Julia was born into a love of sports and exercise by her parents. Since she was 9 years old she has been playing volleyball with the “Volleyhasen”, the German-Polish team in her home town of Rothenburg. At the same time, the 19-year-old is in training to become a physiotherapist.
Sports fans 2018: Interview with Julia
Women’s Health: Julia, when did you first come into contact with sports?
Julia: Even before I was born! My mum was and still is active and sporty, I certainly “took part” in some gymnastics exercises at that time. Actually I always wanted to become a gymnast like her – unfortunately this was not present with us. Instead, I always went with her to the children’s sport, where she was the trainer.
Your whole family’s into sports, right?
Absolutely. Thanks to my father, my brother’s third generation of boxers. We’re all the athletically fidgety type of people.
Then how did you get into volleyball?
By chance, I’d say. I was 9 when I was picked up from swim practice and we met a friend. He asked if I wanted to play volleyball. I was immediately enthusiastic and told everyone that I now play “handball” – I didn’t know what volleyball was at that time and they played it by hand.
Since 2008 Julia plays volleyball with the “Volleyhasen” © Stephan Wieser
Can you describe what makes your sport so exciting?
It is simply exciting from the first to the last point, the tide can turn in a few seconds. It’s also a team sport, we have to be able to rely on each other and be coordinated. You fight together for every ball and push each other to win Alone you don’t stand a chance on the 9×9 meter field. The arrangement must be right, the players and the attacker must be on the same wavelength. And if a teammate is in the “spiral”, all others have the task of getting her out of it.
You simply need every single player on the field, everyone must be there.
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You are also motivated by the fact that others often underestimate you.
Many people underestimate me because of my height of 1.57 meters, in general and of course in sports, according to the motto: “You are much too small for volleyball”. Of course that’s nonsense – and it’s a great feeling to show what I can actually do.
Do you have any athletic role models?
Of course, you kind of always have them. In my case it’s Kerstin Tzscherlich and Lisa Stock, who both work for the Dresden SC played. Our own players were and are also great role models.
your team, the “Volley Hares”, are unique in your league. why?
We are a German-Polish team. In the Sachsenklasse Ost we are the only “international team”. We train in Poland and Germany and have our own “secret language” in point games. Since the other teams don’t understand Polish, our coach gives signals in Polish.
A Libera needs fast reflexes and a good game overview © Stephan Wieser
What has been your greatest success so far?
That was our promotion from the district league to the Sachsenklasse 2015, and we first had to understand that we, as a still quite young team from the small town of Rothenburg, would suddenly be competing against teams from and in Dresden.
If you had to sum it up: What does your sport mean to you?
In short, everything. I meet my friends, can switch off from the stressful everyday life, school or work. I keep fit and have fun with volleyball.
Your family will certainly support your sporty lifestyle. How about your friends outside the volleyball team?
Yes, my parents and my brother support me and often watch me play in the games. It has happened that I have lost friends because I did not see the point of putting my sport on the back line. This is still the case today, either you can cope with it or not. My real, close friends know and accept that.
How do you get your training as a physiotherapist and volleyball under one roof?
I’m a third year now, and it hasn’t been easy. I have often thought about canceling the training in order to study instead. But I think that especially in such stressful situations it is important to have a hobby as a balance and not to give it up. Before the examination phase started, I often couldn’t sleep. I would just get up at 3 or 4 in the morning, listen to loud music and do push-ups or walk around the apartment on my hands. Afterwards I slept great.
For Julia, sport is an important way to balance her stressful everyday life © Stephan Wieser
Do your teammates support you?
Yeah, they’re a big help. Our captain is a doctor and I could always ask her if there was something I didn’t understand. In the training camp I was also able to practice well by massaging some of my teammates or trying out different therapeutic exercises on them.
So the sport is a great help for your profession.
Absolutely. Even the gambling itself helps me. As a Libera I have to have my eyes everywhere, pay close attention to my opponents. I can apply this quite well to group treatments. So I can see when the gentleman in the blue shirt is in the hollow back or the other one is already taking a break. My attitude to life is also influenced by sports: In a game you can’t drop the ball – no matter how hard your opponent hits, you have to fight. And also in life you must not surrender.
What goals have you set yourself for the near future?
In any case, the most important thing is to finally finish the training and to have passed the 13 exams. After that I take a deep breath. I don’t have any sportive goals at first. In the past I didn’t want to sit on the substitutes’ bench and play. So I can put a “check, goal achieved” behind it. So I just want to get better and have more fun with my “volley bunnies”.