're supposed to give you a couple inches on the roster anyway. To intimidate the other team. Exactly. So I guess they just want to like psych them out and be like, oh, she's only 6'1", and then I show up and I'm like 6'2". And then they watch you turn on a ball. Oh my god, no. And just, gosh. Yeah, that's the main thing. Tall, left-handed setter, that's...

helpful. That's my game right there. Yeah. That's about it. So you, I don't, I don't believe that. So you just finished your freshman year. Yes. Central Michigan. Okay. Fun fact, we were traveling at the same time. Yes. In September, I was coming back from Austin. You were coming back from

beautiful North Dakota. Oh, beautiful North Dakota. And our cross randomly passed in O'Hare. Yes. And just like, I'm walking one way, Claire's walking another way. It's like, oh, that's Adam. I saw a bunch of Central Michigan, and I didn't know what sport this was. Right. Made sense it was volleyball. Because how could you tell? Why would the basketball team be, there's a bunch of tall kids, like it makes sense that the basketball team wasn't traveling, I should put this together. And then I hear Adam. Like, oh my God. Which was fun.

Yeah, I never expect to see people that I know in an airport. Yes, I prefer not to see people I know. I have my hair out and bun. Yeah, exactly. I may or may not have brushed my teeth that morning. It was so bad. Yeah, I don't like seeing people at the airport. I don't like airports in general. No, flying, travel. Not my favorite. So Clay, you went through this whole thing. Played some club volleyball previous. Yes. Played the last year here. Did some fun strength conditioning stuff. Just going to put words in your mouth.

You already committed to central Michigan, correct? Before coming here? Before coming here. Okay, that's fine. And then just finished the first year here. Yay, Rob. Lot of travel with that. Yeah. We have a lot of kids. If I were to ask the kids that are, we have 44 minutes until kids start coming in the door. If I were to start to ask them, hey, would you like to play sport in college? Hey, would you like to play sport in college? I don't care if it's our football guys or basketball, volleyball, soccer, whatever. They're.

A lot of them would be, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah. But you're doing it. What have you learned over this last year? Well, it is a lot busier than one would expect. It's a lot different than high school because high school you have like all your classes and the whole seven hour day. And then you just go to practice later on, three days a week maybe, a little bit more. We had a pretty busy 18 schedule, but. You guys did. Like college it's.

classes every day, traveling every day, you gotta keep track of your own classes. Like the teachers, like Central Mission's a little bit smaller, it's not like super big, so you kinda know your teachers a little bit, but it's definitely not as personal with them, so you have to make sure that you introduce yourself to the teachers so that they know your travel schedule and it makes it a whole lot easier. But it's very busy. Gotcha. Let's talk travel schedule really quick. Just so, because if you say the word busy, I don't know if everybody can wrap their head around what that means.

When did you guys have games? We mostly had games like either Friday, Saturday, or Thursday, Friday. So it's just kind of like that Thursday, Friday, you're usually leaving and then you don't get back till Saturday night. And we always drove so we would get back kind of like 2 a.m. on Sunday morning. That was kind of our normal get back time. And then we had like two games on Wednesdays I think. But that was for conference, like regular season, pre-season, that was just tournament every weekend. So it was kind of the same.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday thing. That one was preseason gets real busy. Yeah. So if you play Friday, Saturday and pick a team, you play Toledo. Do you play them both back to back days? Yes. That's the weird thing about ours is we play them once, like Friday night and then once like Saturday-ish, or maybe Thursday, Friday. But we play them twice in a row. Gotcha. Because I think COVID changed that. Yeah. Because it used to be like, oh, you play this team and then this team in the same weekend. Then you play them at their place. But now it's just. Yeah.

It's a little less travel. Yes, I guess with that. Yeah, it actually yeah. Yeah, I don't mind it that much. So Did you did you split many of those games or we actually split with Toledo? Did you? Um, I don't know. I don't think there was a lot of splitting. I think it was mostly like either one team's gonna get it I think we split like maybe Three or four Yeah, I don't know. I could see playing a team

and then coming back to them, you know, three, four, five weeks later and having, yeah, prepared for them differently. Yeah, exactly. But you have 24 hours to prepare. You don't really have much. Like we do little scouting things in the room before, but you know, it's just like, okay, well they did that yesterday. I don't know what they're going to do today. You know how that middle blocker just destroyed you? Try not to have her do that again. Not to let that happen again. I don't know. Interesting. Yeah. Interesting. So you would, um, so let's, so if we played Toledo on a Friday night, okay, when do you leave? When do we leave? Usually.

We usually would go early so that we're not traveling on the game day. Gotcha. But that kind of depended on how far away it was. Yeah. So for like pre-season stuff and like the far, further away ones are like six hours-ish, we would usually leave Thursday, like afternoon. And be in a bus for? Very long time. Yeah. Yes. Fun. Yeah.

