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.
Looking for a new fielding glove or mitt? Why not check out the massive selection of player edition gloves that Eastbay has to offer? Let’s run through some of this year’s top options:
Wilson A2000 YP66 Fielder’s Glove: Yasiel Puig (OF)
LA’s Yasiel Puig is one of baseball’s most exciting outfielders. Time and time again, he makes incredible diving catches to rob hitters of extra bases. To help him makes those web gems, Yasiel wears the Wilson A2000 YP66 glove. It is made from Pro Stock Leather to give him the elite break-in and durability he needs.
Wilson A2000 MC24 First Base Mitt: Miguel Cabrera (1B)
From a larger size to help scoop up low throws to extra padding for repeated use, it takes more than a glove to be a first baseman. You need a mitt. So what one does future Hall-of-Famer Miguel Cabrera use? He wears the A2000 MC24 First Base Mitt. It features Super Skin material, which is twice as strong as cowhide leather and only half the weight. If it works great for ‘Miggy,’ it’ll work great for you.
Wilson A2000 CK22 Fielder’s Glove: Clayton Kershaw (P)
A glove built for a pitcher needs a closed web to help conceal your pitches and a durable design to handle those screaming line drives. That’s why three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw wears the A2000 CK22 glove. A dual-welted, pre-curved finger design retains the glove’s shape and Dri-Lex material lines the wrist to keep your hands dry.
Rawlings Heart of the Hide Catcher’s Mitt: Salvador Perez (C)
Three consecutive Gold Glove awards. A 2015 World Series MVP. No catcher has been better behind the plate the last few years than KC’s Salvador Perez, and the Rawlings Heart of the Hide Catcher’s Mitt is his secret weapon. With USA-tanned leather to withstand 95 mph fastballs, he can count on it to last and stay comfortable even if the game goes to extra innings.
Rawlings Heart of the Hide Fielder’s Glove: Adrian Beltre (3B)
Few players have had as productive of a career both offensively and defensively as third baseman Adrian Beltre. When he lines up at the hot corner there is only one glove he trusts: The Rawlings Heart of the Hide. Lined with deer-tanned cowhide, it gives him the long-lasting performance and comfort he needs. So should you gear up like him? Well, he does have four Gold Glove awards, so yes. Yes, you should.
Mizuno Global Elite VOP Fielder’s Glove: Ian Desmond (SS)
As a shortstop or second baseman, you can turn the tides in your favor by turning a double play or end your team’s hopes with an errant throw. Your glove needs to fit great, last a long time, and provide zero distractions. That’s why shortstops like Ian Desmond use gloves like the Mizuno Global Elite VOP. A rugged polyurethane patch protects the glove from normal wear and tear and an antimicrobial cushioned wrist pad keeps Ian comfortable.
Nike Vapor 360 Flywire Fielder’s Glove: Carlos Gonzalez (OF)
If you are looking for an outfield glove with a flashy look and innovative design, look no further than the Nike Vapor 360 Flywire. Worn by Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez, a three-time Gold Glove winner, this glove backs up its bold style with lots of cutting edge technology. Flywire technology is featured in the FlyTune lacing system for a personalized shape while the Hyperfuse construction fuses together layers of synthetic materials to make the glove incredibly lightweight and responsive.
But here’s the crazy part: we haven’t even began to scratch the surface of our collection of gloves! No one has more game-day options than Eastbay. From Evan Longoria, to Brandon Crawford, there’s a good chance we have the style you’re looking for.
Building off two successful versions of the Wave Prophecy, Mizuno made a bold decision to redesign this popular neutral-gait running shoe. The result: the Mizuno Wave Prophecy 3, a cushioned running shoe with a stunning look and extraordinary technological features.
Starting with style, the revamped upper features a hexagonal, honeycomb-like pattern that makes an instant statement. It’s clear that Mizuno’s goal was to create the best neutral running shoe available, and the upper pattern was not all that received a makeover.
To improve the already successful Wave Prophecy running experience, Mizuno redesigned the heel-to-toe Wave Plate to provide more cushioning, support, and comfort than previous versions. This aerodynamically designed plate provides high-rebound potential to help propel you forward. For an even more enjoyable running experience, the Mizuno Wave Prophecy 3 switches from an AP+ midsole to a U4ic midsole. This helps the shoe provide more cushioning to reduce impact while keeping your feet light and fast.
The Mizuno Wave Prophecy 3 releases on 10/25/13. The men’s version debuts at 11.9 oz. and shows off a dark slate/silver/lime punch colorway. The women’s Prophecy 3 weighs 9.6 oz. and sports Olympian blue/silver colors. We expect an additional men’s and women’s colorway to be released in December.
Be one of the first to take your run further with the stunning style and redesigned Wave Plate of the Mizuno Wave Prophecy 3. Shop Eastbay on 10/25/13 and let us know what you think of the new design by leaving a comment on this post or one of our social media sites.
The latest from Mizuno in the minimalist running category is the Wave EVO Cursoris, a silhouette crafted for new midfoot runners.
Named after one of the oldest known bipedal creatures, the Eudibamus Cursoris, the Wave EVO Cursoris is designed to provide stability and cushioning for runners transitioning into a midfoot strike. The Zero Ramp offset between the heel and forefoot gives the shoe a natural plane tailored to the motion. Wave Technology in the forefoot enhances protection, comfort and makes for a smooth ride. The flat-bottomed forefoot design is coupled with a wider platform for stability and assurance from foot strike to toe-off. Protection is also increased with a 12mm thick midsole profile and zero heel drop.
Mizuno designers break down the concept behind developing Wave EVO in the video above.
With heel-to-midfoot Infinity Wave technology, the Mizuno Wave Creation 14 optimizes delivers maximum protection through every step and a dynamic feeling under foot. Using a ‘Just Enough’ approach to design, the Wave Creation 14 tips the scale at just 11.9 ounces, making it the lightest of the series to date.
Taking inspiration from nature, Wave technology features a unique shape that dissipates impact forces away from the foot for a smoother, more cushioned feel on each step. SmoothRide Engineering is a unique approach to the sole that is designed to create a smooth, rocking-chair-like transition from heel-to-toe. Dynamotion Fit is a combination of technologies that are brought together to form an upper that bonds to the foot seamlessly and rids the shoe of stress points and bunching for comfort.
For male and female runners with concerns about the shoe’s ability to adapt their running style, Mizuno implemented Gender Engineering, which ensures a proper fit and maximum performance return.