Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Beach Volleyball - Not The Same As In A Gym

Although I never claimed to be a volleyball superstar, I'm not too proud to admit that given my experience in the sport, I hadn't imagined that training 8-12 years would be too difficult. Now, this has nothing to do with their actual skill level mind you, all those involved have demonstrated a rather impressive ability at picking up what I consider to be a fairly difficult sport. The difficulty that I'm referring to has more to do with conditions under which we're playing. As I sweat through the t-shirt I brought specifically for the hour and a half volleyball practice, burn my feet on the hot noon-hour sun, trip over my flip-flops and struggle with all the sand clinging to my moist body, these kids run circles around me (barefoot) eager to learn more, practice harder, and play longer.

While I still hold an ok degree of skill over most of the participants, we are more than evened out by my lack of manoeuvrability on a beach. The fact is, it's too hard to play in flip-flops and too sweaty to wear shoes. As such, I've now started to train my feet. Everyday, I play sports barefoot more and more. Although the heat doesn't really become a factor until close to 12pm, we must still deal with the hazards of sticks and other beach items provided by mother nature. A broken stick under your foot here, a burn there, my feet are slowly but surely becoming important assets towards becoming a more effective teacher. 

Every day we're gathering more and more participants. It's not only surprising to see such a high degree of willingness to participate in after school programs, but the level of athleticism is beyond anything I've experience back home. No matter the student, it takes only a single practice for each student to nail down the 'bump' and 'serve' motions. While many are still improving, we have a game going at the end of every practice and the ball if flying back and forth over the net. I can't wait to see how all the children develop over the next few practices and many look like they're going to be some forces to reckon on the beaches of Costa Rica in the coming years. 

With a few weeks left to go till we have a big match between our mixed teams, and locals even showing up for our practices, it should make for one great day!

Steve- Quepos Community Sports Program Volunteer