KAITLYN KNOBLAUCH

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I started playing volleyball almost 2 years ago. At first, I started with indoor and then found myself on the beach. I started as a beginner learning from the best – Rose Washington! Before I knew it, I became part of Sandstorm. Sandstorm has a great group of coaches that are dedicated, they help the players strive to be the best and are passionate about the sport. With a lot of dedication, hard work and great coaching I’ve improved my game immensely. I’ve also met a bunch of really nice girls that are as passionate about the sport as I am.

         I look forward to training every week and I really like participating in tournaments. The best part of beach volleyball is that it’s only you and a partner and you get more touches on the ball. Playing on sand is definitely challenging but there is nothing more exciting than long rallies and getting impossible balls while soaking in the hot sun. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of hard work running around in the sand and covering a vast area but at the end of the day it is very rewarding. The best part is that I never get tired of the sport and always find a way to practice or play.

         People dream all the time. My dream is to continue loving beach volleyball and staying dedicated while trying to one day make it on a college team. With the positive and dedicated coaches I have there should be no reason why my dream won’t turn into a reality. At the end of the day, I am learning a lifelong sport that will continue through adulthood.

- Kaitlyn

MEGHAN MURRAY

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I started playing volleyball when I was nine years old. I never thought I would be where I am today. I started at the rec level, then did a few beach clinics with Sandstorms old Volleykids and fell in love with it. It has been my passion ever since. I have done 3 years of travel indoor volleyball with Sandstorm's indoor team Storm and 3 years with Sandstorms Beach Club. I have learned so much of the game of volleyball with these indoor seasons. My heart though would always pull me back to the beach. I am starting on my 4th season with Sandstorm Beach Volleyball Club.

I love the feeling I get when I step on to a beach court. I started with indoor, but that feeling is not the same. I love how much control you have as a player when playing beach volleyball. Aside from the more time you actually have with the ball, beach lets you develop as an all around player playing defensively and offensively. Beach volleyball allows your skills to continually grow especially your mental game. I love working with a partner and strategizing on the court. It's nice to be able to work different plays while competing. Every match is a learning experience and competing often in tournaments helps elevate my game.

I have gained so much knowledge and experience from the coaching and fellow athletes at Sandstorm. I was so slow and tiny when I first started. I could barely serve the ball over the net and pass. After years of training with coaches Rose, Jay, Morgan, Rick and Tammy I have come so far and elevated my game. They are always great at correcting my game while I practice and give have given me the tools to succeed on the court. Conditioning with Coach Orville has helped my vertical jump and strength. The coaching at Sandstorm is always motivating me to up my game to the next level. There is so much talent at this club. It is also great to know that if I decide to pursue beach volleyball at the college level, Sandstorm will be there to help me on my journey. Even my older teammates have helped me along the way with pointers while competing or even just at practice. Sandstorm is not only a beach volleyball club, it is family. I am so happy I found club with such dedicated coaches, fellow players and families. They have loved me like my own family over the years. They have watched me grow and supported me along the way. All of the experiences, memories, friendships and connections I will take with me on my journey through life.

-Meghan Murray

RILEY BAER

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I started playing beach volleyball when I was 8 years old. I have been playing volleyball for almost 4 years now!   I loved the sport from the start and since the beginning, I felt I was good at it. Joining Sandstorm was so much fun because I made a lot of really good friends and I love the coaches. From the beginning, they encouraged me to enter every tournament that I could to get as much experience as possible. I played many tournaments with my sister and then with my Sandstorm friends, Bobby and Cody, who are great players and a lot of fun!

Lately, I have been working hard on my offense. Playing Beach Volleyball has given me a lot of confidence and is so much fun to be around friends that love the sport just like me.  Another reason why I love volleyball is that it keeps me healthy and it's a great workout too. I live and play volleyball at Delray Beach Florida.  Besides all the training,  my familyand I go to the beach to play with the Delray Crowd in the afternoons.  I mostly love the feeling of being at the beach and it makes me feel good like I am in paradise.

I am very proud to be the youngest girl on the new Sandstorm Winter Team. Im looking forward to training and playing with them.  I am now 11 years old and I am training and playing with 14 and 15 year old girls that I look up to!  Volleyball is my passion and I will try hard to play Beach Volleyball in College.

- Riley Baer

ALI DENNY – University of South Carolina

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Being a division 1 volleyball player takes time, passion, effort, and focus, but, if volleyball is your passion then it's all fun and worth it. To be a division 1 player, the first step is to make a list of schools that you think would fit you. Don't make a decision on a school because you just love the coach or your friend is going there too. Make the decision because you love the school itself too. There's a school for everyone and the right one will find you. Another thing to keep in mind is most of the growing we do happens between your junior and senior years of high school so don't rush the decision because you want to say you're committed! I didn't commit until the end of summer going into my senior year of high school! And so much changed for me since that summer so be patient. 

