I'm SUPER Unathletic: Is It Possible for Me to Become a Beach Volleyball Player?

Don't let the below picture fool you. I am not a volleyball player.

Brittney holding a volleyball

In fact, I am not an athlete of any sort. My only attempts at playing sports in high school were failed attempts.

Soccer? Wasn't a fast runner. Softball? Scared of the ball. Basketball? Not tall enough. You get the picture.

I've always been one to make excuses or get discouraged if I'm not immediately good at something, and that's probably why the above sports never worked out for me—I gave up before I even gave learning a real chance.

What's This All About?

And that's what brought me to this post. I've recently moved to a beach town in California where it seems like everyone I know plays (and is amazing at) beach volleyball.

I vowed to myself upon moving, that I would learn to play the sport, so I signed myself up for a six-week beginners' course where I will learn the fundamentals of volleyball, become more confident in my skills as an athlete and hopefully finally complete something I begin.

I want to take you on this journey with me, so I'll be documenting my progress and revealing to you what I'm learning about the sport and myself along the way.

The Rules

Before I even signed up for the volleyball class, I decided I needed to sit down and write down the rules I would follow during the course of this challenge. Here's what I came up with:

  • Attend class every Sunday morning from 9am-12pm (with the exception of one weekend, when I'm out of town 😏)
  • Practice drills on my own time at least twice a week
  • Ask the coach, teammates and friends questions if I don't understand how something works
  • Request feedback
  • Run at least two times a week (because I've got to keep up on the cardio if I don't want to pass out🏃🏼)
  • Document my experiences and report them back to you

By following these guidelines, I'm hoping that it will help me stay accountable for this challenge. This is all about seeing progress from start to finish.

Beginning Something New

With the guidelines laid out, a slab of sunscreen on my face and a desire to learn, I eagerly headed down to the beach last Sunday for my first ever class.

Luckily for me, I got my (actually athletic) co-worker Ashley to sign up with me for moral support and to be an eyewitness to my transformation.

Within minutes of the class beginning, I could already tell that the group of people participating in our beginner course were going to be supportive.

Brittney and Ashley at first volleyball class in Hermosa Beach

There's a variety of ages and skill levels in our class—including a ten year old boy, who kicked my butt—so I felt pretty confident that I wouldn't stand out as a newbie.

Even though everyone in the class is a beginner, I realized almost all the students had some rookie experience and knew the basic rules, techniques and mechanics of the sport.

Normally, I would instantly be intimidated, self conscious and scared to play with people above my skill level, but as part of this journey, I knew this couldn't be the case, so I instantly began asking questions.

I asked our coach, *Bob, to correct my stance, look at how I was hitting the ball and just give me as much feedback as possible. If I'm going to do well in this sport I realize I have to start out with a solid foundation. He was eager and happy to help me.

After three hours of intense drills in the blazing sun, the first class was complete, and I walked away feeling like I got more out of the experience then expected.

What I Hope to Learn

Although I've only been to one class and practiced on my own once outside of that class, I can already perceive what will be my greatest strengths and weaknesses in this challenge.

Immediately following class I scribbled down what those will be:

Strengths:

  • My ability to ask questions
  • My ability to take constructive criticism and truly listen to any piece of advice my coach has to offer

Weaknesses:

  • My extreme fear of failure
  • My lack of confidence in myself and unwillingness to accept that I'm not going to be pro over night

What these strengths and weaknesses tell me is that I have a whole lot of work to do before I can consider myself a beach volleyball player. Each week I hope to see my confidence in my abilities and in myself grow. And by the end of all of this, I hope to get on that court totally fearless and play a game start to finish. Winning will be a bonus.

Stay tuned for my next piece!

*Name has been changed.

 

So I'm a week deep into this and still not a master of beach volleyball, but one thing I have mastered is overcoming my shyness. See HERE how one embarrassing and bashful moment helped shape me into the person I am today.