It was, you know. So big coach bus. Yes. OK. Kind of comfortable. It was a nice bus. Yeah. There's nothing bad about it. That's good. You guys can spread out. Yeah. For the most part. Yeah. There you go. Exactly. So travel on Thursday. So that means if you have Thursday classes, you're not going to Thursday classes. Yes. Usually, unless you got Thursday morning classes, then you could maybe get in. But Friday classes, no. OK. Never. Gotcha. I don't think I went to a single. I had a Friday class. And I don't think I went to a single one. Oh, wow. Yeah. It was bad.

So how, so if you're home though, you're able to make it to those classes. It depends on what time it's at. Cause usually the games are like Friday. So we would usually start like team stuff, like pregame meal at like one or two. Oh. And then we'd start rolling into things. Gotcha. Depending on when you're- So you have a Friday afternoon class, it's donezo. Exactly. Okay. So I mean, unless you wanna just like- What Friday class did you have?

Well, it was my biology class that was like Monday, Wednesday, Friday. And so I just never went to the Friday ones. Gotcha. But there's like presentations where you had to like be on it. And so I would just do it on the bus and it would be like counted for my attendance. So. Got you worked out in the end. Did you actually watch the presentations or did you just, okay. There was no point in doing that. There was like a couple of questions in the beginning and then I'll leave. I thought you're going to be.

brutally, you know, I just said yes, and I held on every single word because I love biology and want to be pre-med and... I would watch the presentations eventually, but Friday, like I would be in the locker room like right before our game and I was like, guys, I need to do my presentation. Like this is for my attendance points. And so I'd just be sitting on the floor like looking at the presentation really quick and then, you know, go play a volleyball game. Video is off because that's what kids do these days. You don't put your own video on. There was no like video. Oh, there's no video. It's just like an interactive presentation.

So they couldn't see me there. I just had to answer a couple questions. No, no. Okay, gotcha. So, you were supposed to be there in person, but loopholes. Yes. Yes, made it work. Okay. So I don't know if people realize the amount of travel that goes on. We've had other great volleyball players, not quite to your caliber, but Ali Holland from Penn State, and who's their middle, oh my gosh, who's the Texas girl that we had on?

I'm forgetting your name. This is terrible. But they said the same stuff in the way of.

This is killing me, this is terrible. I'm gonna just stop the video, come back to it. But saying the same stuff in the way of, you know, how that schedule is such a big deal. If you don't stay on it. And they will say, as freshmen, they learned a ton. Like, just, they made a few mistakes and procrastinated some things. Oh, get to it later, get to it later. And then they're like. You never get to it, yeah. My Sundays would be my like, because you have to get study table hours. Like, we would have to get like six hours a week. So I would just do.

all six hours on Sunday, because that's the one day that we didn't have anything. And so that wasn't really much of an off day. So that schedule didn't really work out very well. But I mean, it's just like, one thing with the long bus rides, that's a really good time to get homework done. That's when I would do most of my stuff so that I wouldn't fall behind, since like you're gonna be sitting there doing nothing for six hours, might as well do a little bit something useful. But I was never a huge fan of.

doing everything on Sunday. Did you mess up at any point? Did you like, oh my gosh, my mom's gonna kill me? Honestly? No, you did good? In the fall, it wasn't too bad. I don't think I had any late or missing assignments. And my teachers are pretty like, cool about it. Like they would say in the syllabus, like, oh, any late work, that doesn't count. But I'd just be like, hey, I was at a game, can I? And they'd be like, okay. They were understanding of it? Yeah. So that was good. That was nice of them. Molly Phillips was her name. Molly, I'm so sorry. If you're listening to the show, Molly, sorry.

just have a lot of guests, a lot of people. But I think that's the thing that people don't understand with, like, if you're gonna prioritize, like, I'm assuming you're getting a really cool experience at Central Michigan. They're like, there are so many athletes that their career's done, which is not terrible, it's not the worst thing. You can be a nerp, narp, and just go to college, and you probably had those friends who would just go to college. They're just there.

to have a good time, get some education. Yes, and it's a good life. Exactly. That's great. They don't have to travel every weekend. No, yes. They come and do six hours away. But you know, and they also didn't have to play all the club stuff and do the training and you know, the conditioning piece and you know, now we have to travel and then they don't have to come, you know, drive an hour plus. Right. Multiple days a week in which to, you know, come to Love's Park and train. But you are, and I'm assuming you're, you know.

we're enjoying this experience and because it's cool because not many people get this experience. What else have we learned from this? What have we learned from VC United? No. Or for college. College. From college. Who we talk about VC enough. Yeah. I mean, from college, the main things that I learned is just always try to get ahead. Like if you're ahead, then you're fine. Like I would try to do.

Like the classes usually open up a week before the semester starts. So I would just do everything available in the shell. Like the first week I would have done before the class even started. Like one class I had was an eight week class. Like just a little one credit easy one. And it opened up a week before the actual start date. And I did the whole class before it even started. And just to get it out of the way. Yeah, look at you. That just saved me so much time. Instead of having to worry about like eight classes, I only had to worry about seven. Yeah. Exactly.

