GCCISD Magazine Feature: The Mental Game
WHEN TAYLOR KOTLARZ ISN'T ON THE HARDWOOD OR THE SAND PLAYING VOLLEYBALL, THE SENIOR CAN BE FOUND PAINTING.
It's relaxing. It requires focus. The skill to focus can be translated to her volleyball career. The mental side of the game is one of Kotlarz's favorite aspects of the sport. "Energy and mindset are all mental," Kotlarz said. "It is a key factor in deciding how the match goes. I like being able to get in the other teams' head by intimidating them."
Growing up, Kotlarz tried out various sports until she landed on volleyball. "I bounced around a little from sport to sport until someone mentioned that I should try out for volleyball," Kotlarz said. "I gave it a shot and found the sport that was meant for me." After getting into volleyball, Kotlarz would eventually make her way to the sand with teammate Zoe Martinez.
The things she has learned while playing sand volleyball have made an impact on her indoor game as well. "Playing in the sand is definitely a challenge because it is pretty hard to move around in," Kotlarz said. "When playing outside, I have to worry about the wind. I need to figure out how hard or soft I need to serve the ball and strategize my ball placement. "Beach has definitely increased how fast I move and my volleyball IQ."
In the midst of her senior campaign, Kotlarz is still trying to get recruited not only for indoor but also beach volleyball, which more colleges are starting to offer. Kotlarz is still awaiting her first offer but has constant communication with college coaches. Last year, Kotlarz led GCM in kills (220) and digs (208) as the Patriots made the playoffs after posting a 33-15 overall record on the year. "Last year was definitely a year to remember. It was great being able to have as many kills and digs as I did," Kotlarz said. "It was special because it was a year where the energy was just impeccable. People were running and jumping out of their seats, slapping the floor and screaming at the top of their lungs after every point. What made that season special was how connected we were as a team on the court. That's what helped the team and I to accomplish our goals."
Kotlarz is hoping to have that same kind of year this fall as Goose Creek Memorial eyes a seventh-straight playoff trip. Outside of volleyball, Kotlarz enjoys painting especially nature scenes – such as mountains with a galaxy sky or a river in front of a mountain. Her hype song is "Outta Your Mind" by Lil Jon and she wants to go to college and get a degree in education.
To see the entire Goose Creek CISD publication, CLICK HERE