A young team of beach volleyball athletes, along with their young coach, are having a strong summer.
Recently the U14 team, comprised of Victoria Lockridge and Bailey Donison, were guided by 14-year-old coach Emily Parker to earn silver at an Alberta Volleyball Association tournament in Sylvan Lake. For Donison the game was a close one where heat and rough sand created a tough challenge for them.
Donison praised Parker for helping the team perform well.
Parker played beach volleyball this year for Ponoka Secondary Campus and was asked to guide the young team, which started practising just as the school year was coming to a close. Coaching is a completely new way of looking at beach volleyball.
“It’s different,” explained Parker. “Because you’re not the one playing, you’re the one telling advice.”
“Beach is more of a mental game than just a physical game. You have to be smarter than hitting harder.”
Lockridge agrees. With beach volleyball a team has to stay focused and be able to think strategically.
“It doesn’t depend on how hard you hit it (the ball), it depends on where you put it,” said Lockridge.
Equally important is strong communication with each other, she added. As a team of two, the athletes must rely on each other to bring each other up, and help them bounce back from a tough play.
“They have to want to be there and they have to want to fight,” added Parker.
“I always told them that when you see the other one’s down you have to bring them up.”
All three athletes compete with the Rage club volleyball teams and they have enjoyed continuing the game with beach volleyball. Their performance in Sylvan Lake went well considering there were 28 teams in two pools vying for top spot.
The girls are next heading to youth beach provincials in Calgary from Saturday, Aug. 7 and 8.