The Woodlands making sand volleyball "a thing"
Former Woodlands High School volleyball player Claire Cantrell trades her court shoes for the sand following continuous knee injuries.
Cantrell has played volleyball all her life saying, "Its always been a common denominator." After years of repetitive knee dislocations and conditionally straining her knees further with training, Cantrell decided to slowly transition into a different form of the sport.
She initially started playing sand volleyball in 2012 and soon hung up her court shoes in 2017. Cantrell, out with another knee injury, decided she wanted to share her love for the sport with her peers and the opportunity to coach. In 2018, Cantrell then took steps into creating a Beach Volleyball Club.
"There was so many steps that went into the creation of the club but it was all worth it," Cantrell said.
She first had to find sponsors, find a facility, get signatures of possible members and finally get approval from The Woodlands High school's assistant principal.
Next, Cantrell had to create bylaws, get waivers, get travel cards and get officers for the club to be official. She got Revolution Volleyball to both sponsor and host the club using their facility and equipment.
"I am so grateful to have found the best teacher-sponsor ever, Mrs.Steele. She lets us do our thing while also keeping us in line regarding our club regulations," Cantrell said.
She filled her six officer positions with people who either had previous volleyball experience or great leaderships skills.
"I made sure my officers could help me keep the club in order by both coaching and keeping events organized, while also contributing ideas to further grow the club, Cantrell said.
Once the club was approved towards the end of Cantrell's sophomore year, she prepared for next the school year by sending the word around about the new club. Once school started again in August, she publicized the club throughout school using posters, announcing it during daily announcements, and using every social media possible: Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
The clubs first official meeting was September 10 from 3:30-5:00.
"It was great seeing so many people from such different backgrounds come together for one common goal. We had 13 members show up to the first meeting and 25 registered, which will only grow as the club does," Cantrell said.
Currently the club is only open to The Woodlands High School students based on school rules for liability. The club was a practice and fun environment, but Cantrell hoped in the future to extend it further with tournaments against each other .
"We were planning on having a tournament with another sand volleyball club at Magnolia, but it go shut down because they didn't have a sponsor," Cantrell said. With players ranging from beginners to advanced, practices include coaching, drills, and scrimmages. "It's a fun environment to get dirty in the sand with your friends learning about beach volleyball," Cantrell said.
Cantrell hoped in the future to have a better date and time for practices, since many students couldn't come due to other activities.
"Going into my senior year, I'm hoping to find someone I can trust and depend on to continue the club. It's currently my little baby," Cantrell said. She hoped one day sand volleyball would be popular enough to have it included as a school sport.