Remember, you're going to school to be a STUDENT athlete. Your grades matter! That's something I didn't realize until it was almost too late. Get into good study habits early is so important because it will come with you to college and college academics is a whole different ball game. But if you know how to study and what methods work for you, it can be easy and fun because you will be learning and taking classes that you want to take. 

Time management can make or break you. The NCAA has requirements and so do the schools themselves and some are different than others. The NCAA requires athletes to have a 2.0 average however some coaches require a 3.0. 

College athletics is an intimidating passion! But it's so much fun and so worth every bit of sweat, tears, and time. I love being a college athlete and playing volleyball against the best competition in the country! 

Remember that coaches look at you as more than just a volleyball player. They want to know that you will represent their programs in a positive way and that you can get along with the team and teammates. 

Be the team's number one fan and everything else will fall into place. 

- Ali Denny

HALEY ST MARTIN

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I started playing volleyball at the rec. level four years ago.  Immediately, the game impacted my life.  I knew quickly that I had found the sport that I was passionate about.  I started to get increasingly competitive in my playing and I heard about Delray Beach Juniors indoor team and decided to try it.  I have been with Sandstorm indoor and beach for two years.  I have grown as a player more than I ever thought possible.    The coaching and conditioning staff are wonderful. I learn something new at every practice.  I learn about my game physically and mentally.   I have built on previously known skills (serving, passing and hitting) and learned new skills (blocking and setting).  Before I started indoor/club, I didn’t even know what blocking was.  Now, I am a middle and have learned how to effectively block in indoor and on the beach.  My first summer on the beach I did well but I was still trying to learn the rules, playing in the wind, and ball control.  

This summer I have improved much more and have even medaled in four tournaments.       I enjoy playing both beach and indoor volleyball.  I know that learning beach volleyball and conditioning on the beach has helped me as an overall player.  I feel like I am in better shape and I have more stamina to play the game.  I am playing better on the beach and I am jumping higher for hitting and blocking both indoor and beach.     Being a part of Sandstorm has given me the opportunity to gain new friends and family.  The players, coaches and parents are very supportive.  They all want you to improve and will work with you until they see you improve.  I can go to practice and feel comfortable in a positive environment. I have gained confidence in myself on and off the court.  Sandstorm has given me connections and friendships that will last a lifetime.  

Hayley St. Martin

OLIVIA BARNEY

When I began playing volleyball, I didn't expect to be where i am today. I started playing rec ball and was invited by a friend to try beach volleyball at Sandstorm. I immediately fell in love with the sport. After that day,  I haven't wanted to stop playing. I have been playing for 3 years and I have gained skills that will forever help me in indoor or beach. I have learned to hit, serve, and block. I have been taught how to look at the court differently and pick out the open places on the court and much much more. I also have become a more competitive player.  I learn something from every practice and tournament and become stronger each time, no matter if I win or lose.

Sandstorm definitely helped me when it came to trying out for my middle school team. I made the team as a 6th grader and grew into being the captain on my team.

What I didn't expect when I began to play volleyball with Sandstorm was that I would gain another family. Sandstorm beach volleyball has given me people to talk to and people who care about me. At practices I always have a friend and I know that I will always have someone there for me. I met my best friend from Sandstorm and us having volleyball in common has only helped us get closer.

At the beginning of this year I hurt my shoulder and I didn't realize how i took beach volleyball for granted. Sandstorm was there for me and kept me strong and supported me through it all. When I was able to get back to playing,  the coaches helped me gain my strength and skills. I washelped by Orville, (our conditioning coach) how to keep my shoulder healthy so hopefully I don't injure it later in my volleyball career.

I came to Sandstorm with hardly any volleyball skills and no second family and have gained it all from just signing up for this club. I will forever love the coaches and players here and I know they will always be there for me.  I can't wait to see what my future and the future of Sandstorm looks like!!

- Olivia Barney

TAYLOR BENSEMA

When I started playing volleyball three years ago, I had no idea how far I would come. Beach and indoor have improved my game in many ways. I have the ability to make decisions in a split second, communicate effectively, move with agility, and it has helped me come out of my shell. Being with Sandstorm has definitely helped me accomplish this. The coaches and players have been like my extended family these past years and I wouldn't trade them or the experience for anything.

