Athlete Spotlight: Mya Tillman
Mya Tillman is a junior here at Mayfair who has played on the girls varsity volleyball team for the entirety of her high school career. Tillman’s playing days happened to start when she was 7-years-old while her dad worked at a recreational center. As he worked there he decided to put her in a rec volleyball league, however once he saw that she had a natural skill for the sport he quickly put her on a travel ball team. Since then she has used her talent to ascend to teams with a great number of gifted players including the late great Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy volleyball team. Although the current pandemic may make it a struggle, she plans to make the last two years of her high school volleyball career count.
Tillman gets motivation from her family, and her competitiveness only fuels that fire she has when on the court. She even mentioned that she wishes she could trash talk more during the game because she sees it as a chance to remove tension by giving off intensity. To describe her intensity she said “I’m the type of player that plays with heart, so bringing attitude to the game just makes volleyball fun…a little trash talk just brings out the competitiveness in us all.” During this pandemic she has been lifting weights to stay in shape as well as getting her touches in at the recreational center her father works at. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has given her the chance to enhance her abilities off the court she now lacks the chance to get the recognition from college volleyball programs. When asked on that specific problem she stated “It’s obvious that I want to get offers but unfortunately Corona has halted that for me,” which is a mature response to such a difficult situation for all athletes. As a three-year varsity player on Mayfair’s volleyball team Tillman has had many memorable moments she will be able to look back at, but as a whole the best memory is the experience itself. She mentions the maturity it takes to be on varsity is a key component on why she enjoys her time on the team along with the intensity the game brings.
As previously stated, Tillman had the opportunity to play alongside Kobe Bryant’s daughter, Natalie Bryant, while playing for the Mamba Academy. Sadly, we all know about the untimely passing of Kobe Bryant this past January, however before that he was the coach of his daughter and Tillman’s volleyball team. One thing that stood out during her time playing for the Mamba Academy was that their training started in the Summer, which was way before their season, and they practiced five times a week. According to her, this was when Tillman had the Mamba Mentality instilled into her, and to this day Kobe still drives her to improve and fix any kinks in her game. “A part of the mamba mentality was that he emphasized that it's okay to fail when trying new things because if you’re afraid to fail you probably are going to,” which are valuable words from such a great athlete. Knowing that she is one of the few people to have him as a coach as well as one of the last people to have been coached by Kobe made her gain another reason to love volleyball and continue bettering herself as a player and person.