2008 Olympic Gold Medalists

2008 Olympic Gold Medalists
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Monday, October 29, 2007

Building a Beach Volleyball Court (Part I)

I have been asked to blog about building my beach court in the backyard and therefore I figure I will do so in a couple of blogs. I will tell the story and eventually get in to some of the costs of things. It is actually still ongoing but more because the beach court has morphed into doing a bunch of landscaping throughout the backyard.

The Beach Court has been in the back of mine as well as my wife's minds since we moved to the Santa Ynez Valley about 5 years ago. We bought an acre and there is room to put things in like beach courts, pools, corrals, ect... We conceptualized for about 3 years before actually acting on our addiction to the beach game. Part of that was of course money. Didn't have enough to put in a decent court without going into debt and I really did not want to do that. Part of that was how do we go about doing it. So after a good 2005 beach season with Sean Scott and a promising new partnership with Phil Dalhausser, we finally made the decision to go for it.

I looked online for "how to build a beach court" and didn't find a lot of help. I spoke with several folks in my area who do have beach courts and they did give me lots of helpful advice. How deep to go, what kind of poles and nets to use, what kind of sand to get and helpful things like that.

I spoke with a friend of mine, Mark, who is a heavy equipment operator for the fire department. He had never put in a beach volleyball court but had put in a pool for his brother and has been a heavy equipment operator for about 20 years or more. The guy basically knows what he is doing. I did some measurements in the back yard and after measuring several spots, I finally found the place it would go. My friend told me all the phone calls I had to make and took care of all the heavy equipment stuff for me.

We found a four day weekend where he could come over and I would be around and made sure all the equipment that we needed was here on the start date. That was in February of 2006 to give you a bit of a time frame here.

The previous 3 weeks saw me cutting down trees and bushes and removing our vegetable garden boxes to another area. Get your hands dirty kind of work which I actually enjoy doing in my own yard. It also saw Mark and I, more Mark really, work out how the court would be shaped and how the area would look once we were done. My wife and I didn't want the court to be totally above ground with railroad ties to hold the sand in. We wanted it slightly sunk in so when you looked into the backyard from the house, you would see the top half of the net and poles. Kind of a hint of a beach court but not the whole thing staring you in the face.

Mark and I hammered out an area that was ready for the "beach" to be put in over that 4 day period. The first day he cleared the area of grass, tree stumps, bushes, roots, and anything else that was in the way. We put it all in a Marborg dumpster I had ordered. I was his gopher for the little things. I moved a fence back about 30 feet which enlarged an area for more grass since we were taking away a large area of grass. On the second day we started to dig a little and start to shape up where the actual sand would go. Also started to build some dirt mounds that would become landscaping mounds around the court to kind of "hide it" from view. The third day saw us continue the second days work but we started to run into a problem of extra dirt. As Mark says, "dirt grows". Boy does it ever. We were fortunate in that a neighbor literally behind my house needed dirt to fill in an old pool area. She came over and asked if we had any extra dirt, she would take it all. We had a dump truck delivered on the 4th day and begun to load it up and unload it on her property. Worked out pretty well as dirt is not cheap to get rid of nor to buy so both my neighbor and I were able to save a little money. By the end of the 4th day we had a nice area to put in the beach court.

At that point in time I was thinking I would have a beach court by the end of March. Little did I know all the hoops I would have to jump through to get to that point.

Friday, October 19, 2007

AVP Banquet

It was a good haul for Phil and I at last nights AVP End of the Year Banquet. Took home a fair amount of hardware and had some good laughs with friends.

We both took home the Team of the Year award and more importantly the Crocs Cup Trophy. That was our second biggest goal of the year behind winning the World Championships. Our names are engraved on a beautiful trophy and we both received a nice crystal piece for the mantle.

I received the Best Defender of the year award for the fourth straight time. Had to share the award with Rosy but that's okay by me. I figure he and Nick will be vying for that award for a long time much as Casey and I have been vying for it over the past 6 or 7 years. Even though I shared it this year, hopefully I can retain it while I am still playing. Tough to do though when Phil is shadowing 2/3 of the court with his block. Not that I am complaining mind you. :)

Phil was the Best Offensive player for the third straight year and what will probably amount to about 10 straight years by the time he is finished playing.

He also supplanted me as the Tour's MVP this year. Most definetely deserved though as he had my vote for these past 2 years. I think I mainly got it in 2006 for my role in helping him to develop as a player rather than for how well I played. Hopefully he can maintain his MVP status for years and years to come.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Off-Season Training

A lot of folks have asked me about my off-season training regiment. How I gear up for each new season on the beach. So I figure I will give some insight into what I do once the last ball hits the sand in any given year.