Well, there you go. It's just, I mean, that one was a real easy class. You just had to fill out like a little workbook thing. Yeah. It was super easy, but. OK. Staying on top of things is very, very important.

So along with the, you know, getting ahead of stuff, because there were a lot of distractions in college. Yes, a lot. There's obviously, you know, the strength training piece, which obviously you got here, but it was pretty new to you initially, because you really didn't do a lot of that previous. Not a big weightlifter, if that's surprising to some people. No, that's, if you're watching the video right now, you can see, yes. If you're watching the video, you can see these, I mean, I need a license to carry around these things, but you know.

The question is, has Claire gotten tickets yet? To the to the gun show. gun jokes. No, so like, because that's the part of you that I am super excited for because you coming to us not having really strength training much. And for you to be as good as what you what you were coming in, I think was really, really impressive. I was the opposite. And my freshman year in football

got benched and I was playing behind and then my parents would come to games and I'd be sitting on the bench because I legitimately was not as good as the people ahead of me and that pissed me off to no end and in turn I found the weight room hard after my freshman year of football and you know that was 30 years ago so like it like I had to do that now I'm five nine and three quarters you know yeah

trying to play some offensive defensive line for a very average, you know, high school football team. You, six, two. Yeah, it helps a little bit. There are different things going on here, Claire. You got Delta's slightly better hand in genetics here. But, you know, so for that, like integrating the strength training piece, which I want to come back to in a second, I really think your ceiling is very high. Like, I don't think you're, I think you're going to continue to get better and better and better every single year. I see kids kind of plateau out, you know.

I think there's more in your system. Hopefully. We'll see. You keep doing what you're doing. So we're talking before we hit record here in the way of all the other distractions going on and you said you love your sleep. Yes. Well, I learned how important it was. I didn't love it, love it in the beginning. In fall I was pretty good at it, but spring we had the 6 to 10 a.m. block. Like we would start lifting at 6 and then we'd have a practice.

and I would do homework till two or three in the morning. Oh. And then I'd have class all day. And it just was not, it did not work out very well. Wow. Is that a five day a week thing? Yes. Oh. Yeah. Volleyball and lifting four days a week. Sorry, five days a week, four hours a day. Yeah. Well, we would have, we didn't have any lifting or practice on Wednesdays. Because we would have this breakfast club thing. It was like a team bonding thing. Still had to wake up.

And that was the hard part. Did not like that. Because waking is not sleeping. No, it is not. I needed that sleep. Yeah. But the, so did you get better at it? You got better at it. Yes, a little bit. Towards the end. OK. It took a little while. After falling asleep in a couple of classes, I was like, this is getting out of hand. Yeah. But we figured it out. So when you're playing classes, second semester classes, you knew in advance that you were going to have practice training stuff.

from six to 10, so if you have a class, schedule it for after 10. Yes. Okay. Gotcha. And I had a class at 10 a.m. every day. Okay. So that did not work out either. Were you late? Most of the time, I made it there right at 10. Okay. But some days, it was a little, it was a very quick turnaround. Gotcha. And I did not get to change or shower or anything. Gotcha. So you're smelly. They definitely did not like me. Sitting in class. Yeah. Claire, just go sit in the corner. Exactly. Nobody wants to smell you. Exactly. Okay.

And I had to have that class and then another class and then another class and then I'd be done. Gotcha. And so it was, it was rough. So terrible question. Did you have to stay up that late in which to get stuff done or did you? No, not at all. There was no reason for me to do that. So we procrastinated a little bit. A lot of it. Okay. Because that was because in the fall I was on top of things. I was like, this is great. This is easy. And then in the spring I was like, I got all the time in the world.

You know, we don't have any games until spring season, and I'll be good, and that was not good at all. Gotcha. You stayed healthy. Yes. Okay, did you get sick at all, anything like that? I don't think, oh, there was one time where everybody on our team got something, but it passed over, it wasn't that bad. Gotcha. Actual sickness, not something that you brought on yourself? Yeah, no, I think I was good. Okay. It worked out. I've seen the athletes burn their candle at both ends because they're trying to do it, and then just whoop.

Yeah, I mean they get exhausted and yeah, you know, I mean it was I wouldn't say it was close but you know, it was sometimes where it was like, okay So we learned some things. Yes. Okay, sleep's important. Yes. Look at that. You heard it here first Yeah, sleep is very important nutrition wise nutrition what Eating well, you know unpopular opinion. I really liked our cafeteria

Unpopular opinion. Yeah, nobody else really liked it. No, oh, I hate this place like oh, I don't want to eat here And I was like this place is great But maybe that's because sometimes I would pick like the chicken tenders and fries and stuff instead of like the salad that they're getting But I would have salad every so often. Okay, you know not again. It's about balance. Yes Yes, something like that. Are you?

