You’ve seen it a million times: a great local team that consistently makes deep runs in tournaments and then when they head to a different state or region, and they get their butts kicked by the local teams there!? Why is that? Here are five tips to keep what happened to me from happening to you. (Keeping in mind, that I didn’t qualify for my first AVP main draw until my 19th try.)
- Arrive to the tournament site a day early: When the stakes are high, like in AVP or NVL tournaments, arrive the day before your scheduled to play. Once there, find the courts and get a good stretch since most likely it’s been a long day of travel. Then get 45 minutes to an hour of good hard reps. Practice serve receive, transition setting, serving and get some good swing/shot reps. This is your only time you have to get use to the conditions so you need to get a feel for your comfort level of the site, but don’t overdo it. You want to get a good sweat in but not wear yourself out for the next day.
- You’re there to win: After getting your reps, it’s time to grab a good, healthy meal and get some rest. There is always time after the tourney to grab a beer and stay out late. Your job is to be at your best the following day. It’s always nice if you have a friends place to crash at that night, but if the situation isn’t ideal (a bed or nice coach), grab a room at the Red Roof Inn for $50 a night. If you’re spending big bucks to get to a tournament, why waste your money getting bounced in the 8am match because you only got 4 hours of sleep on someone’s floor?
- On gameday, get there early: Ok, it’s gameday! Get up a few hours before your scheduled match, grab a healthy breakfast and get to the site an hour before you play. That gives you enough time to get stretched and warm up. Don’t be afraid to go to the medical tent. They are there to help you stretch or with any nagging injuries. Most new players are afraid to head to the medical tent for some reason. Remember, you paid the same entry fee as that big name guys like Jon Drake… so use the services you paid for. Once you are loose, make sure you break a sweat before you step on the court. Most times you only get a 10 minute warm up, so use that time wisely.
- Play your game, but be ready to adjust on the fly: Go into each match with a game plan, but don’t be afraid to make changes. If you normally like a high set but it’s windy and you’re not hitting well, change to something lower. Volleyball is a game of adjustments. Since you’ll probably be playing a team you don’t know much about, it’s likely that the team that makes the quicker/better adjustments will probably be the team that moves on to the next round.
- Enjoy yourself: Most people will just laugh this one off, but it’s probably the most important thing to remember. If you’re out there smiling, joking and having fun, odds are you will play better. So remember, if your name isn’t Phil or Tri , you’re probably not going to make a living at beach volleyball. So enjoy each experience!
Article written/owned by CHAOS BEACH VOLLEYBALL #teamchaosbeachvb Professional Beach Volleyball Athlete, Chris Luers. www.facebook.com/DrakeLuersProBVB