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The Volley Bubble

The Volley Bubble

By Ci Michel
Ever wondered what life as a professional volleyball player looks like? Sounds like? Smells like? (I can't help you there...) But I can bring you real, candid and (mostly) uncut conversations between professional female volleyball players. 10-year pro player, 2012 Olympian and YouTube creator, Ci Michel (thats me!) is road-trippin' though Europe on a mission to shed light on pro volleyball, the 2020 CoVID season, and life in the 'Volley Bubble'... Sometimes silly, sometimes serious, but always bubbly.
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16. Saying 'no thankyou' to the Dutch national team w/Britt Bongaerts
Britt Bongaerts almost missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime, being a starting setter on the Dutch national team, which will likely take her to an Olympics during her career. She is currently playing in Poland, and has dreams of Italy and Turkey.  In this episode we cozy up to avoid the cold Polish weather outside, with some warm socks and a cup of coffee, some traditional Dutch cookies, and have a little chat about all things volleyball, and not.  We both started our pro careers in the same first club, the ladies in Black of Aachen, Germany, and bond over some fond memories of the place. She admits her online shopping addiction, for clothes but also more recently real estate. She gives us her take on the new Champions League format, and also what it means for a setter to have a 'good day'.  You can see a whole day in here life on youtube here Some video clips from the podcast episode here. And follow Britt on instagram @brittbongaerts Visit YouTube.com/cimichel for the full Volley Bubble Video Series, as well as tons of videos about life as a professional volleyball player and how to go pro! Follow along on instagram @vb_ci. Be sure to subscribe and rate this podcast, and let me know any of your suggestions for future guests! Share this episode with friends or on your socials and tag me so I can repost! It really means a lot! Thanks for listening!
54:26
January 11, 2021
15. How COVID is truly affecting pro players w/Madi Bugg
Madi Bugg has volleyball in her veins, having learned a lot from her mother at an early age. She went on to play at Stanford, and is now in her 5th pro season. She has played in Switzerland, Germany, and now the top team in France.  We talk about her early days playing and creating a good relationship with the weightroom thanks to a family friend.  We discuss the dilemma for female athletes between a body which performs best on court or 'looks good in jeans'. She lets us in on what it means for a setter to have a 'good game', and the mindset she has as a setter on court. She opens up about the true cost that COVID, ending all sports in March last season, really had on pro athletes, especially for her team and their nearly undefeated season. And how one weird IG DM led to her starring (or atleast being an extra) in a big international movie coming out soon! This was a great convo and I hope you enjoy! See the full video here. Part 2 coming soon. follow Madi @madibuggs Visit YouTube.com/cimichel for the full Volley Bubble Video Series, as well as tons of videos about life as a professional volleyball player and how to go pro! Follow along on instagram @vb_ci. Be sure to subscribe and rate this podcast, and let me know any of your suggestions for future guests! Share this episode with friends or on your socials and tag me so I can repost! It really means a lot! Thanks for listening!
01:31:48
January 4, 2021
14. Following your own advice w/Karis Watson
This was a fun one! Karis and I laughed a lot in this episode. Maybe we are both awkward, silly and just don't take it all too seriously.  We talk about our mutual love for audio books over real books, because as Karis puts it "I cant read more than a page without getting distracted by thinking about sandwiches." We talk about the crazy colors of our alma maters (orange and green, orange and purple). We randomly burst into British accents at one point. And then eventually give some pretty good advice for young players. There's a lot going on in this episode, so sit back and enjoy.  Watch the full episode on YouTube here Watch part 2 here Follow Karis on instagram: @karisw8 Visit YouTube.com/cimichel for the full Volley Bubble Video Series, as well as tons of videos about life as a professional volleyball player and how to go pro! Follow along on instagram @vb_ci. Be sure to subscribe and rate this podcast, and let me know any of your suggestions for future guests! Share this episode with friends or on your socials and tag me so I can repost! It really means a lot! Thanks for listening!
59:24
December 28, 2020
13. The sexualization of female athletes w/Amanda Benson
Amanda (Benny) Benson graduated from the University of Oregon, and went on to represent Team USA, as well as play pro in France, Germany and now Switzerland. She is a high achiever but so multifaceted, as you will hear. She has compiled her writing and poetry into a book, and started a personal styling business with her downtime in quarantine. We talk about the fears and highs of building a business from scratch, the comparison trap, and why female athletes are sometimes overly sexualized in their sport.  Great episode for anyone who loves volleyball but it driven to wear multiple hats, and sees themselves as more than just an athlete.  See the full Volley Bubble episode here Part 2 of the episode here Follow Benny on instagram @amandasbenson Visit YouTube.com/cimichel for the full Volley Bubble Video Series, as well as tons of videos about life as a professional volleyball player and how to go pro! Follow along on instagram @vb_ci. Be sure to subscribe and rate this podcast, and let me know any of your suggestions for future guests! Share this episode with friends or on your socials and tag me so I can repost! It really means a lot! Thanks for listening!