Are you purposeful with the nutrition at all? Or are you more just like, oh, those sound good, let's eat this. Hey, this sounds good, let's eat this. It depends on the day. Like I would have like weeks where I was like, I'm gonna get on that, I'm gonna be really nutritional this week. And then there's some weeks where I was like, oh God, practice was hard, I just need to eat something. Yeah, yeah. So, it depended on the week, but for the most part, I had some purpose there. Yeah. Well, I think so much, I mean, you're doing so much. Yes. Like,

I don't think people understand how.

tough volleyball practice can be. Yeah. The jump, the landing, the cutting, the jump, the land, the cutting. It's a hard combination of being very explosive and anaerobic, lifting-wise. You don't jump a little. You jump as hard and as high as you can every single time you go up there. Exactly. Along with then, when you land, you just don't land. Now you're moving, transitioning, and doing whatever it is that you have to do.

being a setter, you're all over a court, depending on how passing's going. And it's not easy, obviously. It's a very challenging operation here. Looking at it from a workout perspective, it's a heck of a workout. It's getting that cardio. And a couple of my teammates have the little Apple Watch thing so I can track it. Oh, I bet. I bet they're off the charts. I think at that point, I think that's kind of why you're able to, you know.

You can eat the chicken tenders with the gluten breading and be fine. Yeah. And that not be a big thing. Right. You know, if you're my mom and, you know, sitting at home and, you know, maybe going for a walk around the block at 77 years old, not so good. Yeah. Do you look at protein stuff at all? Protein intake or you just, you just eat, Claire. You don't seem to have a lot of stress in your life. You just seem to go with the flow. I go with it. I mean, sometimes I'm like, I should.

eat more protein. That would be good, but you know, I don't have like any tracking after anything. Central Michigan do much in the way of helping with the nutrition piece, protein shakes, like after training or after games or workouts or anything like that. We have like stuff in our weight room, like they, there's like a protein, it's like whey protein and something like that. I don't know. I don't drink that. So that looks gross, but they have like the little protein milks and stuff. Okay. Like for you in a bottle.

Yeah, and they have orange juice. That's the stuff that I like. That's what I drink the most is that orange juice. Oh, it's so good. And it's like cold too. The orange juice is the best one. Cold orange juice, look at that. My breakfast would be orange juice and the Belvita breakfast, like the biscuits. I don't know how to describe them, but the blueberry ones or the cinnamon sugar ones. But that's just sometimes when I was running late and an apple to balance it out. There you go. You need fruit, the fiber. It's important. Exactly, yeah.

So they had these protein shakes and you're just like, yeah, I'm good. I would try to make myself drink them sometimes, but I do not like the taste of them. Didn't sit well with you? Okay, yeah. No, I would, protein I got more from like the chicken and like stuff that they would have in the cab sometimes. Not the chicken tenders, like real chicken. Yeah. And like, we would go out to eat.

every soft and for pregame meals and they would like make sure we're not ordering anything bad like they would cut down the menu to just the oh yeah healthy stuff just the stuff that's not gonna be it's like you don't want to eat terrible things right before the game and stuff so you know it wasn't too bad but yeah room for improvement there we go cool if you're to look back and talk to

Say four years ago, freshman Claire. Yes. Little high school freshman Claire. Oh, god. Yeah. Yeah, that was a rough time. And give her some advice about where you currently are. Like any things you would have done differently. Hit the weight room. I would have lifted for like once, one time at least, because I did not lift at all. It took a while for me to grow into the 6'2". Yeah.

Yeah, if I started lifting, maybe I would have gotten a little something going, but just that would be the main thing. Just lift a little bit. Yeah. Maybe run speed going. I don't know. Your speed's fine. Can I say that for volleyball? I don't know. I don't know what the average volleyball speed is. I feel like you're able to get to where you need to be. Yeah. The long legs help. Yeah. Kind of reaching for it. But but the strength piece being a thing. Yeah. It still is a thing within your game.

if, and I asked this arrogantly, not being, not arrogantly, ignorantly, not being a volleyball coach, being a strength guy, do you see yourself, like if you were to get, we kind of talked about this yesterday in the gym, if you were to get a little bit stronger, not deadlifting 600 pounds strong, but like, you know, more than what you are, do you see that transferring and helping your game in specific ways? I do, yes. Cause like with,

in multiple ways, because one, jumping higher. That's what I would want. That would be like the main thing is training the legs. They just like jump higher, run faster, because that would be good for hitting, for serving, for blocking, setting kind of depends on whether or not I'm doing a little over on two thing and then like just shoulder and arm strength to hit harder, to set the ball further. Passing, you know, that's just kind of leg strength, you know, being fast. But like just everything would be.

