In the second part of her inside story of a most unlikely sporting mission – to represent Scotland at beach volleyball in next year’s Commonwealth Games – Lynne Beattie reveals how she and on-court partner Mel Coutts performed in their first competition of the year. Plus how an invigorating and inspirational training session had a smell in the tale
After months of icy, dark, blustery early-morning sessions on Portobello Beach in Edinburgh, we had our first tangible insight into the progress we have made towards our target of competing for Scotland in the beach volleyball competition at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast next year.
We headed to Copenhagen last weekend for the first of our pre-season tournaments, which provided a chance to test under the pressure of competition what we have been working on in training.
Since my last article for The Mixed Zone in November, little has changed in terms of getting up before dawn, heading to the beach and trying to ‘recruit’ volunteers to help de-frost the sand, which happened on more than one occasion during the winter. The main excitement has been that the mornings slowly turned a shade lighter as the Shortest Day passed.
But we needed to know that the effort being made on our makeshift court, and in the gym, was being channelled in the right direction. With all the challenges winter has thrown at us, it would be easy to lose motivation and question what we were doing. Let’s face it, it’s very hard, if not nigh impossible, to stay 100 per cent motivated about anything all the time. Some days, all you want to do is stay under the duvet and watch Netflix (and not even good Netflix). For us, this isn’t really an option. Time is too valuable. When the motivation-draining devil strikes, we need to dig deep and find the inner strength that’s driven by our goals and the knowledge of what’s at stake if we don’t.
This year we mean business. We are absolutely going for it and we’re leaving no stone unturned.
Which was why it was important to find ourselves on court at the impressive indoor beach facility in Copenhagen. We set to work. A tough opening match tested all areas, but we settled down and fought hard, reminding each other of our goals and winning the match.
We carried that momentum into the next couple of rounds, performing clinically against some solid Danish opposition, and reached the final. There we lost a competitive encounter. After the initial disappointment, and some honest reflection, there was a dawning acknowledgment of our success. We had reached the final of a tournament in which we had flopped totally last year. We had improved in so many areas. That is why we play these games, to address areas to work on, and to build belief in our processes as a team.
We have returned to training with a new lease of life before our next tournament in Prague. We have taken a massive step forward as a team, and we have a belief in our programme and our team that had perhaps been slightly faltering previously.
Before Christmas we launched our crowdfunding campaign #goingforgoldcoast to raise finance to support our training and competition programme. I am delighted to report that WE DID IT! Helping us along the way were a huge number of supporters who believed in us and were inspired by what we are trying to achieve. This will give us a solid foundation to work from going into the competitive season. But we still need help!
A couple of weeks ago, that motivation-draining devil did threaten to strike. We were sitting in the car with the rain hammering down on the windscreen and wheely-bins being blown across the road from the gale-force winds that had hit Scotland’s East Coast. We were debating whether to train or not. We both knew what the other was thinking. We both knew it was the last thing we wanted to do. But after a deep breath, and almost in unison, we leapt out of the car and off to work we went.
While it wasn’t the most enjoyable session we have had, we were glad we did it. You have to think of those one per cent opportunities to get better.
We got back into the car, heating on full blast, wet layers off. And there it was: the stench of dog poo. I had run straight through a pile of abandoned dog’s dirt and hadn’t even noticed. Back into the rain I went, hands washed in a puddle and dirty socks chucked straight in the bin never to be seen again. Apparently that is good luck. I sure hope so.
Anyway, if you are inspired by what we are doing, please get in touch. Keep up to date by following us on twitter @COUTTS_BEATSBVB or like our Facebook page Beattie/Coutts Beach Volleyball. We are also on Instagram @beattie_coutts where you can see more photos of our Scottish beach adventures. All our latest news will appear on our website www.goingforgoldcoast.com/
CLICK HERE to read Lynne Beattie’s first instalment in the Going For Gold Coast story
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This article is by Lynne Beattie. Lynne’s latest articles