01:14:13
December 14, 2020
12. Two Shoulder surgeries later...w/Meg Wolowicz
Meg Wolowicz is a Northern Illinois alum, and has gone all in on the pro life! Czech, now Switzerland, she has no intention of stopping any time soon. She loves the travel, meeting new people, making experiences, and of course Swiss cheese. We discuss growing up tall, how to handle comments about weight, sacrifices for going pro and all the good stuff about living overseas.  She also talks about dealing with the possibility of never playing again after her second shoulder surgery, and how she made the decision that would impact the rest of her life.  watch the full youtube video here and part 2 here meg on instagram: @megwolowicz Visit YouTube.com/cimichel for the Volley Bubble Video Series, as well as tons of videos about life as a professional volleyball player and how to go pro! Follow along on instagram @vb_ci. Be sure to subscribe and rate this podcast, and let me know any of your suggestions for future guests! Share this episode with friends or on your socials and tag me so I can repost! It really means a lot! Thanks for listening!
01:07:40
December 7, 2020
11. Being a vegan volleyball athlete w/Olivia Rusek
Olivia Rusek is just beginning her third pro season, but has gained a lot of experience in those years in Austria, Czech and now Switzerland. We talk on this episode about the challenges and benefits of a plant-powered diet as a high level vegan athlete, finding your level as an American player in Europe, and changing agents to get a good fit.  Olivia also vlogs her pro experiences on youtube if you want to see more! She graduated from Miami of Ohio (not to be confused with my alma mater UMiami in Florida), and is loving life overseas!  see the full video we filmed together here follow Olivia on instagram: @oliviarusek Visit YouTube.com/cimichel for the Volley Bubble Video Series, as well as tons of videos about life as a professional volleyball player and how to go pro! Follow along on instagram @vb_ci. Be sure to subscribe and rate this podcast, and let me know any of your suggestions for future guests! Share this episode with friends or on your socials and tag me so I can repost! It really means a lot! Thanks for listening!
51:53
November 30, 2020
10. Never doubt yourself w/Olga Strantzali
Olga Strantzali learned to play at 5 years old, and thus knows she is a 'stable' player who rarely suffers from self doubt! She is a former UMiami Hurricane, and has found herself in Italy A1 Cuneo, after a few seasons in Poland and France. She didn't think University was for her after a difficult freshman year at UCLA, but luckily gave herself a second chance and felt at home on campus in Coral Gables. As a former 'Cane myself, I can totally understand. It's all about the U after all... Olga loves her summers at home in Greece, but talks to me about the joys of life as a pro player. We discuss her tactics for fending off doubt, how to fill free time with tik tok and shopping, and her definition of a good teammate. Olga is graceful, stylish, and welcomed me to her bubble in Cuneo with a smile!  see the full video we recorded together of a day in her life on YouTube here! follow Olga on instagram: @olgastrantzali Visit YouTube.com/cimichel for the full Volley Bubble Video Series, as well as tons of videos about life as a professional volleyball player and how to go pro! Follow along on instagram @vb_ci. Be sure to subscribe and rate this podcast, and let me know any of your suggestions for future guests! Share this episode with friends or on your socials and tag me so I can repost! It really means a lot! Thanks for listening!
42:11
November 23, 2020
09. How negative comments can fuel you to succeed w/ Britt Herbots
So Britt and I played together in Mulhouse, which is where she cemented herself as an up and coming star on the European volleyball scene by earning MVP of the French league, and also earned herself the nickname 'Spider Monkey' from myself and our teammate Lexi. I'll leave it up to you to decide which was more important for her career. Basically Britt is an amazing player, a Belgian national team player, still only 21 years old and has so much more left in her! She was named MVP of the CEV Cup which she won in Busto Arsizio her first season there, and also won the hearts of the fans who named her their favourite butterfly that season. She is known for her grit and fire on the court, and to me for her easy smile and silly nature off the court. This girl is always laughing, joking and full of energy! I loved catching up with her, meeting the infamous and adorable Matsko, and hearing how she deals with negative comments (especially from some angry Busto fans after she left to the rival team Novara this season!)  She has idols of her own and big ambitions for the future, so enjoy this sneak peak into the personality and mindset of the fireball of energy that is Britt Herbots! see the full video day in her life here follow Britt on instagram: @brittherbots4 Visit YouTube.com/cimichel for the Volley Bubble Video Series, as well as tons of videos about life as a professional volleyball player and how to go pro! Follow along on instagram @vb_ci. Be sure to subscribe and rate this podcast, and let me know any of your suggestions for future guests! Share this episode with friends or on your socials and tag me so I can repost! It really means a lot! Thanks for listening!
