Let's kick off the shoes, and toss those stinky knee pads. Let's hang up the jerseys and grab a tank top. Oh, and on your way out the door, don't forget your favorite hat, sunglasses and flip flops as we head to the beach!
Beach volleyball fosters a relaxed, peaceful and laid back culture from the club directors to the players, and even the parents. Let's look at three reasons beach volleyball is growing in popularity, because, let's face it, everyone wants to head to the beach.
FUN AND POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT
When striking conversation with collegiate beach coaches, they all stress the importance of a positive culture and training environment.
As a beach club director and owner of a growing midwest club, I have focused on having a positive, fun culture first and foremost. That mentality has fostered a better environment for the athletes, and life all around as well, with hopes that it stays just like how Joe Rohr stated: Special and laid back.
Athletes new to beach volleyball can be shy or introverted when they first begin training. It may be the culture shock because beach volleyball harvests a different culture than the counterpart of our game. The beach game is more personable and personalized. One could say that it is the relationships that are stressed most of all. It's not just the competition and being better than the other.
To help our players have a positive and relaxed mindet P.R.I.M.E. Sand Volleyball does the following:
Reminds our players to have fun and let go of all of the stressors that they may have.
Breathe deeply and slow things down to focus on one thing at a time.
A deep stretch can get rid of nervous energy.
The coaches support the sport, stay relaxed and embrace the fun and positivity so the players follow our lead.
At every beach tournament, the beach coaches are always talking to one another and building relationships, whether it be school to school or club program to club program. The belief is, it is for the kids.
Getting hung up on one's personal success can be tiring, taxing and more so stressful. Beach volleyball is still a very pure game, about the fun and the relationships. Players may be competing from different clubs or high schools, but there is still a neutral ground that everyone is there because of a love for the game. Being able to foster this type of mentality comes from the top with the club director and trickles down to the coaches and the players and parents.
LEARNING AND GROWTH
Put a group of beach club directors in a room who have never met, and in five minutes it will seem like they've known each other for years. Stories are shared, questions are asked, and a common ground is quickly found. It's relaxed, unforced and encouraging. The common ground is not the politics or the frightening parent stories. It's the experiences, the learning, and talk of what's to come.
Being able to encourage this type of atmosphere, will keep driving this sport onward and upward. Creating positive experiences, establishing relationships, and inspiring learning and growth all encompass the beach lifestyle. It easily engulfs an individual, player, coach and parent, around the sport for life.
So, hang up the hang ups. Just kick back, take a deep breath and relax. Beach volleyball is a gift that will keep on giving.