It’s been a crazy, fun, and challenging 4 days at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Chula Vista, California while attending the High Performance Junior Beach Volleyball Elite Camp.
First of all, with the mountainous backdrop behind the sand courts things were a bit different from Texas (there was a lake too for the rowing team!). Then, the weather was breezy with temps never climbing above 80 degrees. Now, the OTC has a BMX ramp (from the Beijing Olympics), an archery range, and all the other sports facilities for all the Olympics sports.
Coaching staff included Pro Beach volleyball players (a few from Brazil) and longtime USAV coaches.
The camp was hosting numerous Russian junior players and coaches that trained with us. We had translators to help us communicate during training. The Russians were all very tall and extremely athletic! It was fun to learn some Russian from them. They were very friendly and fun to play with.
The daily training routine started with dynamic warm-up and a warm-up game called Newcombe. Each day focused on specific skills. For example, one day we focused on the technicality of passing incorporating ‘bump set’ or ‘hand set’. This led to drills utilizing line and cut shots. In the evening, there were some education sessions in the OTC auditorium such as a session on analyzing game film – your own and your favorite professional player.
On the last day, we had a mini-tourney. Most teams paired an American and a Russian. It was a challenging tournament but fun as well! At the end of the camp, I left the OTC knowing more about beach volleyball and met other players from across the US and Russia as well! It was one of kind experience that I will always remember.