For most players, the end of Country Day’s volleyball season means nine months of waiting before stepping onto the court again. But with the advent of 530, an outdoor club volleyball team, that’s soon to change.
The newly created team, named after Davis’s area code, was established by Drew Petersen, a former professional basketball coach and the father of eighth-grader Kyra.
“The idea behind (the outdoor team) is to play a small side (a game with fewer people than indoor volleyball) with more touches and skill development,” Petersen said.
Traditionally, indoor volleyball teams play six players per side versus outdoors’ minimal two per side.
Petersen said that outdoor volleyball—specifically pick-up outdoor beach volleyball—fosters players’ creativity.
“With sand, the coaches aren’t telling the players what to do. The players learn how to play and how to score themselves,” Petersen said.
Petersen’s sand volleyball project grew after girls varsity coach Jason Kreps read about Petersen’s team in Kyra’s independent PE form.
“For years parents have been asking me to do a team, but I just didn’t have enough time for a typical club team,” Kreps said.
While 530 is not officially affiliated with the school, Kreps and middle-school volleyball coach Sarah Song agreed to coach 530, comprised of eight Country Day players.
Sophomore Aidan Galati joined because of the “laid-back” atmosphere.
“It has fewer practices (than club volleyball) while still being competitive,” she said.
On her previous club team, sophomore Sydney Michel would have to drive as far as Spokane, Wash., for tournaments.
“There were so many away games. Now we ha ve the option to go to tournaments, but there isn’t as much pressure,” Michel said.
Petersen said he deliberately structured 530 to be less stressful.
“(Athletic success) is primarily due to mental preparation and development,” Petersen said. “Part of that mental development is making sure athletes don’t burn out.”
Kreps agrees with creating a less stressful team.
“Mainly, I didn’t want to impact the other (Country Day) sports teams,” he said.
The team will focus on training, but Petersen encourages the players to also participate in outdoor tournaments in the spring and summer.
Furthermore, 530 doesn’t host tryouts or have an age limit. Instead, the team has an experience requirement of a year of competitive volleyball play.
“The reason why tryouts aren’t as important for a sand club is that anyone can play at a sand tournament,” Petersen said.
Anyone, regardless of experience, can play on a pick-up sand court. The only requirement is a $15 fee for the court itself.
A player doesn’t even need a coach or team to register.
Despite the outdoor focus, most of the practices will take place twice a week in Country Day’s gym.
“I think we’re really excited to try something different,” sophomore Emma Brown said.
And weather permitting, players have the option to practice at Folsom’s Livermore Park’s outdoor sand courts.
Michel embraces the changes, and she looks forward to playing in a familiar environment.
“It always took us a couple of weeks to get used to each other and get in our groove. Hopefully, (530) will eliminate that,” Michel said.