It would be great if I just had a little more strength in some places. Claire, I don't think you're that far off. I'm excited that again, you have found this. It's going well. I wish we had you longer because you go back. Saturday. Oh, my gosh. Yeah. I've got less than a week left and I have not started backing. Oh, geez. My funny story when I had to come home from college, like after this spring is over, I didn't start backing until like

night before I was supposed to leave. And so I ended up packing from like 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. and I did not sleep that night because I just kept putting it off. OK. It was the end of the year. I was like, I can't do this. Claire, I'm seeing a theme here with the Crest Nation. Yes. But that was just a one time thing. Hmm. And then this time I'm going to start packing maybe today. Probably not today, maybe tomorrow. So so today is June 20th.

20th. You go back on the 24th. You've been home since? When did I get home? May 9th, I want to say. Okay. Gotcha. So it was a pretty good. Six-ish weeks. Yeah. Pretty good little break. Gotcha. And then we're going back, we're going right, we're going back for volleyball. Yes. Gotcha. Okay. Any summer class with that or just volleyball? I have three summer classes right now. Oh geez. Look at you. And two of them are ending this week. Yay. So I got to get that done with.

And then one of them goes all the way till like August-ish. So that'll be fun. But it's in English class. I do not like English. I hate English. Stupid words. It's so stupid. And it's like for credit, too. So it's just, it's weird. But I'm fine with it, you know? English. Just got to get it over with. Because your major is? Biology. Here we go. Yes. Want to go pre? Not very English. Want to go pre-med? That's the plan, hopefully. Dr. Amaral. Yes. One day, maybe. That'd be. We'll see. Yeah.

It's a pretty big goal. There you go. I got some backup plans. Would you want to own a gym? Oh, that'd be fun. I'll give you a good price. Maybe I'll take it from that. I don't have much experience to work with, but. It'd be fine. It'd be cool to just say I own a gym. It'd be fine. People, people, people. It'd be cool. You would think that, wouldn't you? You would think. Just that. Just be that easy. Anything, clear anything else. I want, I want.

athletes to be able to listen to this. And again, it's funny because Kylie Schulz's group that just graduated here, we had them, we started them when they were in seventh grade. So, so many of these kids we had for six years, five years. It is so interesting to see them from little 12 year olds that know nothing about anything. Right. You know, 12, 13, like they shouldn't even playing club volleyball. They can barely run and not trip over their own feet at this point.

They're playing seven months of volleyball, you know, just in club a year. Like it's, um, but to see where they've, they matured too. And, you know, I wish we could say we, we held on to every single athlete with this, you know, kids come and go and stuff like that. And, um, kids who even start off in lower level programs, you know, work their way up and, you know, um, but, and then they, you know, many, many get to that college level, which is cool, really cool experience you're in, you're enduring it. Any, any words of wisdom?

You want would want to embark, impart, give. I just say like really use your summers wisely. Like that first summer before you get there, if they send you the workout plan, like you're going to want to do it. So you don't come in there and look stupid when everybody's all like in shape. And you're like, oh, my God, this is so hard. But every single summer, like it's just a great time to like get super strong. Like you don't have any.

volleyball practices every day. And for the younger girls, like going to camps and stuff, like college camps to get that experience beforehand so it's not so new when you get there. And it's just, you know, using the summers is really helpful. That's the main thing that I would give advice on. But you know. Because a lot of people would back off during that time. They would be like, oh, this is my break. Like I've done so much during the year, but like you're gonna wish that you did stuff over the summer if you just like take a break and then try to go back and do nothing.

How have you found balance with, because I've seen kids that they do that, and they push and they push and they push and they push, they never take their foot off the accelerator, and then they get burnt out. And then they get to the point where I'm just, I guess this is fucked up. Yeah, exactly, no, yeah. But you're obviously still crazy passionate about it. I'm still doing pretty good. You just gotta find, you gotta remember why you're playing.

the game. Like if you're just doing it to do it, like if you're like, oh, I need to do this to sustain shape. Like I need to just be good. Like I need to get playing time, whatever. But if you're doing it just for like the love of doing it, like if you're showing up to practice every day and you're like this, I love my team. I want us to win. Like we have big goals and I know we can do it. Like when you have passion behind it, then that's when things start going well. And like with school too, like you have to be like, I'm working for this degree. Like I have goals after school, so I need to work now.

so that I can have fun later. And this is like, just enjoy the process and don't focus so much on, you know, the end results, winning, losing, all that fun stuff. So you say that. Yes. Enjoy the process. It's easier said than done. And then you're on a six hour bus trip, you know, or you're flying to North Dakota. You know, you get texts from your, you know, NARP friends that, you know, hey, we're doing this.