47:29
November 16, 2020
08. Life in Italy A1 and finding your role on the team w/Ali Frantti
Ali Frantti, aka Moose, is one of my close friends! We played together in Mulhouse, her first full season pro and straight into CEV Champions League! Moose is sweet natured off court, but such a fire cracker on court. She was a four year starter at Penn State, and has played pro overseas in Slovenia, France, Poland and now Italy A1 in Chieri. We talk about why she chose Penn State, how to handle being benched, and why Finding Nemo is a actually a scary movie. Yup, all that and of course why she has the nickname Moose! see the full video day in her life here follow Ali on instagram: @afrantti14 Visit YouTube.com/cimichel for the Volley Bubble Video Series, as well as tons of videos about life as a professional volleyball player and how to go pro! Follow along on instagram @vb_ci. Be sure to subscribe and rate this podcast, and let me know any of your suggestions for future guests! Share this episode with friends or on your socials and tag me so I can repost! It really means a lot! Thanks for listening!
46:39
November 9, 2020
07. YouTube and long-distance marriage w/Gia Day
Gia Day got married this summer, and jumped on a plane to France a month later! We talk about how to make a relationship work long distance, and of course the joys of YouTube! Gia is playing for Venelles in the top French League. She played college volleyball at Baylor University, and is now in her first professional European season here in France.  This 22yr old outside hitter has overcome surgeries, being far from her husband and the ever-present language barriers to dive headfirst into life as a pro overseas. Not only is she a bundle of joy and positivity, but she is also a YouTuber! She vlogs about her experiences, her travels and her strong faith. We bonded over our non-conventional views of the world as well as our love of b-roll and capturing experiences through video.  See a full day in her life on the YouTube episode we filmed together here! Follow Gia on instagram @gia__day Visit YouTube.com/cimichel for the Volley Bubble Video Series, as well as tons of videos about life as a professional volleyball player and how to go pro! Follow along on instagram @vb_ci. Be sure to subscribe and rate this podcast, and let me know any of your suggestions for future guests! Share this episode with friends or on your socials and tag me so I can repost! It really means a lot! Thanks for listening!
01:01:02
November 2, 2020
06. Overcoming an eating disorder w/Caila Stapleton
Wow. If you listen to any of these episodes, listen to this one. Caila opens up so honestly about her struggles with mental health, eating disorders and body image in this raw episode of the Volley Bubble. Months away from family and friends can take a toll on your wellbeing, physically and mentally, and Caila lets us in on her experiences, as well as some methods for coping, and helping teammates or friends than might be going through something similar.  Caila Stapleton graduated from San Diego University, and has played pro in Switzerland, Finland and France. She is 27 year old American Setter from California, who has tasted pro life and also the real world. She is brutally honest and candid in this interview, and shares her insights on the true highs and lows of life as a pro athlete overseas.  See a full day in her life on the YouTube episode we filmed together here! Follow Caila on instagram @cailastapleton Visit YouTube.com/cimichel for the Volley Bubble Video Series, as well as tons of videos about life as a professional volleyball player and how to go pro! Follow along on instagram @vb_ci. Be sure to subscribe and rate this podcast, and let me know any of your suggestions for future guests! Share this episode with friends or on your socials and tag me so I can repost! It really means a lot! Thanks for listening!
52:20
October 26, 2020
05. Following your childhood dream w/Jaali Winters
Jaali Winters has been chasing the dream of playing pro in France since the age of 14, and she shares the 'secret' to making that dream come true.  Jaali is playing for Saint Raphaël in the top French League. She played college volleyball at Creighton University, and is now in her second professional European season here in France.  She is a 23yr old outside hitter who is a bit obsessed with peanut butter, loves Frank Ocean but hates apple pie! See a full day in her life on the YouTube episode we filmed together here! Follow Jaali on instagram @jaaliwinters Visit YouTube.com/cimichel for the Volley Bubble Video Series, as well as tons of videos about life as a professional volleyball player and how to go pro! Follow along on instagram @vb_ci. Be sure to subscribe and rate this podcast, and let me know any of your suggestions for future guests! Share this episode with friends or on your socials and tag me so I can repost! It really means a lot! Thanks for listening!
