Beach Volleyball is one of the most mentally challenging sports you can play, especially at a high level. With such a highly saturated summer schedule, you are competing week in and week out, with so many highs and lows along the way. The beginning of this season for myself has epitomised that.
The year began with two tournaments; one national tour in my hometown of Bournemouth, and the other an international event in Denmark. Pre-season felt amazing, with solid training blocks in the gym and at a training camp in Portugal; confidence was high. Then the results came in; 2nd place in Bournemouth, and a quick double elimination in Denmark.
These definitely are not the results you dream about at the beginning of the season. I was disappointed; with training going so well, you always hope that will be reflected on court. It wasn’t until I sat down in Copenhagen Airport with my notebook and video footage from the games that I began to look past the initial emotion and reflect on the two events.
I started analysing performance and thinking about what I could do better, began looking back at our preparation and noticing problems and flaws in what we were doing in training; rather than dwell on the results, I had to give myself that kick to think about what I could learn and how I could make it better in the future.
And it paid off; 2 weeks later, we claimed gold at the Weymouth Mini-Classic National Tour, paying a solid tournament without dropping a set! Suddenly those two previous events felt a long time ago, and it felt good to be able to identify issues and change them for the better. It was nice to be able to claim a title fairly on in the season and bounce back from early disappointments, especially whilst rocking my Sundried T-Shirt all weekend in the hot and humid conditions down on the sand.
But this is only the beginning as we begin to build towards something a lot bigger; retaining our British Universities Championship this weekend! It’s always a confidence booster to have a win under the belt going into a tournament like this and I’m excited for what is to come; time to take forward these early experiences as we battle it out for the title!
Thanks for reading and be sure to keep an eye out for my tournaments during this season!