I've never been called a natural. Ask any one of my coaches. My athleticism has always been forced. So, while my sister Sarah was a game-winning-goal-scoring soccer star and my sister Chrissy was landing back flips on a balance beam, I was best known for being wimpy and wiry and choking under pressure.
Coaches never recognized me for having natural talent or a gift - not once - and for good reason. Ha! In my youth, I saw this as a setback, but looking back now I've realized that this mindset really helped me. I remember one time, after missing a wide-open game-changing shot, my dad took me out to a soccer field to practice my aim. I didn't go on to score many goals after that, but this evening did teach me a valuable lesson: "just pick a spot and work at it"
Being programmed from a very early age to believe that success was not going to come as easily to me as it did to others gave me the quiet confidence I needed to tryout for the Bella Vista high school volleyball team (despite my dad telling me "Amy, there's no way you're going to make the Bella Vista volleyball team!" Haha... he was almost right!). I barely squeaked by with the last spot on the JV roster. Bella Vista drew from a pretty strong pool of girls who were already playing club, so once I made the team my mission was clear: try, fail, repeat.
For the four years that I played at BV and the two years that I played club (at Orangevale and Twin Rivers) my parents were a constant source of support. They drove me all over Northern California to games and tournaments. They shelled out copious amounts of hard-earned cash for club fees. They gave me pep-talks and cheered me on from the stands. They did all this probably not even realizing how desperately I needed it... Blah blah blah - I was a HUGE nerd with no friends who ate lunch alone in a bathroom stall - wah wah. I digress! The point is - I never expected volleyball to come naturally, but instead relied on a sticktoitiveness (which stemmed from my parents' steady support) to fuel every single inch of my progress in this sport.
Moral of the story? Natural or not, having great parents is helpful. And if you aren't talented don't worry about it because hard work works! :)