Tag Archives: beach volleyball

Preventing Beach Volleyball Shoulder Injuries

Beach volleyball season is just about ready to start here in Kansas City – two weeks until we don our sand socks and step out onto the sand at Volleyball Beach.  I’m excited – it’s been five months since I’ve played a competitive game out on the sand, so I’m very much looking forward to stepping out on the courts and getting my groove back on.  The first week or two is going to hurt, but that’s the price I pay for complete sloth during the off-season.

However, one thing I’m determined to avoid this year is shoulder injuries.  I made a sacrificing dive on the hardwood last year on the first play of the first game of indoor volleyball season (yes, I know it was stupid to lay out on the hardwood) and ended up messing up my shoulder.  After visiting the doc when it wasn’t better after a couple of months he told me to take it easy on it…so I learned how to hit with my left hand.  I’m good now – and determined not to re-injure it.

Based on a study of volleyball injuries, it’s estimated that 25% of volleyball players experience shoulder pain.  It’s easy to see why – the intent of a spike is to hit the ball as hard as possible, which means extending your arm and then swinging your arm hard – something that puts tremendous strain on your shoulder.  Couple that with the shock when you lay out for a ball with an extended arm and land hard and it’s a wonder that 25% is the estimate and not 75%.

Prevention is pretty easy, however, and while it may not prevent 100% of the injuries to your shoulder it can certainly minimize them.

To start with, always warm-up.  Warming up improves circulation to the muscles which – literally – warms them up.  Arm swings are one of my favorites, but anything that dynamically stretches the shoulder muscles works.  Check out this link for some good ones.

During the game, know your limits.  If you feel your shoulder tightening up take some time and stretch it.  If you feel sharp pain STOP.  If you need to sit out a play do it – don’t sacrifice your long-term shoulder health for a short-term win.  There’s some validity to “play through the pain”, but don’t be stupid about it.

Finally, warm-down.  This is something I’m pretty bad at – when I’m done it’s usually after three or four hours straight of playing and the last thing I want to do (especially early on in the season) is exercise some more; all I want to do is rest.  While warming-down is not likely to prevent injuries immediately, what it does do is increase your flexibility for the next session.  Warming down helps increase your muscles range of motion, giving you a better starting point for next time.

With beach volleyball season getting underway make sure you get the opportunity to enjoy the full season and don’t find yourself sidelined with a shoulder injury.

(post image – and tips – courtesy of My Housecall MD)

Can’t Touch This, Beach Volleyball Edition

Misty May-Treanor may have 41 World Tour gold medals under her belt.  She may have locked up three World Championships.  And she may have a couple of Olympic gold medals hanging around her neck.  But she’s not done yet.

In an interview with Big Lead Sports, Misty mad it clear that while she and her partner for the last decade, Kerri Walsh, may have accomplished everything they can in beach volleyball, they’re not over.  “I wouldn’t say that we are going to London a little more relaxed than before, but we don’t have to go there to prove ourselves.  That said, we still want to set marks that cannot be touched by anyone.”

That’s the fire I love about the best women’s beach volleyball due ever to step onto the sand (and arguably the best ever, although I’m still partial to the Karch Kiraly/Sinjin Smith team).  If I can paraphrase what she’s saying – “Your grandkid’s grandkids will know all about Team May-Treanor/Walsh when we’re done.”  It doesn’t get any more dominant than that.

I was trying to remember who Misty played with before she and Kerri teamed up in the early part of this century.  I looked it up (gotta love Wikipedia) and about fell out of my chair – it was Holly McPeak.  Yes – THAT Holly McPeak.  Unfortunately that team didn’t work, but fortunately Misty and Kerri hooked up and the rest, as they say, is history.

I can’t wait – July 27 is fast approaching, and with it the 2012 Olympics in London.

And, perhaps, yet another entry into the record books for team May-Treanor/Walsh.

(post image courtesy of FIVB)

Volleyball: Fall Week Nine

It’s over.

After twenty-nine weeks of fun in the sand, the 2011 season of beach volleyball is over for me.

Let’s do the math.  An average of 10 teams per season (ten hours per week) x 3 games per hour x 27 weeks (let’s assume we lost two full weeks to weather).  That’s 810 games of volleyball.  And that doesn’t include the fill-ins or the pick-up games.  Or the tournaments, for that matter – which add another probably 100+ games to that number.

That is a lot of volleyball.

And what’s better is I wouldn’t trade it for anything – it was by far the best year of volleyball on the sand I’ve had…EVER.

Sunday was a great night – and the perfect ending to Sunday night volleyball for 2011.  I subbed in with a really fun team at 6 and 7 (we won five of six), and we finished off our quads team by winning all three.  The last point of the game was a beautiful kill by Taylor on one of my better sets of the night (I was actually setting pretty well – not perfectly by any means but only a few completely errant ones).

Tuesday was a fun night, despite the fact it was something like negative seventy-five degrees Celsius outside for the 7:15 and 8:15 games.  Despite wearing socks under my sand socks, three pairs of pants/shorts and three shirts the blood in my veins actually froze before the night was over.  Luckily I kept moving so my body didn’t realize it was supposed to seize up and keel over, so I was OK until I got inside.  Game-wise we were 4-2; 3-0 playing quads for 7:15 hour and 1-2 playing for first place (we got second) at 8:15 against Matt, Lauren, Rich and team.  Great games, and I actually got a number of pretty good hits/blocks in.

