| Article Summary:
Pro Beach Volleyball Player Satisfies Competitive Nature!
Angie Akers. Woman. Fit. Healthy. Dedicated. Happy. Beautiful. Sounds pretty typical, no? I guess I should mention she's also a professional beach volleyball player.
Angie attended Bishop Luers High School, where she was a dominating 2-sport athlete. With full scholarship offers to play both volleyball and basketball at various schools across the country, she decided to pursue volleyball at the University of Notre Dame.
While at Notre Dame, Angie helped the Irish reach as high as No. 6 in the national rankings, the highest the program had ever achieved. She received many honors such as the All-Freshman All-American Team, All-District and All-Conference. She left her mark on the record books in several categories, which still stand today.
Angie was presented with the opportunity to play professionally in Saignelegier, Switzerland. She accepted the offer and left immediately for 3 months overseas. Upon her return, she solemnly swore to give up volleyball completely and began running.
After moving to San Francisco in 2000, Angie began working at Lehman Brothers in San Francisco where she became a Series 7 licensed General Securities Representative. She maintained her running career by joining a track club.
She had a short, but very successful running career. She ran several road races ranging from the mile to the marathon. Her highest accomplishment was running the Boston Marathon in 2001 in a personal best time of 3 hours and 24 minutes.
She decided that a change of scenery was needed. Her college roommate, Jaimie Lee, called and convinced Angie to move to Southern California. Together they would attempt to play Professional Beach Volleyball.
Despite never having seen nor played beach volleyball, Angie made the transition successfully into her rookie season. She was named 2002 Rookie of the Year. She is currently entering her 7th season as a professional on the beach.
[ Q ] How did you get started playing professional beach volleyball?
After my indoor career, I was burnt out from volleyball. I did not think I would ever care to play again. I was following my husband, Jeremy, around the country as he pursued his professional football career.
I had office jobs and started running competitively in order to stay in shape and fulfill my athletic, competitive fix. Right as Jeremy made the decision to hang up his cleats, I received a phone call from my college roommate asking me to play with her on the beach.
I decided that even though I was burnt out from volleyball, anything would be better than sitting at a chair in an office all day long. We moved within a month to Southern California and I immediately started training. However, my college roommate never ended up moving, so I was on my own. It is a tough sport to break into when you do not have a partner to practice with and you are not originally from Southern California. (I grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana).
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It Is A Tough Sport To Break Into
When You Do Not Have A Partner To Practice With.
Photo By Albert Ortega.
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When I first walked on to the beach my vertical jump was almost non-existent and I had no sand legs. I had to spend a lot of time reconditioning my body from a "slow twitch" sport to the explosive fast twitch needed for beach volleyball.
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I randomly met Jeff Nygaard, who plays on the men's AVP tour, and asked him to coach me. He worked with me a few times a week from October of 2001 through February 2002 when I finally met AVP veteran and Olympian Holly McPeak, who was running a Rookie Camp. Holly helped me find regular training partners and I eventually found a partner to play with in the first tournament.
It was rough going at first, but I have never looked back and at the end of my first season I was named "Rookie of the Year".
[ Q ] What do you enjoy so much about it, that makes you continue coming back year after year? (Angie is now in her 7th season).
There are so many things that I love about beach volleyball. I love being active and the fact that we train on a beautiful beach is an added bonus. I get to travel all over the world and experience different cultures all while going to work. It is a really fun sport.
It challenges me every day and I love it. Plus, I am a very disciplined person and having competitions to get ready for really helps make the discipline feel purposeful.
[ Q ] What has been the achievement you're most proud of, to date?
On the court, the achievement I am most proud of is making my first finals appearance in Chicago, 2007. It was an incredible experience to play in front of a home crowd. I loved every minute of it.
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It Was An Incredible Experience
To Play In Front Of A Home Crowd.
Photo By Ken Delgado.
