Libby Daugherty was introduced to goalball after being seen by a coach at a track and field event. Now, she is training with the USA Women’s Goalball National Team in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as she finishes up her college courses in kinesiology with graduation in May. Find out more about this Paralympic hopeful from Texas in this Q&A:
Q: How were you first exposed to goalball?
At the age of 10, I was at a track and field-type event that is put on every year for children with disabilities in Texas. It’s called Sports Extravaganza. As part of Sports Extravaganza, kids get to learn and perform the basic goalball fundamentals like throwing and defending. This was by far my favorite part of the day, so my very first coach invited me to practice. The rest was history!
Q: What is one obstacle you had to overcome to get to where you are now?
When I first began traveling domestically, there wasn’t a team from Texas. I was fortunate enough to get to travel to a few tournaments with a team from Georgia that included Amanda Dennis. They fueled my love for goalball and competition. Who knew I’d be sharing a court with her 13 years later. We did eventually form a team in Texas, however, it disbanded in 2018. Again, I was able to join a team from Atlanta. Being a part of this team allowed me to travel to every tournament, gain experience and learn from multi-time Paralympians like Asya Miller. Ultimately, I believe that having the opportunity to play with this team helped me to get to where I am at today.
Q: Do you have a warmup routine? Music you listen to?
A: My warmup game has improved over the last year. I have incorporated the warmup created for us by our strength and conditioning coach. Outside of that, I make sure to stretch and throw in a few fundamental movements specific to the game like diving and warming up my arm. I also have learned the importance of warming up mentally, so before practices or games, I do some sort of mental warm-up; whether it be some positive self-talk, creating a list of things I want to personally work on during practice, or talking through the things that are expected of me from my coach that day.
Some of my pump-up songs (the first 5 in my warmup playlist) include:
–Girl by Maren Morris
–Superheroes by The Script
–Masterpiece by Jessie J
–All my favorite People by Maren Morris
–Confident by Demi Lovato
Q: What are you most proud of from your career so far? What’s your favorite goalball venue?
A: I think it might be a bit cliché, but I’m just super proud of where I’m at right now. I came to Fort Wayne in July, was put in the National Team pool in September, and since then I’ve given 100 percent, whether that be during strength and conditioning sessions, practices, or training camps. I’m honestly just really proud of the hard work I’ve put into getting where I am right now. I don’t yet have a favorite goalball venue, but I’m so excited to be able to travel to new venues and share the court with teams from around the world.
Q: How will you further your success?
A: My plan to further my success is rather simple. I will continue to give 100 percent during training, draw on the knowledge of my teammates and our coaching staff, and use the resources given to me to constantly work on improving myself as an athlete and teammate.
Q: How have you maintained your focus with the impact of COVID-19?
A: Because of COVID-19, my classes were moved online, so I have been fortunate enough to be able to train at the USA Goalball resident program in Fort Wayne for the last year. This means that I have been hyper-focused on training and goalball while also being able to focus on finishing school.
Q: What does life after goalball look like for you?
A: My goalball career is just beginning, however, I will graduate in May with my bachelor’s in kinesiology with a specialization in disability studies. My passion is finding ways for people with disabilities to stay active. I would love to eventually work in a nursing home or memory care facility as an activity director or recreational therapist. I hope that when I do eventually retire from playing competitively, I can continue to help bring other blind and low vision athletes in and help foster the same love I have for goalball.
Q: What is your favorite cheat food?
A: I have the worst sweet tooth! Any chocolate will do as far as cheat foods go.
Q: Do you have a favorite sport or athlete?
A: I do not have a favorite athlete, however, each of my new teammates inspires me every day. I am so grateful for the women I get to share a court with and call my teammates!
Q: What is your favorite place you’ve been to?
A: My favorite place will always be Ocean Park, Maine. I grew up going there every summer and staying in my great grandparents’ cottage on the beach. When thinking about places I’ve traveled for goalball, I haven’t yet traveled internationally. However, I absolutely love getting to travel to new places domestically. I definitely could not choose a favorite.
Q: What is one interesting thing not a lot of people know about you?
A: I have a tattoo of a red cardinal feather on my right bicep in memory of my brother who passed away a few years ago.