This article was written by Heather Bansley and originally published on Pavan Bansley's website.
First week of 2015 training in California is complete! This past week has been exciting for many reasons. 2015 marks the start of our Olympic qualification, which will continue until June 2016. This year will also include the Pan American Games held in Toronto (which we will also have to qualify for), and World Championships in the Netherlands. That said, the next two years are important and intense years. Last week was exciting for me because it signifies the start of my goals for the next two years, and what I’ve been working towards for the past five years. Not only that, but it also marks the start of me and Sarah having an actual real preseason together!! The past two years I have spent the winter and spring training on my own with ever changing training partners, while Sarah played indoor professionally. Although I developed personally and valued the experience of being on my own and working with so many different players and personalities I wouldn’t normally be on the same side of the court as, I am pretty pumped to have two and a half months together to develop further as a team before the first FIVB World Tour in Fuzhou, China. For Sarah and me this means we are back in Hermosa Beach, California training with our coach Scott Davenport.
The last time our team was together was September, in Sao Paulo, Brazil for the last Grand Slam of the season. Since then I have been recovering, building my strength and conditioning, and training on my own in the sand. October I took some much needed time off physically and mentally. I spent most of the month on the east coast in Halifax. I was able to relax and connect with the things I love to do in my off time, such as yoga, hiking, reading and cooking in my own kitchen!
November I returned to Toronto to get back into sand training. Sarah had returned to indoor for the winter, so I trained with another Canadian player Kristina Valjas, to prepare to compete together at the NORCECA Championships in Tobago. Kristina and I played 6 years of indoor volleyball together, one year of club and five years together at the University of Toronto. Our time together indoor and the fact that she was a right side blocker made stepping onto the court with her an easy transition. Although we didn’t finish on top of the podium as we had set out to do (we finished 5th after a frustrating loss in the quarter-finals), I enjoyed the experience of playing with Kristina, and was grateful for the opportunity to compete at the Continental Finals.
November and December I shifted my focus to getting stronger and healthier off the volleyball court, and worked closely with my Strength and Condition coach Ryan MacDonald. In lead up to the Pan American Games in Toronto, the Canadian Sports Institute of Ontario got a complete makeover, which means a brand new, state of the art training facility for National Team athletes! This amazing facility was my home for the past three months, and I feel so fortunate that I had this resource available to me. (The cold tubs being my favourite and least favourite resource available).
January was kicked off by our National Team Induction Camp in Toronto. The camp included connecting with our support team, including our doctor, therapists, nutritionist, sport psych and national team coaches, as well as taking part in media day and a photo shoot. For the second half of January I started training indoors at our National Team indoor facility at Downsview Park on my own and with fellow members of the National Team and continued my strength and conditioning with Ryan.
I cherished my time at home in Canada, sleeping in my own bed and reconnecting with my family and friends that I am apart from for the majority of the year. The holidays are always special, and I’m thankful I was able to spend them at home. However, training for beach volleyball indoors during -30 degree weather isn’t as inspiring at training with my entire team on the sunny beaches of California, (although I do love a good snow storm)!
So here I am, excited and ready for the start of the 2015 season, reunited with my teammate Sarah and coach Scott! I hope you continue to follow us on our journey.