Interview with Maria Genitsaridi
1. In short, what are your memories of your career in America and at the University of Pittsburgh, Coach Dan Fisher, ACC & NCAA D1 Volleyball?
I think I should start with a reference to my first coach, Dan Fisher, who has managed to launch the program to the top of the rankings. He is probably the best coach I have ever worked with and he deserves everyone's congratulations. It has been almost four years since I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and what has remained beyond my memories are the excellent relationships I have maintained with the coaching staff and with former teammates, many of whom I have found playing in the Greek championship. I only have positive memories to remember from my career in America. I developed spiritually and as a player, I got to know different cultures and I traveled to places that I then thought I would only watch on TV.
2. Describe the daily program of an athlete-student in America and compare it with an student-athlete in Greece. Training hours, weight hours, mandatory presence on a daily basis in physiotherapy and recovery-rehabilitation to prevent injuries, class schedule.
Speaking specifically of Pitt, personal free time was negligible. We usually had weights in the morning at seven, then we had the morning classes, then two to five noon workouts and they ended with the evening classes. I will not talk about days off because this word does not exist in the American vocabulary. We had access to treatments and rehabilitation on a daily basis and as responsible athletes we had to take care of our bodies. During the championship period the burden was huge and in combination with the requirements of the courses created mental and physical fatigue. Again it was up to the athlete to learn to manage their responsibilities at the time since they had chosen to be part of that particular lifestyle. Regarding the corresponding program in Greece, I do not have an opinion because I have not combined studies with sports here. But I know several people who have, have succeeded.
3. What subject did you study: Are you using it? How strong is your degree and what horizons does your professional rehabilitation open up?
I have studied criminology and I also have a master's degree in the same field from Durham University in England. Hearing about it, my subject aroused great interest in the public, but unfortunately in Greece, professional development and achieving gainful employment is a foggy road. So far, the professional rights of criminologists in our country are not recognized and going abroad, in this case, is one way. None of the above discourages me because I consciously chose to study the subject that suited my interests and temperament.
4. Did America help you prepare for the A1 women in Greece?
Personally, I have never seen it that way. The reason I went to America was never to prepare for the Greek championship but to get out of my comfort zone and take risks. I wanted to live something different. The Greek and American championships have significant differences. I have been taught techniques in America that in Greece some coaches liked and others did not. This may have something to do with the volleyball school that every coach represents. It is important in the end to be able to bring the desired result.
5. What is your response to those who claim that America is taking the young athletes of Greek volleyball and when they return they have remained stagnant?
It is an opinion that I do hear, without of course having to agree or disagree with it. America has been looking for and will continue to look for the best young talents not only from Greece but also from other countries because that is its job. Specifically, they choose to offer full scholarships to these young talents. Now whether these athletes remain stagnant can be judged by how their path will continue.
6. What do you say to those who believe that an athlete returning from America can not meet the requirements of the National team or play at a professional level?
The above argument is not valid because there are examples that prove otherwise.
7. As a veteran now and graduate of an American college, what advice would you give to girls who are either thinking of going or are already in America?
My advice to girls who are considering going to America is to contact people who have lived the experience and consult them in whatever they want. And to those who are already there I would say enjoy every moment because these years are the most beautiful!
8. Your future goals?
I have left the future on the sidelines for a while and I have focused on the present which includes Olympiakos. So I give all my energy to volleyball and the goals that the team wants to achieve this year.