By Andrea McCullagh
Sam Halley and Mateusz Zieba are seeded number one in this weekend’s NBVA tournament on Manly Beach. The Men’s AAA pair have been playing together for almost two years and are formidable opponents on the court thanks to Sam’s dynamic defence and Mateusz’s power at the net.
Their training schedule is impressive. They usually fit in three sessions on the beach, long hours in the gym, another couple of hours on skills and then they play games across the weekend.
“I do it because I like it,” Sam says.
“There’s not anytime I don’t enjoy it apart from if I feel like we haven’t achieved something new or progressive.”
Alongside all this work, they also put lots of hours in as NBVA coaches: Sam coaches the Women’s AAA teams and Mateusz coaches the Men’s AA and A squads. And if that wasn’t enough to fit into the week, they also have full-time jobs. Sam works as a sports scientist for PhysioFox (he’s also known as Dr Halley after achieving a PhD last year) and Mateusz is a structural design engineer with Arcadis.
This season it’s all about improving as players. They are focused on doing things they couldn’t last year and are aiming to be more organic as a defence unit.
“The plan for this season is to keep playing as consistently as last season and get one step further to play on the national level,” Mateusz says.
“That means to win a medal at a five-star event.”
They are well on track to achieving this goal. They achieved the highest points total on the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour last year and have also placed in the Adelaide, Victoria, Queensland and NSW Opens. They’ve also won the ACT Open a couple of times.
Sam is encouraging people to join NBVA because it is a great way to meet new friends both here and around the world. The language of beach volleyball is international.
“If you can join a group to play volleyball you are already going to be friends with the group you are playing with,” he says.
“When you progress and get a little bit better that gives you a passport and you can go anywhere in the world.
“When I went to Berlin, I played one day and after that I had ten or 15 friend requests and people asking me to train every day from then on.
“It’s a way to get a group of friends and find something to do wherever you go.”
Sam and Mateusz are supported and kept in shape by fellow NBVA member Lachlan at Back2Form Osteopathy.