Phoebe, tell us a little about your volleyball journey? How long have you been an athlete for? What led you to pursuing this sport?
I have been a full time professional beach volleyball athlete for 5 years. I started playing indoor volleyball in high school and in my final years of school was exposed to a little bit of beach volleyball. The year post high school I went to college in America on a dual NCAA Division 1 scholarship for beach and indoor volleyball, before returning back to Australia and joining the national program for beach volleyball the following year. This required me to relocate interstate to pursue my dream of going to the Olympic Games. From then on I have won multiple medals on the World Beach volleyball circuit, competed at multiple Junior World Championships and at the Youth Olympic Games. Last year the National Beach Volleyball program relocated back to my home state (Queensland) and I am currently campaigning to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games later this year.
What inspires you to keep an active lifestyle?
Ensuring I keep a healthy lifestyle is so important for my mental health! I love being outside, I love exercising and eating well. I really notice a difference in my mood when I don’t. On my days off from volleyball, I would much rather get outside and have an active recovery day then be inside. Even if this is going for a swim and reading my book at the beach, that is enough.
How do you think volleyball has shaped who you are today?
Volleyball has had a massive influence on the person I am today. It has brought me many opportunities that I am forever grateful for. I am well traveled, meet a lot of people and lived out of home from a young age. As a result, I have been in many uncomfortable situations where I have felt vulnerable and had to find my way. Beach Volleyball is also unique in the way it can be very athlete driven. This can be logistical wise traveling the world, or can be volleyball related. It is a very challenging sport, but also extremely rewarding.
At L’URV we are all about female empowerment, who inspires you to be your best self?
I think it’s amazing that L’urv is about female empowerment. I have many incredible females around me that inspire and support me to be my best self - my gorgeous mother, best friend Cody & volleyball partner Jess just to name a few. I feel empowered when I trust myself and remain authentic in who I am. I get a lot of inspiration for this through listening and learning from others journeys and stories through podcasts and reading. They remind me that not all journeys are linear and a lot of ‘successful’ people have actually experienced many setbacks. My current favourite podcasts are ‘Dyl & Friends’ (sport) and ‘Super Soul Conversations’ by Oprah Windfrey (life). My current favourite books are anything written by ‘Brene Brown’.
What’s your go to spotify playlist when you’re working out?
My music taste is very all over the place. I like all sorts of music! Currently my Spotify choice for a workout would probably involve ‘Fisher’ radio or something electronic like ‘Lane 8’ radio.
What’s next? Where do you see yourself over the next few years?
To be honest, I don’t really have a set 5 year plan. Ideally, it would be great to play beach volleyball for as long as possible - I love the sport and I love being an athlete. I am also studying a business marketing degree part time, so it would be great to finish that over the next few years. I am doing my best everyday and I’ll see where that takes me - that’s all I can ask from myself.
What do you do to practice mindfulness and wind down after such busy days?
Yes absolutely, I’m a big believer in practicing gratitude and mindfulness. I find these practices help my mental health and therefore overall happiness. Gratitude is important to me because it allows me enjoy life with a peaceful mind, not feeling as if I need more. Self awareness is important to me because I am able to better manage how I react in situations, which also develops my empathy levels - the ability to see stand in another’s shoes and see from their point of view is something I think is very important in life. Most days I will write down a few things I am grateful for, and write a short journal entry about how I am feeling in that moment. I then like to do a quick guided mediation before heading to sleep. I also use mindfulness prior to games or practice if I’m feeling stressed or unfocused. Usually this involves deep breathing with a sole focus on the breathe.