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Van Dorsten getting to grips with life on the beach

Michiel van Dorsten is quickly picking up the skills needed for beach volleyball
Stare Jablonki, Poland, July 4, 2013 – Michiel van Dorsten is not taking a low-key start to life as a beach volleyball player. 

Having made his FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour debut at The Hague Grand Slam less than a month ago, the Dutchman is now appearing at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Mazury 2013 alongside Tim Oude Elferink, who is quickly helping pick up the nuances of his new sport.

“It is completely different from the indoor game,” Van Dorsten said. “You do everything; you have to pass, set and attack and that is the main difference. Indoor I was an opposite player and all I had to do was spike the ball. Here I have to set it and pass and you are involved in every play, so that means a big mental change too.

“He helps me a lot because he has played so many years of beach volleyball and teaches me skills and tricks. We also get on well off the court.”

The 27-year-old only switched to beach volleyball from volleyball earlier in the year. He played for Dynamo Apeldoorm in the Dutch League, but suffered continual knee problems that affected his ability to play and train.

Having left the hard surface of the volleyball court behind, he has found that the sand is far more sympathetic to his knees and that he is able to get more out of the sport.”

“I had some knee problems indoor and I couldn’t train fulltime because of the knee,” he said. “The sand is so much more comfortable for my knees and I can train six days a week.

“It is still heavy because there has been a lot of playing and a lot of training, but I can manage it and it is good.”

Van Dorsten and Oude Elferink endured a tough start to life at the top of beach volleyball and suffered three losses against Spain’s Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera and two Brazilian duos in Pedro Salgado and Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Vitor Felipe and Evandro Goncalves.

Despite the defeats, van Dorsten has a far greater long-term goal – the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games – and he is using Mazury 2013 as the first step in a learning process that he hopes will eventually earn him a place in Brazil.

“You see you have to achieve to be at the top of the world,” he said. “Four months ago I couldn’t set a ball or serve. I didn’t know what I was doing, but it is going fast, so it is great.

“It was my goal when I started in beach volleyball, let’s see if it is possible. I’ve only played for five months, so I can’t say right now if I’m going to make it, but that is the goal.”


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