Once that last ball was hit out of bounds by me in Brasil, it was time to gear up for the 2008 campaign. Throughout the month of October I vigorously rest, rest, and then rest some more. That rest includes lots of bottles of vino, a fair amount of hops, and even a bit of the hard stuff when applicable. It includes surfing whenever the swell is up and sometimes even when it is a little down. There is a lot of running around in the backyard chasing my son and a soccer ball. Even some running down by the river to try and get our chubby yellow lab Sully back into trim snuggling shape. It entails sitting on my beach chair and cheering on Hannah and Nate in their respective soccer games. As my wife said to me, "seems like you are on vacation" to which I heartily agreed with her.

Once that difficult break of October is done it is time to get "back to work." This year I will get back to work in November. Through the month of November I will go to the gym 3 times a week to work out with my trainer, Bob Alejo. Run about 5 miles down by the river twice a week. I will still surf as much as I can and I will try and stretch every day. Spend lots of time with the family of course and take a quick trip over to Hawaii to see my old UCSB teammate Alika get married.

Once December comes around I will up the work load a bit by continuing to do everything from November but also add in a training session at the track with trainer Sandy Combs. Usually means some 400's, stadiums, and a load of jumps.

After the confetti comes down for New Years I will continue on the course I have begun but start to add in some actual ball work at the beach/my backyard. Most of this is just Phil and I. We try and go 3 times a week, weather permitting. We do passing drills, setting drills, ect... Not to much jumping, just movement and ball control stuff.

In February we start training with other teams once a week and continue with the weight training 3 times a week, workout at the track, and training ball control stuff. We will usually add in a little more jumping in our individual beach sessions. I start to phase out the long distance running around this time. I actually like running with my dog Sully down by the river. I have a 5 mile course I run that goes through packed dirt, shifty rocks, and a long stretch of sand too. I time myself and try to improve as I go. I add in some interval training stair climber which tends to kick my derriere. I don't sweat much but for some reason the stair climber gets me drenched with sweat.

In March I am no longer doing any long distance running but continuing with everything else. Phil and I will usually try and train twice a week with a different team and once with just the two of us or just doing drills. In 2008, the end of March marks the beginning of the 2008 season. Hopefully Phil and I will be ready.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Fortaleza Finals, Ohio and 2008

The Brasil Final didn't go as planned but those are the breaks. We pretty much got smashed by the Brasilians. Not that they had to do a whole lot of smashing. I must have hit 6 or 7 balls out, got scooped a bunch on easy scoops, and got blocked once or twice. I was basically terrible. Phil played okay. Missed a lot of serves but did side out well. We were basically way off from the way we had played previously in the tourney.

I went to Columbus, Ohio for a Red Bull Promo. It had nothing to do with the AVP Hot Winter Nights Tour but hopefully it will help the turnout for that. There is an amazing bar there called Flannagans with 9 very nice beach courts. David, the owner, is a great guy who is really into beach volleyball. Went to a nice dinner and then hung out at the courts playing games with the folks there for about 5 hours. Had a good time and would love to do it again. Getting on a plane wasn't super easy but the part in Columbus was fun.

Looking towards the 2008 schedule and Olympics:

The cancellation of the two events in Mexico and Bali cost Phil and I some money, but actually helped us for the Olympics. We have put ourselves in a position where the less tourneys there are, the less chances the other teams have to catch us. The FIVB has put there tentative schedule out there for next year. It is on the FIVB website. Waiting for the AVP to put out there schedule so we know which events we will be playing next year. Right now I would say we will be playing in Australia and some of the Grand Slams. Not sure about all of them at this time. We have to play in at least 2 more events to get the minimum number of 8 events. Would be nice to play in more than that of course. When the AVP gets their schedule out, and let us hope that it is sooner than they got their schedule out last year, then Phil and I will discuss how we want to play it.

I will try and BLOG about once a week on a variety of topics relating to beach volleyball, training, Olympics, ect.... If anyone has any specific things they would like to hear about, please feel free to ask under comments.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Todd in Columbus, Ohio - Thursday, Oct. 4th

Todd will be appearing at -

Flannagan's Dublin
6835 Caine Rd
Columbus, OH 43235
(614) 766-7788


Thursday, October 4th
6:00-9:00 PM

Exhibition, autograph signing, play.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Tomorrow, Colombus, Ohio

Should have put this out there earlier but I obviously wasn't thinking. I will be in Colombus, Ohio for a Red Bull Exhibition on October 4th from 6pm to 10pm. Not sure where but I know it has a bunch of beach volleyball courts, runs leagues, and is a Red Bull account! I will try and find out and let you know. If anyone does know, please post it.