Find Your Core — Happy, Unity, Heartstrong

Photos by Jarred Co, H4 XS Media Team

The following inspirational speech was delivered by Ms. Alyssa Valdez, member of the National Women’s Volleyball Team and the Ateneo Women’s Volleyball Team, during the High School PEP Rally last 31 July 2015.

Before we start talking about emerging, we must first go back to the basics. In my sport, volleyball, a sport of perfection, the basic skills to know is too serve, receive, dig, toss and spike the ball. Without any of these skills, it would be hard to score a proper point.

In general sports, the core would be in our conditioning training. I believe we would not be as resilient without our conditioning training. My team, the Ateneo Women’s Volleyball Team, practices twice a day, for 3 hours each: a total of 6 hours a day. In the morning, we do our conditioning training: running, weights training and of course, core training.

May tanong ako dito: sino ang may abs?

What is the importance of your core muscles in playing your sport?

Just like in my sport, core muscles are very important especially when you are spiking. It gives you that hang time while you are in the air, to allow you to have instantaneous decisions on your spike’s angle. Recently, I have noticed that it was not just core muscles that are in my core. Another type of core has been vital to me. This core is from my coach, who doesn’t even speak a lot of english, It goes like: Happy, Unity, and HeartStrong.


Happy means enjoying your game. One thing we, athletes, usually forget when we get too serious in our game, is to actually enjoy the sport. Yes, we may have been training a lot. We are serious about our will to win the game. Pero, we forget the spirit of the game; the spirit of sports in general is to have fun and enjoy.


For those who are in team sports specially, teamwork has a very high value. We all know how crucial it is to work as one whole team for our goals. Parang sa volleyball, I will never be able to spike the ball properly, if my teammates don’t receive and set the ball to me. We need to accept that we are not superstars or a one-man team in the court. Rather, we play with others, and we need these people to help us.


Sometimes, it also boils down to your heart: your passion for the sport. Heart Strong is a mistranslation by our thai coach for a strong heart. It’s normal to be disheartened, sometimes, within a game. In situations when your team is down, you sometimes feel heavy-hearted, and then you feel so stiff, your body won’t cooperate with you anymore. This is the exact reason why we have to have a strong heart. We always have to keep our fighting spirit or in Ateneo, our One Big Fight.

In season 76, the first time Ateneo won the championship, our team had to go through an ordeal of defeating Adamson first, and then defeating NU twice. Both with a do or die situation, wherein we had to defeat them, or we will be out of the season, losing the chance for the championship. In the Finals, we had to defeat La Salle three times, while La Salle only had to defeat us twice for the championship.  It was Game 3: both teams had one winning game each. We were in our fifth set, a quick set up to 15 only. We were down 8-12. They had three points left to bag the championship. All we could think of was doing what we know, what was in our core: playing happy, united and with heart. Luckily, we won the match, which gave us a fighting chance for the last championship game.

You see having a core is essential in any sport, to any person. However, there is no clear cut core for each person. It varies for all of us. I hope you guys find your own core. It is when you find that core that you would know what you can go back to. And, when you have that core you can always go back to, that’s the time you can emerge, since you know where you’re coming from.

Thank you!


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