BOLSA CHICA STATE BEACH, California — After the headshots and the on-camera interviews, after dozens of pieces of p1440 apparel were given out, after peppering and idling around at Bolsa Chica State Beach, Stein Metzger wanted to begin the first practice of the developmental season talking about cups.
Not just any cup. One plastic Starbucks cup.
The cup is a metaphor, as you may have guessed. Metzger, the p1440 director of player and business development, wanted the nearly 100 developmental athletes in the upcoming session to look at their growth as filling up a cup, each day. They can do so three ways: Bring your best effort. If you do so, you fill your cup up a third of the way. Bring your best attitude — growth mindset over fixed, learning over complacency, process over results. If you do so, you fill your cup up a third. Be a good partner. If you do so, you fill your cup up a third.
His point was this: We all have opportunities, every single day, to fill up our proverbial cups. Being stellar in one aspect won’t atone for laziness in the other two. We must strive for all three categories, every day, until the cup, as a timeless book reads, “runneth over.”
“Getting an opportunity to join a team that has dedicated resources and time and effort to athletes that are coming out of college to help them and assist them make the job I think is incredible,” Metzger said. “And I’m super excited and passionate about helping these athletes.”
And the number of athletes becoming passionate about the sport of beach volleyball is only growing, and quickly. At this time last year, the Developmental Program featured just three men: Hagen Smith, Travis Mewhirter, and Casey Jennings. Now that number has swelled to more than 50, a roster that includes AVP champion Ed Ratledge and a host of main draw regulars. The women’s side, too, has grown, also to more than 50 players in the program, which is only in its fifth session.
“We’ve seen not only a growth in numbers but also a tremendous increase in the skill level of athletes at tryouts this year,” Delaney Knudsen, the assistant program director, said. “So we have full teams at every location [Hermosa and Huntington] and they’re training in higher level groups at every tier than in previous sessions.
“It’s cool to see not only that the athletes from previous sessions have seen enough value to stay, but that other high-level athletes are noticing and wanting to get involved.”
As with all Developmental Program sessions, this one will also feature monthly tournaments, beginning on Halloween and finishing in late March. All tournaments will be livestreamed on the p1440 app and website.
“Super excited to continue with the program and see where it takes my game,” said Jake Urrutia, who made his first main draw in Hermosa Beach this year. “Along with improving, just to be a part of the 1440 family is amazing.”