     When I stopped playing softball four years ago I had no idea volleyball would be my next conquest. I saw a friend playing and immediately fell in love with the sport. There's a spark I get when I'm playing, whether it be at a tournament or just practice, that makes me excited to play. I'm very competitive and I love to win so drills and queens at practice helps put forth the effort to do so. We goof off at practice sometimes, but when it's time to play we take the sport very seriously and focus.

     Everyone at Sandstorm has been so welcoming and kindhearted that you can't help but want to be part of the family. We can be joking as a family one minute and the next practicing as coach and player. We know our roles in the club and will do anything to fulfill them to our best ability. I know that anything is possible with the help and experience given to me by Sandstorm and I will be forever grateful.

- Taylor Bensema

 

RON CLAPP

When I started playing beach volleyball, 4 years ago, I could not have possibly imagined how much I'd love the sport and the experiences it would give me.  I started playing with my mom and her friends and saw how much fun and competitive this sport was. At the time, I was already into tennis and baseball but Volleyball quickly became my sole passion.  As I got more into volleyball, I couldn't fathom the chances and things I would get to do with a Volleyball in hand.  Very soon I started training with some of the area's best coaches. When SandStorm first started, I couldn't wait to go to practice.  My new Volleyball Family has been with me encouraging, coaching and inspiring me.   As I grew as a player, so did my goals and I knew that practicing every day was mandatory to reach every goal.

When I get on the court in a tournament I feel an adrenaline rush.  I try to Keep my cool and focus on the strategy of the game.  I like evolving in the play and trying to manipulate the other side of the net. As my play level improves, the game also becomes harder but I welcome the challenge. I have practice each shot hundreds of times, but knowing when to do each shot comes with experience. 

Defense is also a thrill.  I enjoy reading and anticipating an opponent's next move and picking up their hits.  I have some major volleyball goals like participating in the Olympics and competing professionally.  With hard work,  practice and the coaching at SandStorm I believe it is possible.

MALIA OSBOURNE

These last three years of my life have been the best years of my life.  When I first started playing beach volleyball, I did not think I would be where I am today. Through hard work and passion, I have accomplished and learned so much.  But I never would have been able to do it all without the Sandstorm Family I have become a part of.  We have created friendships and bonds that have enabled me to love the sport even more.  Playing volleyball gives me life.  It fills my day with joy, hard work, and fun.

When I am in the middle of a play there is only one thing I am thinking about… the present. I don’t think about the outcome of the game or how I’ve done in the past. I just think about what I need to do in that very moment.  Beach volleyball is a great way to get exercise, but it is also a great way to learn perseverance and determination.  If there is one thing that I have learned in these last few years it is, “Play with your heart every time you step on the court, because you never know when it will be your last”.

On the morning of a tournament, I try and stay calm and think of strategy. I go check in, grab a ball, and toss it around. I talk to my partner on what we need to do for the day, and we might play a few balls.  I call these the calm moments, where everyone gets along and is still sort of quiet. I like this time because I get to think and not be rushed, and I get to prepare for my first game. The atmosphere of a tournament is really what drew me to keep playing. I love the energy and the idea of playing all day. Although it may be hard sometimes, I love having to keep pushing through the day no matter how tired I am.

I know in the end all of my hard work will pay off, but for now I am focusing on playing my hardest in order to get a beach volleyball scholarship one day. Playing beach volleyball in college has been a goal of mine for a while now. As more years pass I realize that college is not that far away. I start to realize that now more than ever I need to play my hardest, which isn’t that hard when you’re playing the sport you love. I aspire to keep playing volleyball for as long as I can, because I really love the sport.

 

-Malia

NIKKI BAER

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When I first started playing beach volleyball I did it mainly for the sake of exercise. I could have decided to play any other sport but beach volleyball stood out to me because it involved my two favorite things, the beach and staying active. When I play beach volleyball, I feel one with the court. The second I set foot in the sand, I feel this amazing rush of adrenaline kicking in.  Beach Vball also allows me to feel free by being able to dive into the soft sand and be barefoot.

One thing I love about playing beach Volleyball is that I like to be in charge of a large area of the court and I like being involved in every single play, as opposed to being confined to only a small area and to one position like in indoor Volleyball. This is to me what makes beach volleyball such a special and unique sport. When playing Vball it's just you and your partner; therefore, you become much more engaged in the game and really have to think through each and every point.

When I first joined sandstorm I was very excited. I really wanted to get good at playing the sport. I have now been training with sandstorm for 2 and a half years and loving it!. I love how playing makes me feel proud of myself and love the great talented coaches and friends I have made when playing with sandstorm.

