Chat Wrap: Courtney Thompson

Sept. 11, 2006

Senior All-American volleyball player Courtney Thompson will join for a live chat on Monday, Sept. 11 at 12:30 p.m.

Thompson led the 2005 Huskies to the Women's Volleyball NCAA Championship and was the Volleyball Honda Award Winner, after leading the nation in assists per game.

Thompson is the all-time career assists leader at Washington and ranks fifth on the Pac-10 all-time list. She is a four-time team captain and had led the fifth ranked Huskies to an 8-1 start to the 2006 season. Courtney Thompson is online, so lets get started...

Brittany, Seattle: Courtney I love the way you has made me want to be a great volleyball player also!!! What advice do you have for me to work on to make me a better player?

Courtney Thompson: Thanks for writing in Brittany. The best advice I could give you is to not look sideways. By that I mean never compare yourself to anyone else because all you can control is how good you become. The minute you start worrying about how good another player is, or that the coach thinks she might be better than you, your mind is not focused on what you need to do to get better. If you work everyday to get a little bit better and truly just focus on yourself, good things will happen. And of course...always work hard, and always have fun. Good luck!

Brian (Redmond): Your athleticism and talent make the tip/dump very effective, but we only see it once (rarely twice) in any given set. Is this an audible called by your teammates, or is there some other declassified strategy at work?

Courtney Thompson: Hi Brian...I appreciate you thinking my dump is very effective, but to be honest that is more a function of the other team worrying about all our hitters than my athleticism. I don't dump the ball as much as other players, because I don't need to. We've got some of the best hitters in the country on our team, and I'd rather have them thrown it down than me. I think it is good to throw it in every once just to keep the opposing team off balance and to break the ryhthm of playing defense. It is not an audible call, it is up to me when I see the opportunity there.

Bre DUB: CT it's Bre!!! I'm back in town on Thursday and just wanted to say heeeeyyy! Hope the chat is going well - I'll call you when I'm back!!!

Courtney Thompson: BRE DUB!!! How's it goin- thanks for writing in. Can't wait to see you...git 'r done.

dody (Ballard): Courtney, two questions:

1) What does having a second setter on the court - like Tamari - do for the team this year that you couldn't do last year?

2) For us little people, who have you roofed that got you the most jacked up? Like, for example, did you ever roof Ogonna Nnamani?

thanks and good luck this season!

Courtney Thompson: Having Tamari on the court is awesome, and the fact that she's was a setter makes it even better. We're getting better swings this year when I dig the ball because she is able to step in and set. Those plays are huge because when you're playing in a close match it's the little plays that make the difference. But then again...there are no little plays. Ya know, about the blocking thing, I pretty much get excited anytime I get a block. It doesn't so much matter who it is, I'm gonna be fired up either way.

Claire (Tacoma): Courtney, any aspirations to play for the U.S.A Olympic team? You've done such an awesome job of representing the purple and gold, why not the red, white and blue?

Courtney Thompson: Thanks for writing in Claire. I would love to play for USA someday, it's been a dream of mine for a long time. Whether I get the chance, or whether or not I'm what they're looking for you never really know. All I can do is continue to work everyday to get better, and hope that I get an opportunity to get in the gym and show them what I can do. That would be the ultimate in any sport really, so I'm going to do everything I can to play with Candace Lee one more time!

Amy (Renton): Courtney, who have been some of your mentors along the way to becoming the best setter in Husky history? Who do you try to emulate?

Courtney Thompson: Hi Amy, I feel like I'm the luckiest girl in the world because I've had incredible mentors since I was very young. This is going to be a long answer. The first two I think of are my two older brothers (Craig and Trevor) who both taught me a lot about how to approach sports as well as every other aspect of life. My parents are awesome, and it's hard to articulate all that they've taught me. In junior high I learned a lot of discipline from my basketball coach Mr. Helgeson, and about professionalism and teamwork from my volleyball coach Mr. Terry. I learned what it meant to work hard physically from Mr. Larabee every morning at 5:30 am in the Kentlake weight room, and there were many teachers and coaches in high school that have made a huge impact on where I am today. Dawn Colston was the reason I am at UW today, and a great mentor along the way. Tom Champoux has an amazing way of encouraging me and always keeping me grounded. And of course Jim has taught me so many things about the continuous journey to becoming great, not just in volleyball but in anything. He is an amazing guy, and like I said I am the luckiest girl in the world. I try to emulate all of these people and so many more.

Kevin, U-DUB: C-Thomp....just curious, why do you wear a headband? Did you ever imagine that it would be come such a 'phenomenom' with Husky fans?

Courtney Thompson: Kevin....great question. Well during preseason practices when we go for 3 to 4 hours, I would have to change my t-shirt because it would be so sweaty. If I wear a headband I can usually last throughout the practice without changing a shirt. And once you get used to it, it's hard to play without it. I never imagined it would be a big deal at all, or I would ever get questioned about it. It seems to me that a lot of players on other teams wear them, so I didn't really think anything of it. I appreciate the support though, and it is pretty cool to see people in the stands rocking the headband. Nonetheless, my parents still hate it. Sorry mom.

VB Student (Ballard): At your level of play, is the setter/hitter connection focused on the set being customized for each hitter, or do the OHs strive to hit say a 'standard' outside set that should be the same for everyone?

Courtney Thompson: My job as a setter is to keep the arc the same to develop a consitency so that the hitters can regulate timing. However, once you gain more control over your location, sometimes different hitters need a slightly different set. Brie Haggerty used to hit a ball a little more inside, and Sanja always liked a ball a little faster. So I guess my answer is that early in my career I tried to put up the same ball, and as I've developed I've learned to customize for each hitter.

John (Redmond): Seems UW's offense sets the ball more off the net than most other teams (especially to the left side). Is that part of Jim's design? Do the new players have a hard time adjusting to hitting from further off the net?

Courtney Thompson: Hi John, that is part of Jim's design, we talk a lot about that volleyball is a better game off the net. Some new players have a little resistance to hitting off the net, but once they understand why we do it and see that it actually works they love it.

Cleo (Seattle): What do you plan to do after graduation? Will you play professionally or jump into the working world? What would you like to do for a career?

Courtney Thompson: That's a good question Cleo. Ideally, like I said earlier I would love to play for USA. Whether or not that happens I want to play professionally overseas for a few years just to travel and continue playing the game I love. When I retire I'd love to get my masters in sports administration, and maybe start working on becoming an intercollegiate athletic director. I'd also love to coach, or teach, but more importantly than all of that I'm really looking forward to having a family. I feel like I could go a lot of different ways, so I guess we'll just take it one day at a time and see where I end up. (I am still taking suggestions)

DawgFan247, Woodinville: What sort of odds would you offer on an arm wrestling match between you and Janine (or even better, Boom-boom Brie Hagerty and Janine)?

Courtney Thompson: Wow. This is a really funny question. I think it would also depend on how long I had to train for it...but right now, I'd have to hand it to Janine. Between her and Brie...boy I don't know, but I'd sure pay to see it.

Courtney Thompson: Thanks to all of you for writing in, I'm sorry I didn't get to answer all of the questions- maybe we can do this again in the future. I'm off to film and weights, so hope you have a great day! Thanks!



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