41:45
October 19, 2020
04. Pursuing passions outside of sport w/Tessa Grubbs
In this episode, Tessa Grubbs and I discuss the importance of finding passions outside of the sport of volleyball, and how those pursuits can actually improve your game as an athlete.  Tessa currently plays for Mougins in the top French League. Before that she played at the University of Tennessee, as well as a short first professional season in Slovenia.  She is a 22yr old outside hitter who has a passion for Louis Vuitton, mental health work and is currently mastering the subtle art of not giving a f*ck.  See a full day in her life on the YouTube episode we filmed together here! Follow Tessa on instagram @tessa_grubbs17 Visit YouTube.com/cimichel for the Volley Bubble Video Series, as well as tons of videos about life as a professional volleyball player and how to go pro! Follow along on instagram @vb_ci. Be sure to subscribe and rate this podcast, and let me know any of your suggestions for future guests! Share this episode with friends or on your socials and tag me so I can repost! It really means a lot! Thanks for listening!
40:03
October 12, 2020
03. Getting comfortable being uncomfortable w/Micaya White
Micaya White talks all about the importance of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable as a top performing athlete.  Micaya is the new starting outside hitter for RC Cannes in the top French League. She has just entered her first full professional season, having played a short season in Puerto Rico, and was a four-time All-American at the University of Texas.  She is a 24 year old pescatarian, who practices yoga and loves fresh laundry straight out of the dryer. See a full day in her life on the YouTube episode we filmed together here! Follow Micaya on instagram @cayamonet Visit YouTube.com/cimichel for the Volley Bubble Video Series, as well as tons of videos about life as a professional volleyball player and how to go pro! Follow along on instagram @vb_ci. Be sure to subscribe and rate this podcast, and let me know any of your suggestions for future guests! Share this episode with friends or on your socials and tag me so I can repost! It really means a lot! Thanks for listening!
29:41
October 5, 2020
02. TikTok and social media as an athlete w/Ronika Stone
Ronika Stone teaches me a thing or two about TikTok, as well as how she views social media for top athletes in 2020.   Ronika plays for Volero Le Cannet in the top French League. She is in her first professional season, and played undergrad at the University of Oregon. She is a middle hitter/blocker, loves her Normatec, and is soon to join the vlogging world! Hear all about her experiences in the first two weeks of playing abroad, including overweight luggage and adaptation to life without a dryer.  See a full day in her life on the YouTube episode we filmed together here! You'll get to know Ronika a bit more, and see where she lives and trains with her team in France. Also a bit about her sunflower seed addiction and practice day rituals.  Follow Ronika on instagram @ronikastone Visit YouTube.com/cimichel for the Volley Bubble Video Series, as well as tons of videos about life as a professional volleyball player and how to go pro! Follow along on instagram @vb_ci. Be sure to subscribe and rate this podcast, and let me know any of your suggestions for future guests! Share this episode with friends or on your socials and tag me so I can repost! It really means a lot! Thanks for listening!
42:14
September 28, 2020
01. Identifying the weak link in your mind w/Malina Terrell
Malina Terrell talks us through how to acknowledge, but not give too much power to, the weak link in your mental 'crew'. This 28yr old outside hitter has a fascination for leopards and elephants, her friends call her a 'pineapple', and she meditates every day before training. She plays currently for the Béziers Angels in the top French League, where she was named top scorer in the league 2020. Before that he played at the University of San Francisco, as well as professionally in Denmark, Germany, Puerto Rico, Finland and now France.   See a full day in her life on the YouTube episode we filmed together here! Follow Malina on instagram @malinaterrell Visit YouTube.com/cimichel for the Volley Bubble Video Series, as well as tons of videos about life as a professional volleyball player and how to go pro! Follow along on instagram @vb_ci. Be sure to subscribe and rate this podcast, and let me know any of your suggestions for future guests! Share this episode with friends or on your socials and tag me so I can repost! It really means a lot! Thanks for listening!
01:17:39
September 23, 2020
The Volley Bubble Trailer
This is The Volley Bubble Podcast.  Whats up guys, I'm Ci Michel; Professional Volleyball Player, Olympian, Photographer, YouTuber and now, Podcaster! I have been playing volleyball professionally for ten years and I want to shed a little bit of light on what that means, especially in the era of 2020 and COVID. So I'm driving across Europe on a mission to meet other professional female volleyball players, and tell their stories. Because as you guys know, each one of us is so much more than just an athlete.  Visit YouTube.com/cimichel for the Volley Bubble Video Series, to see behind the scenes with each of the podcast guests, as well as tons of videos about life as a professional volleyball player and how to go pro! Follow along on instagram @vb_ci. Be sure to subscribe and rate this podcast, and let me know any of your suggestions for future guests! Share this episode with friends or on your socials and tag me so I can repost! It really means a lot! Thanks for listening!
01:12
September 22, 2020