TAKE 5 with USA Volleyball's Nicole Davis


In sports, there is one given – expect the unexpected.

As fans, this excitement of not knowing what will happen next is a big reason why we attend, watch and talk about sporting events. For athletes, the unexpected, while thrilling, demands proper preparation to be successful.

Nicole Davis

Nicole has become a mainstay in the USA Volleyball lineup as the libero. Her offensive assists and defensive effort has helped Team USA earn back-to-back silver medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.


1. How do you mentally prepare for a big game?

I try to prepare for every game the same as I would for a practice. I decide what my focus for the day is, and try to get better at something. I do a lot of visualizing and try to get myself in a positive mindset for the day.

2. What do you think is the key to good preparation?

The key to good preparation is knowing what works for you.  My preparation has changed as my career has gone on, and I have evolved as a player.  I think trusting the work you have put in and positive self-talk plays huge roles in preparation.  

3. When you don't feel like you have your "A game", what do you do?

When I don't feel 100 percent, I try to narrow my focus to executing a certain skill, and to making my teammates the best they can be.

4. How do you prepare for the unexpected?

Our coaching staff does a good job of putting us in a lot of adverse or challenging situations so that we become comfortable with being uncomfortable and more adaptable.  

5. What is your advice to youth sport parents to help their kids prepare for the unexpected?

Encourage your kids to accept situations as great opportunities to learn and grow, rather than viewing adversity in a negative light. Being in challenging or unexpected situations can be fun – it’s what you chose to make of it!

Come back next month for another exclusive TAKE 5 Interview.

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