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Schermata 2015-05-17 alle 23.29.31What about Christa Harmotto Dietzen? She is one of the best middle blockers in the world, she is the captain of Team USA Volleyball… What to say more? Her way of play, her strength as athlete, her charisma, helped the team to reach a silver medal in London and a gold medal in 2014 World Championship in Italy.
Enjoy this exclusive interview with Christa!

– Christa, you are a World Champ.. #tbt to that october, 12nd. What did it mean to reach the gold medal for you?                                                                                                                   Winning the Gold Medal at the World Championships was a goal, we (USA) set out to accomplish at the beginning of the season.  The USA had never won a major international competition until the World Championships. I think this gave our program confidence that we can win Gold at these major tournaments.  We still have a lot of work to do to prepare for this summer, and I am excited to get back in the gym with our team.

– To be a captain. Talk about your experience.  
I am one of four captains on our USA team and it is an honor to be among one of those four. Courtney, Tama and Alisha all serve on the leadership council with me. Each of us have different strengths, and combined, we can help lead the team with a stronger unit. 

– In the last years, during the best competition the Usa team was always on the podium. The roster changed, but the results no. What is “the secret” to be always at the top?
We are all fighting for the same goal and no matter what lineup Karch puts on the floor, we believe that we have the tools to win. I think it is a testament to the environment our coaches create in our gym everyday. We fight and prepare everyday just as if there were a match that night. No more, no less. So when we step onto the floor for a match, it’s just like another day in our gym. 

– How much it’s important setting goals for a player and for its team?  For ex. In Italy everyone expect to win all asap, while sometimes it’s more importan to focus for being the best in a particular moment.. What do you think about?
I think it is important to set long term goals, but focus on the short term goals that will allow you to achieve the log term goal. For example, we put a focus on setters and non-setters alike, setting hittable balls.  This allows us the chance to score more points because we are getting more swings. It is a small goal that if we do consistently, can lead to winning and achieving big goals. We know that what might seem like “small details” end up being big important things in a match.
 
Schermata 2015-05-17 alle 23.24.25– Sometimes when you have to play more matches in few days, it’s important to forget “the previous one”.. How much is difficult?
 Sure. We had to do this in the World Championships. We had to forget the match against Italy. Recognize what we could do better, learn from it, and hit the “reset” button for Russia. It’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you after a loss. It is important to learn to reset and prepare for the next opportunity.

– Volley is a sport, sport is fun. Do you have again the “fun factor”?
Volleyball is one of the ultimate team sports. It takes all six players on the floor (and even those on the sidelines) to score a point. I think this makes the sport so fun because everyone is involved.  

– What is the best lesson you learned from volley?
To always be a learner. Everyday and every year I am amazed at how much more I learn about the sport. Just because I have reached the Olympic podium I am constantly humbled by the evolving game of volleyball and how much more there is still to learn.

– Americans says “No pain, no gain”.. Is it true for you?
Yes. Learning and growing is not fluffy and pretty. When it’s difficult and challenging, those are the best moments because you will come out on the other side a different player or team.

– Share your approach for preparing a game mentally
 I usually review my scouting report one more time before the match and make goals for myself within the match.  I don’t have any superstitions or specific routines. 

– Coach for a while: what would you say to an athlete after a loss?
 What did you learn? What went well? What can you do better next time?

Schermata 2015-05-17 alle 23.26.10– How do you remain motivated after so many years of volleyball?
 I know this career would only last so long, so I try to make the most of everyday and just enjoy the gift of competing at the highest level everyday.
 
– What would you tell to college players want to play internationally? Some advices starting from your experience.
 Find out what is most important to you. Is it quality of life? Money? American on my team? 
 Then put the values in order of importance to you. Find out if your options fall into your values. Ask questions of other players who have played in those countries. Then you can make the best decision for you.
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