Jamming in Five Questions, Tori Dixon

Yesterday I wondered if I could get anyone of the large group of important volleyball followers I have on twitter to submit to a five question interview.  I'm so curious about how others view the game and life in general.  I was surprised to have three responses in fifteen minutes!

This portion of the blog will be known as "Jamming in Five Questions" and the first subject will be American Middle Blocker Tori Dixon.

Tori Dixon

Current location: Baku, Azerbaijan

Team: Rabita Baku Volleyball Club

Position: Middle Blocker

College: University of Minnesota- Twin Cities

Major: Sport Management: communications focus, leadership minor

The schedule for the World Championships was brutal. Was there a plan in place to take advantage of Team USA's depth over the long haul?  What positive effect do you think that it had on the team concept and do you think it paid dividends in the Semi's and Final's?

There was never really a definitive plan, but Karch was very adamant and up front with the team about the schedule, and told us numerous times that it was a very long tournament with lots of games. With that, he told us that we were going to need all fourteen players on the roster to make significant contributions during World Championships. Everyone had a very large role on the team, and we couldn't have done it without any one of the fourteen girls. It definitely paid off, because we were able to play at a high level the entire tournament. We were good for a long period of time, and we were able to be at our strongest at the end of the tournament.

Is it extra hard adjusting to a new team this year after spending all summer and especially the past three weeks with the National team?

Yes. It is always going to be hard adjusting to new systems. Especially in international volleyball where you have to take into account things that aren't an issue when training in the US: different languages, cultures, being in an unfamiliar area, new food, lifestyle, etc.

You have been fortunate to work with some of the giants in volleyball as coaches in Mike Hebert(he was Ellen's JO coach and Coach at Pitt) Hugh McCutcheon, and now Karch Kiraly.  What is your favorite trait in each of them?

Mike: He is a character! Just an all around great guy. He was very big into team philosophies and I learned a lot about myself, teams, and other people while being coached by him for a year. 

Hugh: He is a great technical coach. He breaks down fundamental volleyball movement patterns and teaches them so well. He simplifies a lot of things, and I thank him for basically re-teaching me how to play volleyball.

Karch: My favorite thing about Karch is how passionate about USA volleyball and our team he is. My favorite thing about his coaching style is how I never feel stressed or anxious because he has such confidence in our team, our system, his players, and being good, nothing extra. He treats every match the same, whether it's a red/blue scrimmage in Anaheim, or if it's the gold medal match at world championships.

If you weren't playing volleyball professionally, what would you want to do for a living?

I majored in sport management in college because I was interested in collegiate athletics. My internship was with UMN Student-Athlete Affairs (SAA) and I loved it. SAA connected student-athletes and the community by volunteering, career workshops, professional development, etc. I loved the service side of it, but I also wrote articles on the events that were published on Gopher Sports' website, which I enjoyed doing. I don't know if there's a job out there where I could combine sports, service, and communication, but if there is, I would love to be doing that. We will see!

If ______________ (movie) is on, you have to watch it until the end, even if you've seen it a hundred  times?

How to train your dragon! 

Bonus Question:
The serve sends China scrambling.
You know you are going to get an easy ball to handle.
Jordan sends a ball right on top of Alisha's forehead, Lish dishes a beautifully paced ball out to Kim...
What was it like watching it happen, and what did it feel like?  Take us through it...

It was an awesome feeling, especially since we work so hard on taking advantage of easy points that other teams give us: free balls, downfalls, tips/roll shots, etc. When I saw China get so far out of system, I knew we just needed to execute like we do every day in practice, and we did. It was an amazing feeling to make history, but I think it was only a taste of what is to come. This was just a glimpse of where this team is capable of going.


A huge thank you to Tori Dixon for being the first subject of Jamming in Five Questions!  Hopefully there will be many more to come...