You're like sounds like fun. I need to go to bed early, you know, like is that Hey, I want to see How hard is that? I mean It sounds really stinking hard Claire. It does sound hard but Being quite honest like usually your closest friends are your teammates. Like if you

make friends. It doesn't have to be with all your teammates. Obviously, you're not going to be best friends with all of them. I mean, I like most of my teammates, like all of them pretty much. Like, they're all really good group of people. But if you just- And they like you. I hope so. I don't know. I don't know. But if you just like, like I don't, I didn't have too many like NARP friends. It just didn't cross paths. Yeah. It didn't cross paths that much. Like you're just kind of in your sports. We had all athlete dorms. So I was more friends with all the other athletes. That's helpful. Yes.

It's so fun to be friends with the softball team. We had a lacrosse team, soccer team. It's really nice to be friends with them because they're also traveling. And you get kind of the half and half. So they understand. So I didn't have a whole bunch of narves. You're like, oh, we're doing this and this and this. I was like, oh, I don't really care. You're traveling too. You're doing the, okay. But usually you're best friends with your volleyball team and so you're gonna make the six hours of the bus ride a little more fun. Like usually the first hour is just kind of the quiet, like sleeping or doing homework.

they'll start singing acapella in the back and you're just like, okay, this is fun. So yeah, it helps to befriend your volleyball teammates and then obviously if you wanna have NARP friends, that's cool, that's fine by me, but making friends with other athletes is a lot of fun because then you just get to see the different perspectives and then you have people that'll come to your games and then you get to go to their games. So it works out. That's a good piece of advice. Make friends with other athletes. There we go. Make friends.

Make friends is always fun. You heard it here first. Make friends and you will be happier probably. Well I think that's, did you have lacrosse friends? Yes. Lacrosse is a cool sport. I love lacrosse and they won the conference. Look at that. Mm-hmm. And so we got to be, well I don't think we got to go to the conference game because it was at someone else's thing but we went to their last game and they beat some by like 20 points. Oh geez. It's fast moving. Yeah. It's like soccer combined with. Yeah with like hockey. Yeah.

We have a field hockey team actually. Yeah, I just, I don't know. Isn't that weird? Yeah, which is different than lacrosse, which I thought they were the same thing. Yeah, I thought they were too. Not the same thing. But. Huh. I went to both of those games. Did volleyball win the conference? No, we got third. How do we look like next year? We're looking pretty good. Yeah? Hopefully things are looking up. I don't know, we got, we lost three seniors who were starters getting zero freshmen this year, which is weird. Wow. But we got four transfers I think.

One of them came last spring, like a middle from Michigan State. And then we have like a liberal from Michigan State. Yeah. Oh, wow. Mm hmm. She's like six, three. And then we got a middle from Clemson, who's also six, three. And then we got libero from Ferris State. And she's super nice and hands Lena. And then we got, oh, an outside from Nichols State. OK, so we've got like instead of a freshman class, we're kind of using that transfer portal since it's like the last year of covid years, I think. Yeah. So.

A whole bunch of people are up in there. So who knows how it's gonna go. But we looked pretty good this spring season. Good. Is there... See now you got me thinking, Claire. I'm gonna dig real and then we'll eventually come back. It's interesting, the transfer portal has grown so much and has become such a big thing. And I think there are pros and cons of it in the sense of, I still go with it where I wish...

kids would make commitments and not get to a school and be like, oh, coach didn't play me, this is dumb. Yeah. Blah, blah, I'm transferring and, Right. But there's also, I mean, we had, we've had kids here who they commit to a school and then their coach finds a new job and they were going to this school, I mean, for a few different reasons, but a lot because of the coach, they liked the coach, they bonded with the coach, and now the coach isn't there, so like, well, why would you wanna go to this? There's a brand new coach.

They didn't recruit you. Yeah. You know, and so it's like, why would I be? If they don't want to show up, and then they'd be like, oh, we don't like you. So I understand the idea of like, okay, well, I'm going to do what's best for me in this situation and I'm going to find a, you know, a different school. Um, so I see both sides of it. Yes. I'm amazed with how much it's used. Like it's very, very used. I can't, we had Eric on the podcast yesterday and I forgot what number he threw out, but the thousands of kids that have gotten into the transfer portal. It's insane. It's a lot. Holy cow. Yeah. Um.


Because now it's a completely different thing. Like it was a thing where, hey, you're going into your sophomore year, you might be, you know, you know all the upperclassmen and then you're looking back at those freshmen behind you being like, oh, okay, let's see who we're bringing in. You know, there's nobody and there's nobody. And now you bring in all these like, dare I say equals, but you know, people on your level who've played college volleyball, you know, and now we're in the big 10. Yeah. It's, I mean, do you have any, what's your thoughts on the portal? I mean, I...

I think the portal, it's like, I couldn't see both sides, like you were saying. Like it's a good for some people. And then sometimes I feel like it's a little used a little too much. And then it's just like people going in there just to go in there. And then, you know, they don't end up finding a school or they end up finding one that they don't even like. And I think people just need to realize that like, it's not always going to be better just because you're transferring. Like they're like, oh, I don't like this school. I'm going to go to this school because it seems better. And then it ends up being worse. And it's like, oh, so, I mean, I feel like.

