In past articles, we’ve detailed the schedules of a few athletes that balance pro beach volleyball and a full-time job. Athletes like Sheila Shaw, Jake Rosener, and Megan Rice have hardly a minute to spare in their long days.
But what about the athletes that only play volleyball? The Olympic hopefuls that spend all their time and energy improving and growing in the game? The Tier Ones as I like to refer to them. Athletes like that spend just as much time working, but they’re lucky enough to work as volleyball players.
I live with Sarah Sponcil, and her schedule astounds me. She’s up and out the door by 7:00 am most days, returning sporadically to eat an apple or shower. Her day is done around 5:00 pm, which means she’s investing about 10 hours of driving, training, rehabbing, and studying her game.
Alix Klineman is no different. This unusual year has forced change. But as the A-Team wound down their training this year, their schedules were chock full of volleyball and resembled years previous.
And each day varies. Here’s what a typical Monday looks like for Alix:
6:15am – Wake up; coffee; breakfast; stretch
7:15am – Leave my house to pick up my coach Angie Akers and drive to Newport where we meet up with our other coach Fiapo and April. We always start the week with a technical practice.
8:15am – Start warming up. I have a fairly lengthy prehab/mobility routine to keep my knees and back healthy. I make sure to get that done before every practice
8:45am – 10:45am – Practice
11:00am – 12:00pm – Drive home
12:00pm – 1:00pm – Shower and eat lunch
1:30pm – 2:30pm – Physical therapy with my chiro, David Lee (not the AVP player). He helps me stay healthy!
And here’s a day without practice. For Alix and April, a Thursday:
8:00am – 10:00am – Lift and do some prehab at the USAV facility in Torrance. This year we leave a minimum of 2 hours between practice and weights in order to fully recover and maximize both workouts. During the first half of a training block, which is normally six-weeks, we lift first and practice second. This is to prioritize getting stronger. In the second half of our training block, we practice first and lift second, and the emphasis shifts to volleyball and our performance on the court.
10:30am – Shower and have a recovery snack/small meal
11:00am – 2:00pm – Lift and do some physical therapy at the USA Gym
2:00pm – 3:00pm/3:30pm – Usually once a week, we’ll get together to watch film of our practice to dissect our play and figure out areas for improvement.
3:30pm – Return home. Rest; unwind; cook dinner (one of Alix’s favorite things); hang with my friends and boyfriend; go to bed early.
Every time I wish I were a Tier One athlete, I think of this schedule. Mind you – this is in November, during a pandemic, months away from tournaments. You can only imagine what it’s like inside of season. These hours don’t necessarily deter me from still wanting Tier One, but it puts everything into perspective. Being one of the best in your sport is tough; who knew?