What it takes to be world champion

27.06.2019 - Hamburg

The biggest beach volleyball tournament in history kicks off on Friday as Hamburg opens its doors for the World Championships for 10 days of spine-tingling action. But what does it take to step onto the top of the podium? We asked those players who are playing in Hamburg who have experienced the thrill of becoming world champion and asked them what you need to make it happen.

Kerri Walsh Jennings, champion 2003 Rio, 2005 Berlin, 2007 Gstaad                                         

“It takes everything – everything – you’ve got. Above all else, you need belief in yourself and your team. Surround yourself with good people. It’s a belief and a knowing that you have the tools. The prize is there if you want it. You’ve just got to go and get it.”

Phil Dalhausser, 2007 champion, Gstaad

“Patience is what you need. 10 days is a long time, it’s a long tournament. This gives you enough time for video analysis, a good amount of knowledge on the team you’re playing helps.

“You’ve also, of course, got to be confident. No team wins a tournament on the World Tour without having confidence. If you go into a tournament second-guessing, if you don’t feel right in your body and mind then volleyball becomes harder.

“I’ve also won tournament where a serve dribbles over the net. That’s about as lucky as you can get on a beach volleyball court. Luck can be with you, or against you. You have to ensure you don’t get frustrated if the luck isn’t with you. Mistakes can happen, you have bad days, that’s the game. You just have to deal with them.”

April Ross, 2009 champion, Stavanger

“I think a lot of what we’re doing is what it takes to be successful at the World Championships, but we’d better keep it to ourselves,” she said, laughing, when asked by beachmajorseries.com. “One thing, though, is that we never take anything for granted. It’s not like there’s some key secret, we just have to work really, really hard and believe in ourselves.”

Barbara Seixas, 2015 champion, The Hague

“It takes a lot of hard work and the desire to always be better than you were the day before. You need to be committed to your goals and to do whatever is necessary, even if it's something you're not used to. And you need to be willing to face your limitations, your struggles and your fears and still give all you have because you'll only grow and learn from your experiences if you're not in your comfort zone. And, of course, doing what you love isn't always easy, but you have to enjoy the process.”

Alison Cerutti, 2015 champion, The Hague

“The truth is you cannot stop evolving. It’s very easy to get to the top and think there’s nothing more to learn or to improve, but that’s the first step before you fall. I’m very grateful that I have a great team and an awesome partner that push me in the right direction every day. Nothing lasts forever and even if my past is great and so special, I try to put it behind me and focus on my next goals.

“I made my choices in the past, some think they were good, others believe they weren’t great, but I learned from each of them. It requires maturity and humbleness, but that’s the only way to go through all these changes and evolve not only as an athlete, but also as a person.”

Alexander Brouwer, 2013 champion, Stare Jabłonki

“If you have be prepared to play in all circumstances. Play every match likes it’s your last, enjoy every point. If you combine the talent, dedication, discipline and hard work then the results will, sooner or later, come. Give it your best and remember that anything is possible. We went into 2013 dreaming we could win it. Nobody gave us a chance. But we did.”

Laura Ludwig, 2017 champion, Vienna

“Definitely mental strength. You have to be really, really strong in this area. It’s about knowing what you can do the belief in your ability and not being afraid of making mistakes.”

Evandro Gonçalves, 2017 champion, Vienna

“It takes daily dedication and full-time commitment. In a tournament like this, it’s not about what you did this season or this month, it’s about how hard you worked on your entire career. If you are the best prepared you can be in the technical, tactical, psychological and physical aspects, you’ll have confidence to make decisions when a game is on the line. That’s exactly how I felt in Vienna. I was able to turn that match around because I knew that serving was my best skill and how hard I had worked on it.”