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I am also very passionate about visiting and supporting our military. Last year I helped organize a trip to our military base in Kosovo (Camp Bondsteel) where myself and three other professional beach volleyball players gave an exhibition to the troops and then invited them onto the court to play with us.
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I am looking forward to making another trip overseas to visit the troops this year when our AVP tour takes a break during the Olympics. We are going to head to Italy, Germany and Kosovo and visit some of the bases in those countries.
I cannot imagine how difficult it is for them to be away from their families for such long periods of time while putting their lives on the line to fight for our country. I have the utmost respect for every one of them and will continue to do all I can to support them.
[ Q ] Can you please take us through a typical day in your life in regards to training/nutrition?
My day starts off with green tea, a bowl of oatmeal, and a multivitamin protein shake about 2 hours before practice. Then I check email and do a little work on my website, www.angieakers.com before I go to training. I meet my partner on the beach for a 2 and 1/2 hour beach volleyball training session. We work with a coach on specific skills and do drills to get us ready for competition.
After practice, I go home and eat lunch which usually consists of a piece of fruit, a large salad and chicken. I will answer more emails and do a little more work before getting ready for my next workout. Then I meet my partner at our gym and we get in our fitness workout with our trainer.
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I Meet My Partner At Our Gym And We Get In Our Fitness Workout.
Photo By Robert Hanashiro.
We do conditioning, footwork drills, plyometrics and weight-lifting. Then I go back home and fix dinner. I usually snack throughout the day. I snack on FUBAR All Organic Fuel Bars, raw nuts and/or fruit. Dinner usually consists of broccoli or brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes and a lean protein.
[ Q ] Does it differ from on/competitive season to off-season?
[ Q ] Are there are supplements you take/recommend?
I take Glutamine, Fish Oil, Calcium, Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM, and a Multi-vitamin. I drink the only shelf stable alkalized / negatively ionized water from Real Water all day long to keep myself fully hydrated.
If I am on the road and find it difficult to get protein from real food sources, I will use Protein Powder from Champion Nutrition. I keep myself going by eating FUBAR All-Organic Fuel Bars. They are the best not only because they are organic and alkaline forming, but they also taste great.
[ Q ] Because of the terrain you play on, how frequent are injuries?
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We Train Really Hard So Sometimes We Will
Get Injuries From Over-Training.
Photo By Robert Hanashiro.
We use our shoulders repetitively so sore shoulders are quite common. Also, ankle sprains are fairly common because of the close proximity of players at the net jumping and landing.
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[ Q ] You've had two yourself (An ACL/MCL tear and a cartilage tear); what made you want to get back on the court/sand and keep going after your second injury?
My injuries were more than 13 years ago. I was in college and still quite young. I knew that neither injury was career ending, so I was anxious to get back as quickly as possible and move past the injury. However, both injuries were blessings in disguise. They taught me how to train smarter, not harder. I learned how to listen to my body and take a break when I needed one.
[ Q ] What was running through your mind when you were told you were going to play for a Professional sports team?
Well, I was never exactly "told " I was going to play for a professional sports team. Beach Volleyball is similar to golf or tennis in that there are a series of qualifier tournaments that you have to play in to gain points and ranked finishes to be able to make the pro-circuit. My "team" consists of just me and my partner. We had to qualify to make the professional AVP circuit. It took two qualifying tournaments and I was in. It was very exciting.
[ Q ] Do you have any advice, motivational words, encouragement for other aspiring pro/amateur athletes?
My advice for other aspiring athletes is to always play hard and never let anyone tell you your limits. The only limits you have are the ones you set upon yourself. Keep an open mind, believe in yourself and always stay positive.
Thank you for the opportunity to reach out to the Bodybuilding.com community. I want to give special thanks to my sponsors, whose support make it possible for me to train as hard as I do and devote the time necessary to compete at such a high level. They include FUBAR All Organic Fuel Up Bar, REAL WATER, Cuervo, PNY, and Trimax Solutions web development.