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Micah Christenson is undoubtedly one of the best setters in international volleyball right now. Under the guidance of the talented and charismatic Hawaiian, the United States men’s national team and the clubs he played for have enjoyed great success over the years.

Micah has not only been a very productive setter for his teams, but also an amazing teammate and an inspirational leader, who sets the tone by example, working hard every day and putting the team first in each step of the way.

A setter’s mind can either be his best friend or his worst enemy and, with Micah, it’s clearly been the first. Just a few months after his 30th birthday, the Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medalist thinks he’s still far from the best version of himself on the court - and there isn’t a single day that he doesn’t work towards that goal.

“I think that I’m a good setter, but there’s so much we can get better at as setters,” he said. “I’m always trying to learn and always trying to be a student of the game as much as I can. Even though one can say that I’ve reached a very high level of setting, for me, personally, that doesn’t matter, if I’m in this upper-echelon of setting or not. I’m going for the best me, the better Micah Christenson setter I can be and I think I can get a lot better. That’s the exciting part, I’m not trying to compare, I’m playing as myself.”

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  • Watch Micah, The Setter’s full interview for free on VBTV.

Playing at the highest level of the sport since 2013, the American has had a lot of opportunities to learn over the years. With two Olympic appearances and wins and losses in each of the most important tournaments of international volleyball, there isn’t a lot he hasn’t seen on a volleyball court yet.

As a good student, he’s also been smart and humble enough to realize that there was a lot he could learn from those who were doing the exact same things he did on the other side of the net. With a full decade among the elite of the sport, Micah has faced the top setters from different generations and, after every match, he always had pages to take from their books.

Argentinean Luciano De Cecco has been among the best setters Micah has ever faced. The two have been opponents in Italy for six years, but, more than that, the Tokyo Olympic medalist has always been an inspiration to Micah because of his unique playing style.

“No one can replicate his hands. His technique is incredible and he’s got this specialness about him.”

Bruno Rezende and him have an interesting story, as the two switched clubs in 2018-2019, with the Brazilian going from Modena to Lube and Micah taking the opposite route. The captain of his country’s national team for a decade now, Bruno represents the kind of leadership Micah admires.

“He’s an incredible leader and an incredible setter, he’s a commander. He’s someone that definitely everyone can learn from.”

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Giannelli's ability to play at a very high level from a young age was praised by Micah

Three years younger than Micah, Simone Giannelli is someone the American saw emerge, establish and thrive. The talented Italian inspires by his consistency and his all-around game, which very few setters have been able to replicate.

“He’s constantly been great, since he was young. Giannelli has everything you want in a setter and a player, he can do it all.”

Another Olympic medalist to draw Micah’s attention over the years is French Antoine Brizard. Although the two have never faced off in a national league, their meetings at the international level have made the American admire his opponent for his rare combination of skills and power.

“He’s so talented and super physical. He’s got that French setter style that’s very talented and tricky, but he’s a bigger player, so he blocks and serves really well too.”

Micah has all the tools to continue to improve his game for several years, but he’s already come to peace with a fact that can be difficult to accept for someone who’s so driven and a perfectionist – he’s never going to get to the level he would like to.

“I’m going to maximize my absolute potential as a setter, as a volleyball player and as a leader, hopefully,” the American reflected. “But when I finish my career, knowing myself and knowing how I operate, I’m going to know that there are certain places that I can still get a lot better at. But I’m not worried about where I’m going to get when my body says ‘stop’. I know that I’m going to get as far as I possibly can because that desire and that drive are never going to stop.”

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