Katie Barbour gives us an insight into her beach volleyball career to date and her experiences playing in the UKBT.

May 21, 2020 Katie Barbour

Week 10 of lockdown in the UK has made me realise how much I’m missing all my fellow volleyballers and obviously the sport itself. Indoor season would now be finished and all my focus would be on beach season with a lot of tournaments lined up for summer, whether it’s playing here on my doorstep in Troon, travelling to different corners of England to compete in the UK Beach Tour or potentially looking at tournaments abroad in the sun.

Around this time last year, I was training roughly 5 times per week with a mixture of beach and indoor international tournaments; making lockdown that little bit harder as all these amazing memories keep popping up on my timeline and also reminding me that I really need to work on my tan for next season, especially when I’m playing with Cathy Smy...maybe that should be one of my new goals?

Last year I got the chance to play in my 2nd international tournament abroad for Scotland with my new partner, Cathy Smy. With very little time to train together due to other personal commitments (like getting a degree) we trained a couple of times before travelling to Larnaca, Cyprus in June for the 1st round of the CEV Continental Cup. We didn’t get the result we wanted, however we got to unique opportunity to play against highly skilled (tall) opponents, watch some of the best female and male volleyball players in the world, model some sick bikini bottoms and we had FUN – which is always one of our goals which we achieve 90% of the time. Even though we didn’t get the desired results from Cyprus we took it as a massive learning opportunity to better ourselves as players and also thanks to Martyn and Lenard for the endless support they gave us throughout. We learned how to play under pressure in 33-degree heat, getting the soles of your feet burnt on the sand is extremely uncomfortable, we are both very superstitious players and the small player always gets picked on during matches.

In July, we applied for a wild card entry to the Grand Slam UK 5* Beach Tour (UKBT) in Bridlington. Again, throwing ourselves in at the deep end to play against some top-class players, coming 5th in this tournament 😊. We then entered the UKBT in Bournemouth which wasn’t as successful as we’d hoped for, but we’re blaming that one on the wind. Every game was a new opportunity to learn how each other played as we live so far away (literally opposite ends of the country) we can’t train together very often. We travelled to the UKBT’s with our fellow Scottish volleyballers; Callum Stewart and Ross McKelvie who always make the trips fun and a little bit losing a set of car keys a couple of hours before travelling back to Scotland...Callum, Cathy has still not forgiven you for this!

After lockdown, you’ll most likely find me on the beach every night training with my fellow West Coast Beach crew, working hard learning new skills for future competitions across the UK and hopefully abroad in the sun. Thanks to WCBC for asking me to write a bit about my experience playing internationally and in the UKBT, hopefully get more opportunities to do so in the future.

And also thanks to my partner, Cathy, for putting up with me; having to remind me of what all the blocking signals mean when I forget them 10 minutes after her explaining them to me and for being the best partner and friend I could ask for...Here’s to more hilarity and volleyball matches together 😊

Over and out 😊

To stay up todate with Katie and Cathy and their journey you can follow them on Instagram.

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