I Tried to Transform Myself Into a Beach Volleyball Player in Six Weeks—Here's What I Learned

If you've been following my journey to become a beach volleyball player, you know I'm the first to admit that I am not, and have never been, recognized for my athletic skills.

So, that's why six weeks ago I decided to take a risk, face my fears and embark on what I hoped would be a truly transformative experience that would test my athleticism.

Brittney practicing volleyball

My Journey So Far

In my two previous posts, I revealed to you the point of this whole challenge: to learn the fundamentals of volleyball and become more confident in myself on and off the court.

I enrolled in a six-week Sunday morning beach volleyball class and set out goals and guidelines to help make sure I was tracking my progress.

My six weeks are up, and I am happy to report I successfully completed this challenge!

When I began, I explained to you that my biggest setbacks in past experiences with sports is I'd give up, get discouraged and make excuses if I wasn't instantly an overnight pro.

This time around, I didn't give up and I didn't make excuses, but I did learn to deal with the fact that I can't be good at everything immediately. Here's how my remaining classes and practices helped me reach my ultimate goal.

The Final Countdown

The last two classes were really a test of how much I had learned and grown in this process.

I'd be lying if I said that I was ready and eager to attend my last two sessions, this was, after all, my fifth and sixth weekend of waking up early on a Sunday morning. I went nevertheless, and I'm really glad that I did.

My final class is where I felt like everything I'd done started adding up and equaling results. By running two times a week I worked up enough endurance to make it across the court faster and with more ease. By practicing drills on my own I improved my overall passing skills and ability to serve consistently.

All of the extra work was worth it, and it didn't go unrecognized. In my final class, my coach approached my volleyball partner-in-crime Ashley and me, and congratulated us on our vast improvement. He asked if we'd been practicing on our own because he could see from week one to week six, progress had been made.

Brittney and Ashley at volleyball

These words of affirmation were exactly what I needed to finish off my last class with a bang.

The final exercise we did to wrap up our course was play a simple game of three-on-three. I helped lead my team to victory—another confidence-booster.

The Ultimate Test

Even though my six-week course ended, I knew I needed one final challenge to finish off my experience and truly test my new abilities.

So, I decided to invite my volleyball friends Candace and Jack down to the beach for a day of sun, relaxation and… a real game of volleyball.

I'm not talking about an easy and carefree game with my beginner classmates, I'm talking a game with athletes, people skilled in the sport and people with a hunger to win.

Candace and Jack agreed to join and were excited to see how much I had learned. I was scared to say the least.

Game Day

On the big game day, I headed down to the beach, not sure whether I was about to totally embarrass myself or totally impress my friends who hadn't seen me practice in a couple weeks. Thank goodness Candace was there to calm me down and pump me up for my big debut.

Brittney and her friend at the beach

We stretched, split up into teams, and next thing I knew I was crouched down, hands on my knees and ready to begin.

The first few minutes of the game were rough, but I was paired with three guys who encouraged and complimented me when I did something right.

When it was my turn to set the ball, I was a ball of nerves. I didn't have much experience in this position considering I'd only practiced a few setting drills with my friends and coach.

The ball came over the net, my teammate behind me passed it to me and then, without hesitation or doubt, I set that ball straight up into the air.

I did it. And I continued to do it. I passed and set the ball consistently throughout the game. Not perfectly, but still I was actually doing it! And doing it because I believed I could.

I played the game from start to finish, and thanks to my teammates, we won not one, but two games right off the bat.

If six weeks ago you told me I'd one day have the confidence to play a full game of beach volleyball, I'd have a hard time believing you. If you told me we'd win, I'd be shocked.

Learnings

At the beginning of this process, I wrote down what I thought would be my strengths and weaknesses in this journey.

These were my biggest weaknesses:

  • Extreme fear of failure
  • Lack of confidence in myself and unwillingness to accept that I'm not going to be pro overnight

Even though I have improved immensely, I occasionally have fears of failure and a lack of confidence in myself. I am only human.

But, you know what? The fear is present less and less, and my confidence is growing more and more. I proved to myself that I can complete something start to finish, I can push my limits and I don't have to be instantly great at everything.

I can enjoy something because it challenges me, it pushes me to grow and it inspires me to work harder.

Brittney with a volleyball

What now? Just because class is over doesn't mean the learning stops. I plan on taking another course, keeping up with my running schedule and playing more with friends and teammates who can help me improve.

I'm a work in progress, and I wouldn't say I'm pro, but hey, I'm confident enough in my skills to say I am a beach volleyball player now.

 

If you didn't catch my whole journey from start to finish, check out my first post HERE and learn what made me decide to take this challenge.