Josh Minsup K. (YISS Class of 2016, Bard College Volleyball):
I’ve had my share of failures and my share of blessings, just like any athlete. But the real issue isn’t about comparing how much I've failed to how much I’ve achieved, but rather it’s about asking how I have used both failures and successes to get to where I am now.
YISS equipped me with strong values and a strong mentality, a foundation for any individual's growth as a person, athlete or not. The coaches were available to me, but at the same time, they taught me that I was responsible for myself and my own improvement. No one told me I had to go outside and bump a ball 100 times. No one told me I was required to wake up at 5:00 a.m. to work out. The coaches helped me understand that they were there for me, but first and foremost, I needed to find a drive and passion within myself. In this way, they instilled a sense of responsibility and leadership in me.
The coaches at YISS also prioritized the fun part of playing volleyball. Sports are not a necessity of life, yet we’re drawn to sacrificing so much of our time to play these “games.” YISS taught me to enjoy the game and not see the tedious aspects of practice as a burden, but to think of them as opportunities to better the game and better the play so that the competition and the game itself would reach a higher level and be more fun. I learned never to settle. I could acknowledge my progress and achievements, but they shouldn’t make me complacent; they should make me hunger to work even harder. These lessons I learned as an athlete at YISS extend to my academics (now, more so than before), and my lifestyle. What I’ve established as my foundation is to ultimately glorify God, but also to enjoy the process and enjoy what the process produces.
Although I established my foundation at YISS, collegiate volleyball is a whole new world. The pace of play is very quick, and the opponents are taller, stronger, and smarter. Collegiate volleyball has taught me to be mentally sound. There’s no time to dwell on past mistakes. You need to move on and focus on the ball in front of you. Mid-game strategizing and active analysis are even more crucial. There’s a more technical accuracy needed to compete. Also, people hold you accountable to do your part. To be able to play with guys who are experienced and understand what they need to do and then to combine all our roles together and succeed is a great feeling.
While the road to get to where I am was long, the road to where I can be is longer. Every day is another day to become better than the day before.