6 things pro beach athletes wish they knew before they started playing

Oct. 26, 2017, 7 a.m. (ET)

Volleyball athletes share their bit of advice for things they wish they knew before they started playing the sport. One tip, it's never too late to learn and apply these lessons to your skill set.

Kerri Walsh Jennings

Five-time Olympian, with three Olympic gold and one bronze
What I learned later in life, and would have be helpful earlier on, is that IT'S OKAY TO BE NERVOUS. EVERYONE IS NERVOUS!

Lane Carico

Professional beach volleyball athlete and member of the U.S. Beach A2 Team
One thing I wish I knew before I started playing sports competitively, is that I can’t let the opinions of others (good or bad) hold too much weight. Ultimately my own approval/judgment is the one that matters most and makes the greatest difference in my ability to pursue my goals while sustaining well-being and living according to my core values. It took me quite a while to realize how truthful and powerful this is, and it still takes mindfulness to live by it.

Jake Gibb

Three-time Olympian in beach volleyball
I wish I knew the value of good coaching. I would get a legit coach early on. A good coach is someone that has a solid knowledge base and can communicate and teach it.

Sara Hughes

Professional beach athlete and member of the U.S. Beach National Team
Start wearing sunglasses young. I hated wearing glasses until I realized how important they are for your eyes. Also, learn how to wear a hat or a visor! I'm still trying to figure that out.

Lauren Fendrick

2016 Olympian in beach volleyball
These are things I try to remember as I go through my career: Skills can be learned and mistakes are a part of the learning process. Meaningful "big change" doesn't happen overnight. Consistent, intentional habits and effort is what leads to growth over time. Failures don't define you, your reaction to them does. A mindfulness practice can help you live life and play sports the way you want to. Being authentically you is what it's all about.

Emily Day

Professional beach athlete and member of the U.S. Beach National Team
Learn to play in a hat/visor and sunglasses right away. I know it may obstruct your vision to begin with, but you will be doing your skin and eyes a huge favor in the long run! Plus a visor/hat actually helps you wait and keep the ball in front of you when you attack. I can't play without these items now!