Beach volleyball, says Alexa Chitra Strange, is more physically taxing than indoor volleyball. One, because there are only two players on a team in beach volleyball instead of six for indoor. Two, it is played on the beach—even running on sand is hard, let alone playing volleyball. Three, indoors is a power-based sport, whereas beach is more like a fitness game. “So, it is really finding this balance between having the right cardio and being strong, but not bulky,” says Alexa.
Training is as important as practice. Just because you have practised for six hours does not mean you can skip training. It will take a toll on your body in the long run, says Alexa. While the season is on, players must take care to not go overboard with workouts. “I cannot work out five times a week when I have to go play four games on the weekend. My body will not be able to handle that,” says Alexa. But in the offseason, players can work out five to six times a week and even practise daily. There is a huge emphasis on weight training, she says. Recovery is another important aspect, and for that it is important to stretch and roll out your muscles.
Also, beach volleyball is a mind game, says Alexa. So, she practises mindfulness while training. “I think beach volleyball is about mastering life,” she says. “Because you have to be positive on the court all the time. You cannot afford to be negative. And you cannot afford to fight with your partner. So, it really forces you to see the good and positive in every situation.”
Alexa also does yoga, which is great for recovery, once in a while. “I am a natural at it,” she says. “I do not know if it is because of the Indian in me.”