One of the many perks of being HQ’d in San Diego is beach volleyball all year round! Natalie Schoen, one of our #BAMf Senior Account Executives takes full advantage of the sun and the sand every week. Read about one of her favorite pastimes outside the office.
What inspired you to get started playing beach volleyball?
I played indoor starting in middle school and throughout high school. I played setter when on the back row and hitter on the front line. When I moved from the snowy midwest to CA, I didn’t know many people and was looking for a way to meet new ones. I used the Meetup app to find a beach league and it became a great way to get out, go to the beach and make new friends.
How often do you do beach volleyball and how do you make time in your busy schedule to do it?
I’ve played consistently since moving to the sunshine state four years ago and when in a good groove, I’ll get out two to three days a week. During the summer when the sun sets later, there’s a Tuesday league I’ve roped a lot of the BAMily into joining after work. Saturday mornings I play in more of a pickup fashion and Sundays are with a league.
I make time to play because, for me, fitness is key to my mental and physical well-being. Just ask my co-workers – it’s evident when I need to step out and just get a good workout in. Playing on the beach is a great way to break out of the normal gym routine and getting my tan on is certainly an added perk. My favorite is playing in December while my family is sending photos of snow and I reciprocate with photos of playing in the sand and sunshine.
What is the most rewarding aspect of playing beach volleyball?
One of the most rewarding parts is having something to progressively improve at. As with everything in life, it’s important to strive to get better and be better. The more I’m able to play, the more I see my skill level improves. I was playing competitive for a while and decided to take a step back and enjoy the social aspect of the game more.
What is the most challenging aspect you have had to overcome?
I am a very competitive person, so I would say that the most challenging part is not getting placed on a team that is your equal. Whether the people you are playing with are above you or below you. If your team doesn’t match your skill level, it’s not as fun. And of course, when I have off-days I find that frustrating, too.
What advice would you give to a beginner who wanted to learn?
There are a number of workshops geared towards beginners. It’s important to learn the fundamentals of the game and run a lot of drills before joining a team. Once you get the basics down, it’s so fun you’ll be able to bump, set, spike it – hopefully within the lines, that is.
Want to learn more about Natalie? Follow her on twitter @NatSchoen.