Coach Cindy Nationally Recognized

We are proud to announce our founder, Cindy Phillips, was presented with the Ernest Langford Pioneer Award by USA Volleyball and the Florida Region!!
It is such an exciting time for Junior's Beach volleyball and Club Beach Dig. You all have made our program so successful and we look forward to cheering you on as you develop throughout the years.  This award is truly a shout out to all of YOU!! Please enjoy the featured article about Cindy and YOUR club in the Florida Region newsletter:

CLUB HIGHLIGHT – CLUB BEACH DIG

Each month a member club is featured in Vol-eNews. This is a great way to get to know the Club Director(s) and learn more about the clubs throughout Florida. This month Cindy Phillips and Club Beach Dig will be highlighted. For those of you who know Cindy Phillips, you would agree that she puts her heart into everything she does; she’s determined, hard working and passionate about the sport of volleyball. This is evident in her career as an AVP player as well as a club director of one of the largest beach volleyball clubs in the U.S. Cindy has worked and played with some of the biggest names in volleyball. Her experiences make her a valuable asset to the volleyball world and a great role model. We are honored to be interviewing Cindy Phillips. Enjoy!

Q: Cindy, tell us about your beach volleyball playing experience?
A: I started playing beach volleyball in Canada believe it or not! I actually stumbled upon it while I was looking for a winter sport to play after college...other than hockey!! I started playing late in life and fell in love with the sport. I've been competing ever since, in both countries, and I am currently playing in my first full season on the AVP tour.

Q: What was the biggest tournament you played in?
A: The biggest tournament I played in was an FIVB international event in Toronto, Canada. It is my only world tour event to date and we played England in the pouring rain!! I would say second to that is the famous Manhattan AVP open.

Q: What is your best finish?
A: My best finish on the AVP is a 17th which I got last summer in Manhattan. It was also the first time I qualified for the main draw so it was a pretty exciting day. I have won an event on the Toyota Pro Beach East tour; have been a 3 - time Dig The Beach National Champion, as well as EVP Champion.

Q: Which states are your clubs currently located in?
A: We currently have clubs in Florida which is our largest, California, Minnesota, and Colorado. We are working on developing South Carolina and Texas as well.

Q: Talk about junior beach volleyball in Florida vs. California.
A: The junior beach volleyball scene in Florida has blown up in the last 3 years. California has always been seen as the mecca of beach volleyball, where kids were born playing on the beach. However, in the last few years, the level of talent coming out of Florida and the professionalism of the events is the best that I've seen. Now that the sport is rising in popularity and has become a college sport for women; players, parents and coaches are taking the game more seriously and the results are incredible. Florida definitely seems to be paving the way when it comes to the junior's beach circuit and it's exciting to watch it grow so rapidly. I look forward to seeing great things and great players coming from the sunshine state over the next few years!

Q: Who is the most notable volleyball celebrity in your cell phone?
A: Hmmm this is a good one! I'd have to say it's a toss up between Angela Rock and Liz Mazakayan. I train with them both and they are two of the most amazing coaches and players I've ever worked with.

Q: What are some of your goals for your club?
A: I would love to continue to expand our club into other states in the future. It has been amazing watching Florida grow to over 200 members, and California seems like a natural location for us, but what's really exciting is that we have a division in Minnesota this year! Growing up in a small town in Canada, where I had never even heard of beach volleyball until I was 25, I think it is amazing that we now have young players in Minnesota learning and getting excited about this amazing sport! If we can continue to grow and reach out to players across the country, even in the land-locked states, I think we will see some exciting new talent that will change the future of this sport!

Q: What could the Florida Region do to better promote outdoor/beach volleyball?
A: In working with several regions, I have to say that Florida is leading the way in the outdoor side of the game. The region has worked hard to promote, monitor and grow the sport in Florida. Managing such a huge and rapid growth has not been an easy task. The hardest thing for us to deal with as a beach club is the fact that so many of our kids feel overwhelmed by indoor. There seems to be less and less time for them to be able to play beach and I know so many of them are disappointed. Every year it seems they are squeezed tighter and tighter by the indoor game, some of them not getting ANY time to play on the beach like they want to. I also think we could improve on providing information and opportunities to our gifted young players on how they can compete internationally, prepare for the onset of college beach volleyball and just take their experience to the next level. It seems that there are opportunities out there, but the information is vague and limited and seems to be focused on California.

Q: When did you start your club?
A: Club Beach Dig launched in May of 2007 in Deerfield Beach Florida. I was expecting to be the only coach at the time, with about 20-30 kids. After over 60 kids signed up for the program, in the first year, it was time to hire coaches and start running a business!

Q: If you could brag about your club, what would you say?
A: Oh yay!!! I don't get enough opportunities to brag about my coaching staff!! I am so grateful to have such an amazing, reliable and talented staff of coaches. Club Beach Dig would not be what it is today if it weren't for our coaches. Almost all of our coaches in Florida and in other states are, or have, competed at the pro level in this sport. But....that does not always translate into being a good coach. In our case it does and I couldn't be more proud. Without these amazing coaches and role models, I would not be able to continue to run this club from another state and still see such growth every year. I've learned that you can work your butt off behind the scenes, but your coaches are still the face of your business and can make or break it. Our coaches aren't just doing a job, they really care about the program and about the kids; this is invaluable to me and to Club Beach Dig.

Q: What do you look forward to in the future for the Florida Region?
A: I'm amazed when I walk on the beach now and see over 150 Junior's teams competing. It gives me goose bumps. I look forward to seeing the sport continue to flourish in the sunshine state and for the young players to get the recognition they deserve. We have some amazing talent brewing in Florida and it's so exciting that some of these players will be the first ever to be College Beach Players! I have watched so many players find a renewed love for the sport once they started playing beach. So many players who might not make the college "cut" for indoor now have new opportunities to play a sport that they love. Growing up where I did, and not discovering beach volleyball until the age of 25, is my real driving force behind Club Beach Dig. I only wish I had something like this growing up. Some of these kids have a 13 year head start on me and I can't wait to see what they will become!

Thanks Cindy for participating in the Club Highlight. The Florida Region wishes you and your club continued success in the 2010 season! Stay tuned for next month’s Club Highlight to learn about Jason Kucera and West Pasco Volleyball Club.

Copyright © Jun 2010 – Florida Region of USA Volleyball, Inc. – All Rights Reserved James Phillips, Commissioner – Steve Bishop, Executive Director 


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