Wednesday we started strong and ended strong.  8-1 was our final record – nothing to sneeze at in the least.  We took the towels with a 2-1 record at 6:15, then proceeded to sweep the next six games despite the chill wind that ran across the sand from time to time.  Congrats team!  And, to quote Chris:  “See ya on the other side!”  Only about five months until Spring season picks up…

Thursday – the last night of volleyball (I don’t count Monday’s make up as a last night – it was Thursday, that’s it).  It was chilly – not quite as bad as Tuesday, but not exactly a balmy day on the beaches of Jamaica, either.  We didn’t play extraordinarily well, probably because everybody was down that it was the last night.  We dropped all three at 6:15 in our quest for first place (we ended up in second), then two of three at 7:15 in a fun battle against Jason & Heather’s team.  At 8:15 we needed three wins to take over first place from All That…and we got none of them, although we played much better than we had the last time we matched up against them.  At 9:15 quads our opposing team didn’t show up so we played against Solomon, Susie, John and Wade who were battling for first place (but their opponent didn’t show up, either).  We took the first game and then dropped the next two, albeit close matches.  Then it was a couple of hours of hanging out inside, spending time with all the Thursday night friends who were doing the same thing.  When I finally bailed around 1:15 or so there were still quite a few folks hanging out inside not willing to let go of the season.

Now it’s time to look forward to the Halloween Party (Friday, October 28th) and the occasional day when they open the Beach up for some much needed mid-winter sand volleyball.

Thanks again to all my friends (old and new), Howard and the crew up at Volleyball Beach for another great year!

A Little Dustup At The AVP…

Somebody is not happy.

Apparently April Ross, who is not going to play in the 2011 AVP Championship today in Huntington Beach, took exception to the AVP suggesting it was because they were “tired”.  Ross, who along with her partner Jen Kessy (the duo that won the tournament a couple of years ago), will not be at the tournament.  Nor, for that matter, will Kerri Walsh, Misty May, Todd Rogers or Phil Dalhausser.

The AVP, which is going through some rather difficult times (shutting the doors last year, some scheduling conflicts and now a significant change to the lineup of players in the Championship) right now, and this would seem to be another potential black-eye.  Or maybe not – it could be as benign as a misunderstanding.

April noted on her Facebook page (courtesy of Volleywood):

Just want to let everyone know that Jen and I are choosing to not play in the AVP this weekend for a lot of reasons, but being “tired” as reported by the AVP is NOT one of them. We only want to participate in events that strive to further the sport professionally. A few entities worked their butts off this year to do that and we feel playing in this one off exhibition being marketed as a “Championship” only hinders the efforts of those truly working for the players and our sport.


I won’t pretend to have any idea what drove that; I’m nowhere near close enough to the situation to give you “the inside scoop”.  Nor will I take sides – we’re all adults around here, and I gave up trying to take sides without enough pertinent information to make an informed decision about the fifth grade.

But I am disappointed that the AVP is not viewed by one of the premier beach volleyball players in the world as an entity that’s not truly working for the players and the sport.  I’m not suggest she’s wrong in her assessment (nor am I suggesting she’s right) – just that the perception by this dominant player is that the AVP is hindering that goal.

I do, however, agree somewhat with April’s statement that “a few entities worked their butts off this year” – and if you’ll recall the reason they worked their butts off is because they had to make up for the gap that the AVP going under created.  On the other hand, though, while it may not be a true “championship” I am glad to see the AVP getting back into the game – I think they can bring a lot to the table.

Hopefully this minor dust-up settles down and we get back to normalcy.

For those of you interested in watching it, you can watch the AVP Championship – presented by Juice It Up – online by clicking here or going to AVPChampionships.com.

Kudos In Order

I want to say kudos to Chickenscratch (my awesome long-time sand volleyball team) for our play in the tournament of champions today.  Although we dropped in quarters we did enter the tournament after taking 1st place in the fall season for 7:15 Tuesdays and ended up 2nd seeded after pool play.  It’s always a blast playing with y’all – can’t wait for spring season to roll around.  I’m all about repeating. 🙂

Great job Lisa, Drew, Michele, Mike, Julie, Dean, LeNora and Robb!

Side note – don’t forget to send your e-mail address to Continue reading Kudos In Order

Leaving It All On The Court

I learned something this weekend at volleyball.

Played in the Engineers Without Borders sand volleyball tournament out at Volleyball Beach yesterday.  I didn’t play with any of my “normal” teams (none of the seven different teams I play on during the week) and instead decided to piece together a team to play, figuring it would be a good time and a chance to have fun without any of the pressures of being “expected” to win (I’m blessed to play on some pretty good teams).  Sara, who’s run the EWB tournament the last couple of years, does a great job so win/lose/draw it’s always a good time.

So I put a request out on Twitter (you can find me there as @PaulGillespie if you’re on Twitter – and if you’re not you should be!) for some teammates.

I did get one response – I’m not sure how many of my 185 followers live in Kansas City – that Continue reading Leaving It All On The Court