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Micah Christenson and Kawika Shoji: A game day routine that sets them up for success

USA setters Micah Christenson and Kawika Shoji
Lausanne, Switzerland, July 9, 2020 – Rio 2016 Olympic Games bronze medallists Micah Christenson and Kawika Shoji talked about their typical game day and how their routine sets them up for success in a Facebook Live session you can watch by clicking on the link below.

Live with Micah Christenson and Kawika Shoji

The Hawaiian connection
For the past few years, the United States men’s volleyball programme has had a strong connection with Hawaiian setters, with Micah Christenson and Kawika Shoji leading the pack of brilliant playmakers in the country. When they are on tour with the national team, Kawika explained that the connection stays strong between the two as they choose to be roommates.

“There are tournaments where we travel for five weekends in a row with some roster changes and then there are also tournaments where we play two to four weeks with the same group but in just one country. For us it has to do with comfort, sleeping habits and learning to live together – how that not only affects your comfort levels, your happiness but also your performance. They come hand in hand. There are just some guys that are comfortable with each other as we are spending so much time together.”

Game day routines

Micah on his typical game day:
“We get a wake up call about 08.00 to 08.30. We will have our breakfast and then we will have a serve-and-pass - our morning training where we do serve and receive drills to get some rhythm and to warm up. For me I like to get rhythm in our morning serve-and-pass because you get to fine-tune a bit, see the gym and the lights as a setter and as a server.

“We also are able to enjoy the ability to express ourselves – to feel more loose and to feel the rhythm. We try to see the places for at least half a day and try to do other activities. It provides us with mental balance.”

Kawika on his role as second setter during training:
“As a second setter in the team, it is my role to keep myself and keep the other guys that haven’t played much focused and always ready to go. A lot of times in long tournaments the focus level and motivation can wax and wane depending on how much you are playing, so part of my job is to keep that level consistent for us because you truly need a full team in a long tournament. So I take those mornings seriously because that’s when you really stay sharp.”

Always be ready to seize opportunities
The two Honolulu-based athletes believe that being always on your feet, being focused and seizing opportunities are the dynamics of achieving success.

Micah on the importance of always being ready:
“It is an important and intricate dynamic to have players that are not playing to keep their focus and to be dedicated in their roles to be able to bring advantage to the team. Kawika does that in such an incredible way. If you are not playing, there is a tendency to lose focus and not take, for example, a serve-and-pass as important. To be able to set that tone and keep that focus, one has to have that mindset that you are here to work, seize the opportunity and always be ready.”

Kawika on Reid Priddy’s winning attitude:
“Tom Brady said something about being ready to seize the opportunity. A great example would be Reid Priddy at the Rio 2016 Olympics. He rarely played but he was ready to come in and step into that role. He had a huge match when we won the bronze medal against Russia.

“It’s a testament to him because he was physically and mentally ready throughout a long tournament and he only got his major chance at the very end. He made the most of it and obviously it really helped our team. That was just a great example.”

Future beach volleyball duo?
Micah answered a fan question and gave a resounding approval on the possibility of him and Kawika teaming up in beach volleyball. Although it is not going to happen any time soon, it would be an interesting partnership!

“Yes! We get asked that all the time and the answer is yes!”

Follow Micah on IG: instagram.com/mchristenson5
Follow Kawika on IG: instagram.com/kshoji7

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