My dream ever since the day I started to fall in love with beach Vball is to get a scholarship to college. Another dream of mine is to make the Beach Vball Olympic team.  I'm never going to stop trying to achieve these goals.  If it wasn't for this amazing sport, I don't think I would be as happy and healthy, physically and mentally, as I am today.
Nikki Baer (13)

Nieya Pelski

WHAT VOLLEYBALL MEANS TO ME

When someone asks me what sport I play, I respond beach volleyball. I never really thought twice about it. Beach volleyball has been in my life longer then I can remember. It stretches back to when my parents met playing. Both my parents played beach volleyball at the highest level. The stories that they would tell of places they played and people they met always intrigued me. I always thought how fun it would be to travel and play the game I love.  I remember my first beach tournament that I played.  I was 8 years old. It was very exciting but I was also very nervous. After that first tourney, I was hooked. I knew that it was going to take a lot of hard work to try and master this game. Now that beach volleyball is a Collegiate sport and its sanctioned by the NCAA, I feel that on the beach no matter what size you are you still have an opportunity to play volleyball as compared to indoor volleyball where the girls are pretty tall.

Beach volleyball is a sport which require relentless determination, heart, strategy, and teamwork. Volleyball is teaching me many life skills. I have had many opportunities to work with great coaches and play with amazing people. I know that our sport is always evolving and that’s what makes it challenging and fun to play.

- Nieya Pelski

Cassidy Ellmyer

What do I think it takes to play in college?

Many kids grow up with the dream of playing volleyball in college, and maybe even professionally. It takes a lot of hard work to create an opportunity to play in college.  Although natural ability can help win some tournaments, it cannot carry us as far as collegiate volleyball.

To reach that level of play, one must have drive, passion, and persistence.  Personal drive will help a player push past their current level, and keep progressing.  Passion for the game is probably the most important aspect of the three. If you have serious passion for the game, you can go anywhere.

Passion will create the drive and persistence – love what you do and do what you love. Persistence is when you keep working at the game, even if you don’t succeed. You need to be persistent to get better. You need to sacrifice things sometimes; such as going to the mall, hanging out with friends, a certain food lifestyle, etc.  The sacrifices you make will fuel your fire and love for the game, showing how committed you are to getting better.

As Tommy Hilfiger once said, “The road to success is not easy to navigate, but with hard work, drive and passion, it’s possible to achieve the American dream.”

- Cassidy Ellmyer

Delaney Smith

When I first started playing volleyball, it was just so I could say I was playing a sport. Three years ago, I would have never imagined that I would be where I am today on my volleyball path and I never would have dreamed of the countless opportunities and possibilities that the sport of volleyball has given me. Being a part of Sandstorm has not only helped me strengthen my skills and sharpen my knowledge, but has taught me important mental aspects that are applicable to most everything I do in life. Sandstorm has introduced me incredible people, coaches and friends, and it's such a comforting feeling knowing that you have a second family that you can always turn to, a beach volleyball family.

Beach volleyball is not easy, but having such great coaches by my side makes it a whole lot smoother. If I hadn’t met Jay Ellmyer my first season at recreational volleyball, and if he hadn’t seen the potential in me, I probably would not be half as good as I am today. Even when I was 10 years old, he pushed me because he believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself. Jay introduced me to the game I’ve come to know and love beach volleyball. And from there, I’ve gotten to know so many more phenomenal coaches- to name a few- Eric, Tammy, Orville and Rose. Rose has always supported me, from teaching me how to underhand serve to coaching me through each point at a finals match. It’s amazing to see how these great people are willing to dedicate their time (and patience) to help me and all other players.

All in all, Sandstorm has changed me in a remarkable way, and I would just like to say that I’m so appreciative of everyone who has helped me and supported me along the way. I’m so proud of this wonderful club and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for all of us!

- Delaney Smith

Work Hard, Play Harder!

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Do you want to hit harder, run faster, jump higher?  Well it's just as important to put in the work off the court as it is on the court.  Work and determination, that's what it takes to be a successful volleyball player.  If you want to earn the respect from other players and your coach it's important to work and train for great success.

As you continue to work on your game during beach season or indoor season, it's important to build into your routine a strength and conditioning regimen.

Your workout routine should contain at least 2-3 days of Weights and/or Plyometrics.  Create a workout split that focuses on certain muscle groups and not trying to do every body part in every workout.  A good routine would look something like:

M - Back, Biceps, Shoulders, Cardio
W - Chest, Triceps, Abs, Cardio
F - Legs and Abs

(Note: for a 2 day workout, just simply add Legs to Wednesday and Abs to Monday)

Now this is only a suggested routine, and there are many ways to mix/match this to challenge the body.  What's more important is to keep up a good diet, keep hydrated and be consistent to see the results.

“Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Doesn't Work Hard”

- Orville Osbourne