Why beach volleyball over indoor volleyball?
I represented Scotland indoors for years before switching to the beach. Once I had experienced high-level beach volleyball, I couldn’t stay away. With beach volleyball, there are 2 players, as opposed to 6 indoors. So the opposition can target one player, meaning you need a more rounded skill set.
Indoors, the coach plays a major roll – they are in constant communication with their players. On the beach, the coach has to leave ten minutes before the start and plays no further part, so you have to be self-sufficient.
The fundamentals of the games don’t differ, but we swap ends more often on the beach to minimise any advantage that could be gained from weather conditions.
What constitutes an average day’s training for you?
Our year has 3 phases: pre-season, season and off-season. Pre-season will usually be 2 to 3 sessions a day, 6 days a week. 1 physical session a day (weight lifting or cardio), 1 technical sand session and 1 body control session, where motor patterns are ingrained using medicine balls, benches or therabands.
As we get closer to the season, we focus more on performance, with more match type scenarios, including mental aspects. Year round we also have psychology meetings, video analysis, ice-bath/swimming pool/ocean recovery sessions, physiotherapy and massage.
I’m usually in bed by 8.30 as sleep is important to me.
What are your favourite and least favourite sessions?
I love to play, so my favourite times are when we get to the competitive game drills.
‘Max testing’ is horrible, because you have to lift such heavy weights, and cardio sessions, which are bolted on to the end of 2 hour training sessions and involve sprinting in sand on legs that are already dead, are no fun at all!
How do you stay motivated?
The great thing about my sport is having a partner, so the days when we aren’t motivated never coincide and we can just use each for motivation. As soon as we get on the sand the motivation comes back anyway.
What would be your one piece of advice to a budding beach volleyballer?
Work on your partnership. You’ll have one person standing next to you at the critical moment, so, if you don’t know what she is thinking, or how you can help, you’ll spend a long time losing close matches.