Harry Jones is not your average student. Representing Great Britain as part of the Volleyball team, Harry travels the world to train and compete. This year he achieved the 2016 National Tour Winner, following his role as 2 x under 18 British Beach Volleyball Champion.
How do you manage training for a beach sport in typical English weather?
It can be a struggle sometimes! We're lucky to have an indoor beach facility in Bournemouth where I study, so we can train during the winter months. However, during the summer we usually carry on training in the rain if possible, Beach Volleyball only stops for thunder and lightning so it pays to be prepared for any kind of conditions we may face.
What kind of training do you do on and off season?
We tend to have a heavy workload. During the winter, I tend to play indoor Volleyball whilst training light on the sand once or twice a week. During the main preseason, we tend to train 5-7 times a week on the sand, involving a lot of technical sessions with many repetitions. Consistency is key in this sport and the only way to achieve that is through many hours of reps and drills. We also have more game-orientated training, with more of a competitive element to put the technical training into practice. We usually train twice a day; if we train once, then we will have gym sessions (usually 3 times a week) where we complete strength and conditioning. This involves a lot of squatting, deadlifting etc and power based weight lifting, as well as cardio and endurance sessions to prepare for the workload on the sand. During the main season, it's more of the same, but with a lighter workload; the preseason is so important because during the season there are so many tournaments that you have to have time to rest and recover, so all that can be done in training is maintenance and game play work.
What’s the best place you’ve got to travel to for Volleyball?
I’ve been to loads of cool places in the last few years, but I think the best place I’ve been was Lucerne in Switzerland for the U21 World Championship.The venue was right next to a massive lake, with snow-topped mountains in the background and an awesome cultured city that was always buzzing. The people were amazing and to have such a stunning back drop when playing the sport you love was so special.
What’s the biggest challenge you face as a player?
There's probably 2; one is the fact that Beach Volleyball is a minority sport in the Uk, which makes it difficult to secure funding as well as consistently train and compete at the level found within Europe and the rest of the world. There is also the challenge of balancing Beach Volleyball with my studies; it's difficult to invest all of your energy and focus into one but not the other.
Any top tips for someone looking to join a team?
There's loads of indoor Volleyball teams around the country that people can look at joining; The Volleyball England website has all the information for people looking to start playing. I’d also say don’t be afraid to get out there and play, just turn up and have some fun, the Volleyball family is so big and everyone will make you feel welcome.
What is the best thing you’ve learnt whilst competing?
The one thing I’ve learnt is that no matter how good you think you are, there is ALWAYS someone out there who is better. There's a big world out there of people, both in and out of sport, who have lots of experience and expertise, who work very hard and are very passionate about what they do. Therefore, you have to be extremely disciplined, motivated and driven in whatever you do to achieve your desired goals. Nothing is given, there is no right to win or achieve, it must be earned!
What are your training goals?
My goals in training are to always be little better after every session and to always have something to work on specifically in every session. I also aim to leave everything out on the court and to give 100% in every session so that one day I can be competing at the highest level on the world stage.
What attracts you to Sundried?
I love the ethos behind Sundried, about seeking to be extraordinary and always starving for more. The apparel is first class and sustainable for future generations, something which I believe is very relevant to sport as well as life. Sundried believes in leaving a legacy for future generations and I hope that one day I can provide a legacy for generations of players to come.