Alyssa Slagerman began playing beach volleyball two years ago at the young age of 13. Now, as a sophomore at Archer, Slagerman is entering her third year of play.
With the growing popularity of sand volleyball throughout the United States, the sport is recognized as an emerging sport for women in colleges as of August 2010, according to the NCAA. Archer is one of 55 high schools that has a Varsity girls’ beach volleyball team participating in the 2015 Spring season under the Interscholastic Beach Volleyball League (IBVL) in Southern California.
Although Slagerman isn’t participating in Archer’s Varsity beach volleyball team this year, she is training independently to make a name for herself on the beach.
In an email interview with the Oracle, Slagerman shares her passion and experiences as a competitive beach volleyball player.
How did you become interested in beach volleyball?
AS: During my second year of indoor club volleyball, my coach was a beach player and suggested that I give it a try. He told me that it would really improve my indoor game so I gave it a shot. I fell in love with the game immediately and as time progressed I began to play more and more beach until I decided to play only sand volleyball, 1 year ago.
What beach volleyball club do you play for?
AS: I play for a beach volleyball club called Santa Monica Beach Volleyball Club (SMBVC). My coach’s name is Dane Selznick. He coached Misty May Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings in the 2004 Athens Olympics and helped them win the gold.
How often do you practice?
AS: During the school year, I practice with Santa Monica Beach Volleyball Club 3 days a week and lift in the gym to improve my vertical leap and strength 2 days a week.
Who is your beach partner?
AS: I do not have a set beach partner. Over the course of this past summer and into the off-season this year, I played with 25 different partners. While this is unusual, I truly believe that it helps make me a more well-rounded player. I have to constantly adjust my playing style, and it forces me to broaden my skill set and ability to support all different types of players. It also just keeps things interesting.
Which beach tournaments do you usually participate in?
AS: I pretty much play every beach tournament that is going on. During the off season (school year) I play tournaments on the weekends when there are some, and during the summer, I play 5-6 tournaments per week, including tournaments run by AAU, CBVA, USAV, NVL, EVP, BCVA, etc.
What are your favorite subjects?
AS: My favorite subjects are ceramics and fitness.
How do you balance schoolwork with beach volleyball?
AS: I find that balancing schoolwork with beach volleyball becomes easier as I get busier and busier with training and playing. My love of the sport motivates me to get my work done so that I can go to practices and trainings regularly.
What are your favorite activities other than playing beach?
AS: Besides beach volleyball, I enjoy exercising, playing the ukulele, singing and being around my friends.
Who is your role model?
AS: My role model is Misty May Treanor. Misty is a 3-time Olympic gold medalist in women’s beach volleyball, and of all the amazing players out there, she is the one I look up to most. Not because of her accomplishments, but because of her work ethic and drive. Being on the smaller side of the women she was competing with, (which I can relate to), she had to work extra hard to be the best. For this I admire her, and strive to be like her.
What are some of the accomplishments that you are most proud of or that are most significant in your beach volleyball career?
AS: Of all of the things that I have accomplished on the beach, I truly take pride in the strides I have made in improving as an athlete, teammate and competitor, not the medals and tournaments that I have won. It has honestly changed and essentially taken over my life! I am proud of my passion and motivation and I am proud of the person that this sport has caused to me become. I love the lifestyle that I’m living, relationships I have made and experiences I have shared all because of beach volleyball.