Santa Monica beach volleyball courts will be extra busy during the weeks of October 10-23. Former Olympians Phil Dalhausser and April Ross will be coming to Santa Monica to lead a series of training sessions for teenagers and adults.
This will be the inaugural session of ‘Phil and April’s Beach Volleyball Camp,’ an event which has local beach volleyball players excited to participate and help further establish Santa Monica’s beach volleyball community, which is regarded as the location where two-person beach volleyball first began.
“I just think it is so exciting that out of all of the Southern California beaches they could have chosen, they chose Santa Monica,” said Kurt Schwengel, a local kindergarten teacher, former Samohi beach volleyball coach and a beach volleyball player himself. “And as a tie into the 2028 Olympics, which will be in the shadow of the Santa Monica Pier, it’s just great that it’s all coming back home to Santa Monica.”
Schwengel said he also hopes the camps contribute to a goal of his to get Santa Monica back on the map as a stop on the Association of Volleyball Professional’s pro beach volleyball tour. He said he plans to attend several of the sessions and is looking forward to learning from Dalhausser and Ross.
Tyler Varian, the event producer for the camp is also an avid LA beach volleyball player who frequents Santa Monica courts. He said he met Dalhausser in Orlando when he took a lesson with him a while back.
“We started talking about putting together some camps and bringing his amazing coaching capabilities to the greater beach volleyball landscape, and what better place to do that than in Santa Monica,” Varian said. “We wanted to have a really strong local community of players who we knew would be interested in learning from gold medalists like Phil and April.”
Dalhausser is a four-time olympian who won gold at the Beijing games in 2008. Ross has competed in three olympics and won a medal at each- silver in London 2008, bronze in Rio 2016 and gold in Tokyo 2020.
“The goal is for anyone who takes our classes to get better, to try to level up,” Dalhausser said. “A lot of players when they’re adults, most of them haven’t had any kind of formal training so we figure we can try to give them training tips and techniques to hopefully become a better player.”
Both Dalhausser and Ross have coaching experience and said they’re passionate about sharing their knowledge and what they’ve learned throughout their careers.
“My favorite part [about coaching] is seeing something click,” Ross said, “maybe a problem a player was having that they hadn’t been able to figure out, and then just working with that player and saying something where they’re like ‘oh yeah that makes sense’ and then seeing them improve because of it – it’s kind of like a puzzle in a way.”
Classes will be small with a ratio of six students to one coach with either Phil or April or both present at every one.
“We really felt it was important that people receive hands-on instruction,” Varian said. “There are a lot of other camps out there but you’ll sometimes have 10-20 people working with one coach and it’s really hard to learn that way.”
Registration for the camp is currently open and more information can be found on the website https://www.philandapril.com.