People just need to be a little smarter how they're using it. But I mean, I can see why it's such a useful tool. Yeah. It's a good thing. And I mean, getting transfers is good because for coaches, you don't have to train them up. They already have the experience, and they can just hop right in. They're all good to go. It's pros and cons. Pros and cons. There we go. Claire, what would you wish I would have asked you?

in these last 30 minutes? I don't know. What did we miss? What did we leave out? I don't know. I don't even have that. I don't have that much knowledge on the volleyball world, I guess. I don't know. That's hard. Maybe like. I know, we don't ask the easy questions here. I want to say. Performance radio. Oh, what question do I want you to ask me? I don't know. How are my days going? How's your day going? It's pretty good. Yeah.

You know, about to work out. You haven't started the workout yet. So that's, yeah, exactly. After that, it's probably not going to be very good. But then I have to coach a kids clinic. Oh. Yes. Fun. I've been getting into coaching volleyball lately. There we go. Yeah. Do you enjoy it? Sometimes. Yeah. Depends on the age group. I had a crier on my very first time coaching one of these here. I don't know what she, like I didn't say anything. Like I didn't do anything. She's just like really sad over there. I was like, oh my god, what did I do? How old? I don't even know. Oh.

Like, Amber texted me one day, she's like, we need someone for this. I was like, okay. And so I don't know how old they were after, like maybe 14. No, she's fifth through eighth grade maybe. Something like that. I don't know, but. You made a middle schooler cry. Yeah, I didn't even say anything to her. Jesus, I feel like she wasn't very volleyball inclined. I feel like it was a parent forcing her to be there type of thing. Gotcha. And so I was just kind of like, you know, like, you can go take a break if you need to.

I'm working on the coaching thing. That's gonna get better hopefully. Yeah. Well, here, we didn't talk about this. In your background, other sports? I did track, like high jump. That's right, I remember that. Yeah, I did not like running. But. You're made to high jump. What'd you high jump? Five-five was my highest one, I think. Claire, that's a big jump. I don't know. You went to State.

Do we place? Shoot. I don't even remember. I love how you don't remember. There might have been a state meet. Might have placed. I don't remember. There was a bar. There were a lot of people. Remember the dorms were not good there. Where's the state meet? I think it was at UW-Lacrosse. Okay. But I don't know. That's a good track score. I think it was raining that day. Like when we were going so like, I feel like the highest one, like the winner got five too. Oh, right. And everybody else was just like.

I'm not doing good. I mean, I don't remember. Man, I don't. Yeah, that rain will make a huge difference. Yeah, the rain does not help. Yeah, you don't want to plant hard. Yeah, I remember, I think it was sectionals or something, it was pouring rain, and when you would jump on the mat, it was like a pool. I just went in the pool. I was completely drenched. I was freezing. You had spikes, right? Yes. They were my coach's spikes. I didn't buy them. He had an extra pair, and I was like, oh, perfect. Great. Because that was the only reason I was gonna do track. He was like, we need someone for high jump medaling. Okay.

I guess. So outside of high jump, other like middle school sports, cheerleading, softball, basketball? I did gymnastics for seven years. Okay. And then I was on the dance team my freshman year. The dance team? That did not last long. That one did not last long at all. I made it cause I did like a little back handspring and they were like, wow, that was cool. But you know, dancing is not, I don't think that's meant for me. Cause Claire I've seen you do, trying to think of what movements I've seen you do.

Just some back, back walk over. Walk over. Yeah. Which at six to we're going to say, yeah, is insanely impressive to be able to. I still got a little something going on. I think gymnastics really helped like athletic wise. Like that's going to set you up for success. Like my kid, I'll definitely put him in gymnastics. Yeah. I don't care. They're going to have to do it. That's a bit. We have a girl. She's a seventh grader. She can she can nail her. I think it's a flip flop.

at five, how tall is Addie? Five, 11-ish or so. And she's really kind of grown out of gymnastics. She's two. Gymnasts are like four, eight. Yeah. It's just like, you can tell. It's like, you've got to sit this one out. You know, it's been long enough. You're like 10 inches taller than everybody else, so you gotta go. The deal I have with Addie is that you cannot lose this flip-flop. No, you gotta keep it. Every, just keep practicing, keep practicing. Just like, I don't.

don't go in gymnastics, don't, you know, just keep it. You just keep that skill set. Because if you're able to have the skill set to be that explosive, have that much body control, have that much core stability and strength, like you go on the volleyball and just jump and swing, how hard is that? Exactly, yeah.

So gymnastics really helped. Okay. So that's your secret sauce right there, Claire. That's my secret sauce. We should have led the podcast with- Yeah, so we should have do gymnastics. Yeah. If you're not already. Here's Claire's secret. Learn how to do a back flip and then you will be better at everything else. Yeah, because in essence, I would argue that that's some very high level strength training. It is. Oh my God, gymnastics was, that strength training was hard. So you got pretty hard into it. Yeah. You were pretty aggressive. A little bit. It was, I think I was going like, what, three, four days a week and it would be like three hour practices. Okay. Oh my gosh.

