Motivation and training tips from Greek professional beach volleyball player Maria Tsiartsiani
A mention of beach volleyball conjures mental images of bikinis and sun-drenched scenes, but the reality isn’t all tans and sand.
'People don’t really realise that we play in very difficult conditions,' says Maria Tsiartsiani.
'Many of our tournaments are in northern European countries, so even in the summer it can be cold and rainy. If it’s under 15°C, we’re allowed to play in tights and long-sleeved tops, but a game will only be stopped if it’s dangerous – torrential rain with lightning – otherwise we play on.
'During training, my teammate Vicky Arvaniti and I still practise in pretty extreme windy and wet conditions, so we’re ready for whatever the heavens throw at us in competition.'
With weather not an issue, there are few days during the pre-season training period, which runs from December to March, that the 31-year-old isn’t putting in the hours of practice needed to make perfect.
So how does her training routine shape up?
11am-1pm: Individual video session with coach, analysing footage of other players’ techniques and reviewing footage from last practice session, followed by a court session working on technique.
1.30-2.30pm: Lunch. 'We always eat as soon as possible after a long session, quality food like pure protein and good carbohydrates to feed our muscles.'
4-6pm: Gym session: upper body. Working shoulders with light weights to build strength but maintain flexibility and speed. Work with Swiss ball, Bosu ball (equivalent to half a Swiss ball) and TRX suspension system to improve balance and co-ordination.
10am-12pm: Team session on court. Working on problems, tactics and trying new plays.
1-2pm: Physiotherapist, for general wellbeing or any specific physical issues.
5-6.30pm: Gym session: lower body. Working all leg muscles with weights for strength and stability. Work with Swiss ball, Bosu ball and TRX system to improve balance and co-ordination.
11am-1pm: Individual session on court, working on specific problems or new techniques.
5-7pm: Team session on court with coach.
10am-12pm: Team video session: reviewing footage of last practice, discussing any problem areas.
2-4pm: Gym session: focus on upper body.
11am-1pm: Individual session on court.
5-7pm: Gym session: lower body plus cardio work – running or biking.
10am-12pm: Team practice session on court. 'We play against a team of men roughly our size because there isn’t a second women’s team in Greece.'
'We take some time to relax before the week begins again.'
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