Simplicity key to success for Ross
Lausanne, Switzerland, February 9, 2016 – In an interview with ESPN, USA’s April Ross described how she preserves her values on and off the court, and how it has helped her to keep her career in beach volleyball on track.
“I think meditation is huge,” Ross said. “Just stop for a second and recognise thoughts and fears, and learn to be OK with all that. Realise the things you’re stressing about, and not judge yourself for it.”
Ross pointed out how simplicity plays a basic role for an athlete in getting the proper mindset in every match they play.
“Think about what really matters in life, anyone can do that,” Ross said. “Maybe it does seem like the end of the world sometimes if you don’t win a match, but if you see that happening with a player, you can always remind them that they gave it 100 per cent, they trained really hard, they did everything they could, and if that didn’t go their way, then that is OK. You have people who love you and food to eat, so everything is going to be fine. That’s literally what I think all the time. I have basic shelter, food, and clothes on my back. I’m good. For me it’s as basic as that.”
Every athlete encounters ups and downs in their careers, but Ross leads a normal life to keep a balance and motivates herself to be a better player.
“When we are at a tournament, it’s really fun to go out to a group dinner, enjoy wherever we are, and hang out and have a good time,” Ross said. “I love watching movies – movies and music are my outlets. Otherwise, the biggest solution for me is getting back on the court and training, and trying to fix the things that went wrong. I feel like I’m being productive. It makes me feel better.”
Ross also believes that too much motivation has some negative results but creating detachment is a great equaliser for it.
“Another thing I subscribe to – and it’s really a hard concept for some people - is the idea of detachment,” Ross explained. “You can want something really bad and be really motivated and determined to get it, but you can’t hang on too tight because it can create problems. So, the idea of creating detachment, even from the stuff you want so bad, is healthy. It allows you to take a step back and keep things in perspective.
“It’s a lot of self-reflection. I’ve had some life experiences that helped me realise all this on a deep level, like losing my mom in 2001, right before my sophomore year. She had breast cancer. It really hammered home to maximise life, live in the present. To get hung up on things that aren’t life and death is kind of pointless.”
When it comes to making plans, especially in a team sport like beach volleyball, Ross relies on a simple formula for decision-making. Hersimple, no grey area decision-making style got her to commit to playing with her current beach volleyball partner Kerri Walsh Jennings.
“When I played a couple of tournaments with other people to stay in competitive shape, Kerri mentioned to make sure to pick someone that I could see myself going to the Olympics with,” Ross said. “It kind of caught me off guard. After that, I was just like – either I’m going with Kerri or I’m not going at all. That was it. In this whole kerfuffle of uncertainty, (the key) was just figuring out which way I wanted to go and felt best going. I had faith in Kerri that she was going to do what she needed to do and heal. So it was her or nobody. Ride or die.”