Yeah. And this is before volleyball. It was during volleyball. Oh, you did. Sorry. You did. You did gymnastics starting at what age? Oh, sorry. That's what I meant. I think I started at seven years old and then ended at 14. OK. And you start playing volleyball in fifth grade. Oh, geez. When? How old are you in fifth grade? Yeah, something like that. OK. So I had it going on for a while and then my mom was like, you need to pick one. Yeah. No, don't let me do this. But gymnastics was obviously not going to work out long term. Yeah.

There's not a lot of tall people in the Olympics. Central Michigan have a lot of six foot two gymnastics kids on the team. Unfortunately, they don't. I like the gymnastics people, though. We made friends with a couple of them. They're really nice. They won their conference to speak to the devil. That Central Michigan is on the open up like that. So volleyball will be next, hopefully. And then. Everybody else. Yeah. Are you ahead? Literally a head taller than everybody on the gymnastics team? Oh, God, yeah. More than a head. They are. They're small. You're doing good. Good job. There's like one gymnast in the conference.

Like we watched their conference championships and she's like, like five, eight. I was like, wow. Okay. Holy cow. Then I was like, good for her. She's good for her. But I mean, cause what's Simone? Four, eight. I remember in high jump, I would just be like, Oh, I just jumped over four. I can jump over and Simone Biles, any average gymnast, I could just jump over them. She could have the bar in her head right now. Exactly. I can still make it right over. So yeah, that's a good point. Yeah. Well fun.

Well, Claire, I appreciate you doing this. Yes, I appreciate you having me. Wow, this is exciting. Well, and I think your attitude for everything that's going on here, because I feel so lucky and so blessed that we've had the opportunity to work with so many athletes that have gone on to the next level, a lot in volleyball, a lot in other sports too, and I wish everybody came back and said, Adam, that was the best experience ever, but that doesn't always happen.

which is sad, you know, and sometimes it's the kid's fault. Sometimes it's the coach's fault. Sometimes it's just circumstance too. There are things that, there are just things. You, just your attitude with it, you know, I've never seen you get worked up. You're just always so even keel with the whole thing, which I see being great with volleyball because if you get all weird and mental and in your own head, like.

That's where you lose it. That's where it's all going. You know, your serve receive is shanked, and then all of a sudden, you know, you know they're coming right back to you. Exactly. So you gotta clear your head and get ready for the next ball. Right. And I feel like you do that pretty well. Like, you don't put a whole, there's stress, don't let me downplay it. But I see you doing it incredibly well and just taking things in stride, truly enjoying the process. Like you weren't just BSing there, which I appreciate that. I think that's genuine Claire coming out.

because I think that's really hard for people. I think they want results now, they want to win now. I want to play now. I want it now. And you understand that, hey, I need to put hours on hours on hours in the weight room. I need to, you know, some days eat good food. I need, I have to have good sleep. Not just for that one game that won the night before, but like, so I can get better and so, yeah. And build over time.

I'm excited for your next three years. I'm excited to see where you go with this. Obviously, God gave you a perfect body to be a left-handed six foot two setter. Got a volleyball body going on. Perfect. But yeah, no, I think you are a fantastic role model for younger athletes in the way of, hey, if you're gonna do it, do it like this, enjoy it, have fun with it. It shouldn't be drudgery. You should enjoy it. It should be fun. It should be hard, yes. It has to be hard.

If it's not hard, there's no point. Exactly, you're not getting anything up. Yes. Or I should just have you run the podcast. It should be easier. I'll be the host. You just have the next few guests on. I'm just feeling... Gosh darn it, we should have switched. You could have interviewed Eric yesterday. Oh, God. I don't know if I could come up with that many questions. No, I'll help you. I can't even come up with a question. Claire, let's be clear. You don't have to ask him much. He just gets going. Got it.

And you just you just sit there and you know, it's a coach thing. Yeah, I think it's just like, yes, yes. We love you. Absolutely. Well, Claire, thanks for joining us. Thank you for having me. If people want to. Are you big on the social media thing at all? Is it not a huge social media person? I mean, I will repost things sometimes. OK. Volleyball things sometimes. Sometimes. Yeah. Are you are you on the Instagram? Yes, I am. If this if.

Athletes wanted to follow you on the Instagram. Where do they find you? On the Instagram, it would just be my name. It's just Claire Emeril. I'll let you guess how to spell that last name. It's not easy. Good luck. Good luck with that. Good luck trying to find that. Two double letters in there somewhere. If you really wanna follow Claire, you're gonna have to work for this. You're gonna have to work for that one. Not an easy thing. So Claire, thank you so much. Yes, thank you for having me. Listeners, thanks for listening. We'll catch you on the next one.

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