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Four Beach Volleyball Topics, as Suggested by Geena Urango’s Fans

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One thing I love about beach volleyball is how tangible the relationship between players and fans can be. Whether we’re warming up, playing a match, or in between rounds, the athletes are accessible. There are so many opportunities for players and fans of the sport to connect, meet, chat, heckle, and engage in a way that no other sport allows.

I thought this article would be a good opportunity for me to further engage with people who love beach, since sometimes our interactions can be short and more of an initial meet-and-greet at an AVP event. I figured there were some other questions that fans may have that take a deeper look into our sport. To help me write this article, I went online and asked some volleyball aficionados what they’d want to read and learn. I narrowed it down to a few main topics people submitted. So here are four beach volleyball topics I will touch base on from the fans themselves:

Mental approach: Tactics to stay mentally strong

Over the course of my career, I have worked with various sports psychs and mental coaches. They have helped propel my success and overall well-being not only as an athlete but also as an individual. This season, I started working with Dr. Justin Blake from Mind Right Sport Psychology. A lot of what we’ve worked on is mindfulness practice, which I have found to be extremely powerful. Here are two of my major takeaways:

Breathe and be where your feet are.

If you’re ever feeling anxious, overwhelmed, distracted, or just need a simple reset, remind yourself to take a deep breath. The breath gets you back to the present moment, the only moment that truly matters. “Our breath is the bridge from our body to our mind.”

Flow state.

This state of mind is what every athlete strives to attain. It’s hard to just turn it on, but there are practices you can utilize to set yourself up for success every time you play. Ask yourself: What thoughts, feelings, emotions, self-talk, sensations, etc., do I have when playing at my best? Take note of those and be mindful to emulate them on the court.

Partnerships: Finding and being a good partner

Volleyball partnerships are a lot like dating. First and foremost, you need to put yourself out there. Text, call, set up “dates” with other players. By dates, I mean practices. I suggest playing with various partners to see who you have the best chemistry with. Good chemistry can sometimes be hard to come by, but when you find it, man, is it special!

Once you’ve found a partner, it’s so important to establish honest and open communication. Create a trustworthy environment that allows you to challenge each other and express yourselves without fear of judgment. Last but not least, be understanding. There may be a time when a partner “dumps” you for someone else. While that may be upsetting at first, being empathetic and knowing that they are just trying to make the best decision for themselves at that moment isn’t something you can hold against them. You might have to do it for yourself at some point as well.

Training Regimen: Offseason, preseason, and season
Offseason

For me, the offseason is a time for me to take a mental and physical break to avoid burnout. Not only that, but it’s a time for me to challenge my body in other ways through cross-training (surfing, pickleball). I still maintain strength, get in the weight room a couple times a week, and maybe play some 4s beach volleyball, so I don’t lose my sand legs!

Preseason

This is when I’m pushing hard in the gym. I’m also probably in the sand around four times a week, focusing on individual skill work at the start and implementing more team practices towards the second half of preseason. It’s all about building strength, improving mobility, and bettering myself to set a solid base for the season.

Season

Depending on the schedule, I practice around three to four times a week. I’m also in the gym two times weekly if there isn’t a tournament and at least once if there is one. During season, there’s a lot of team development work. We take the time to prepare for matches, watch video, and reassess what we can improve upon after tournaments.

Sponsorships: How players can leverage their platform

Who do you want to work with?

First step: What values do you live by? What is your niche? After answering those questions, look for brands that align with your answers.

Second step: Reach out! Slide into their DMs, send emails, exhaust your network, and see who you might know that could connect you with the right person.

It’s so rewarding when you establish relationships with brands that embody you as an individual and athlete. I have been very fortunate to work with some amazing sponsors this year who I feel connected with (Blenders Eyewear, SharpeVision Modern Lasik, Flexpower).

Now, the social media part. Some may see it as a necessary evil; others may see it as a part-time job. Whatever the case, it is one of the best ways to add value to brands. Create engaging content, interact with fans and other accounts, stay on top of trends. Overall, be active on social media! You can also leverage your marketability by offering philanthropic services, appearances at corporate events, or being available for photoshoot opportunities.

I hope that some of these bits of knowledge and information have helped answer some of your questions. There’s definitely a lot more to each of these topics that I’d be happy to share if you’re interested. Just message me on Instagram 🙂 @urango

Category: Athlete Stories

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