We sat down with volleyball player Jordan Larson to learn how she’s training and preparing to win it all on the big stage with her team come August.
Q: You’re a very versatile player. You’ve transitioned from a setter to a middle blocker now to an outside hitter, all with a great deal of success. Which position is your favorite?
A: I would say hitter, because you get to do everything: you get to pass, play defense, attack, set, serve, block, and you’re usually kind of a go-to player in big moments.
Q: What is the most difficult position?
A: Middle blocker — I do not envy their position. They have a lot of responsibility in controlling our blocking defense. I always had trouble running all over the place and knowing where I needed to be.
Q: You played multiple sports growing up, and it has made you an extremely well-rounded player. If someone is specifically focusing on one sport, what advice would you give them to prevent burnout?
A: Open your eyes to other avenues and other ways to get better, even if it’s strength training. Go to a speed and agility guide to work on other aspects of your game. Even though you have dreams and goals, you can do other things to reach them.
Q: What additional things did you do in your training outside of regular practice in high school?
A: Every Saturday morning, I traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska – about 90 minutes from my home – to work on sport and agility training. It was an additional workout I could do to better myself, better my jump, and my speed. It was nice to gain experience and know what it’s like to get to the next level of play.
Q: You focused on early morning workouts. Is there a reason you specifically trained in the morning?
A: In college, we worked out in the morning, and I liked getting the workout done. I feel refreshed, even if it’s hard to get out of bed. After you’re done working out, it feels like you can take on the day. If you’re eating well right off the bat, you’ll feel energized and better about yourself and how you approach the day.
Q: Do you have any unique methods that you really work on to perfect your attack, or any part of your volleyball game? What is unique to you?
A: Growing up, I was always trying to affect not just one aspect of my game, but really trying to focus on all areas. I knew to play at this level, I could be a great attacker, but I also needed to have all the skills. I would annoy my neighbor by hitting the ball up against the garage door over and over in the middle of the night. For me, taking those extra steps really made a difference.
Q: Do you have a specific example of something coaches drilled into you that you didn’t quite grasp or ended up turning into your own thing?
A: I’ve had a variety of coaches throughout my career who have taught me different aspects of skills. I’ve tried to take what’s worked best for me. A coach would tell me something, and I’d try my best to do what they said, but at the end of the day, if how they’re teaching me doesn’t work, I take it and turn it into what’s best for me.
Q: As August gets closer, what are you doing to physically prepare?
A: I train about the same. There may be some friendly matches against another country that’s not participating, but there’s going to be some consistency this summer. The games start in August. We’re going to have to all come together when we get back here and get back in the groove. I’m confident with our team and what we can do. I think physically, we can handle anything that’s coming at us.