P1 Beach: Introducing the Game to All Levels of Beach Volleyball
The staggering growth of beach volleyball can be found in myriad places across the country. It is easy to peg the Californias and Floridas and much of Texas, home to the most fertile grounds for college recruiting.
And yet, the swell of talent, and talent alone, is but one measurement. Look again. To a town of a bit less than 70,000 roughly 35 miles southwest of Dallas.
It is there, in Mansfield, Texas, at P1 Beach, where you can find perhaps the second most valuable measurement of the growth of beach volleyball: The number of new players entering the sport.
“It’s not like beach in California,” coach Brandy Bryan said. “We still get a lot of first time beachers every year.”
The vast majority of clubs in beach volleyball hubs such as Southern California and major cities in Texas and Florida are nearly year-round programs. Neighboring 692, for example, began as a summer session, before demand expanded it to spring, then to fall, and well, now it’s beach volleyball 365 days a year, with mostly the same girls competing throughout the year.
Such is not the case at P1, and it’s actually quite wonderful. Bryan estimated that roughly 30 percent of his players are holdovers from the season prior, while 70 percent are newcomers or players who have taken a year or two off. When taking into account that P1 had 162 players in the program last year, that would mean 113 or so of his players are new to the beach, every year.
One of the most oft-recited mantras in beach volleyball is to grow the game. That doesn’t mean to simply grow the talent of select players, but to grow it in quantity of them, to introduce beach to as many new faces as possible.
It might help explain why Bryan said that “1440 is a good fit. It seems pretty interesting to me to be a part of something like that.”
Something like that, meaning: Another organization growing the game both in quantity and in quality, by showcasing the sport to both the high level and entry. Because for all of the newcomers Bryan does introduce to the sport, he’s also whittling down a touch so as to make for more quality time for those who want to genuinely develop.
“We’re trying to scale it back a little bit to do more individualized training, smaller court sessions,” he said.
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