Just Jump

This season has seen me in the gym more often than any other season to date. Thanks to everyone at FITS Toronto for helping out getting me noticeable physical results, and therefore plenty of incentive to keep coming back. I made a little montage of Christian and I in our training leading up the 2011 season. It's just a sneak peak, and mine and Christian's workouts don't always coincide, so it's mostly footage of me. But that's ok, no one wants to see Christian pushing around his light weights anyhow (you'll see what I mean during his squat footage). So without further ado:

Edit: My apologies for the technical problems yesterday. The video should be working today.


Ben Jammin



I'm off by a few days, but I was looking back over my past submissions and realized that just over a year ago (A year and 7 days) I blogged my first blog. Since then I have posted 55 times in 53 weeks, which is actually better than i expected. Last year around this time, I was so excited about having a blog, I was blogging 3 times a week without fail. That lasted pretty much until my season started to kick into high gear, then my mind wandered elsewhere, and blog topics started to evade me. It's clear to me that 3 blogs in a week is a lofty goal, but I'm confident that I can at the very least maintain the once a week average achieved over the last year.

If there is anything that should be added or changed, I still welcome any and all feedback. According to blogspot statistics, "Modern Hairfare" - Where I asked everyone to vote on my next hairstyle back in July, is still my most popular post. Now I'm not sure if I'll pull that particular stunt again, but I'm considering running some sort of contest, because it seems like you guys enjoyed getting involved. Possibly some sort of auction or prize giveaway, potentially involving both me and Christian (but he doesn't know it yet). I just haven't quite decided on how to go about it yet. Any ideas on this would also be greatly appreciated, may even increase your odds of winning.

Here's a short list of things to expect on Ben Jammin over the 2011 season:
1- Better Results
2- More Video Blogs - "Dinner For Schmuck" has quickly risen to top 3 in total hits
3- Better Interaction Opportunities (Contests, Surveys, etc.)
4- A blog/week average
5- High Fives All Around

Travel starts in just 10 days. Let's start this volleyball and blogging season off right.



Just Play

My strength and conditioning trainer, Thomas Lam, recently asked me if I ever get angry. Apparently i give off the impression that I'm always relaxed and content. When I'm playing, it's a different story, I get upset at myself all the time. But by the time the next point rolls around, it's forgotten, there's no use crying over spilled milk. I don't think it was game play frustration that Dr. Lam was referring to, however, but everyday life.

Those of you who know my current situation probably understand that for me at the moment, there should be plenty to be upset about. There is some unnecessary drama that has taken place over the past couple weeks, just enough to stir the pot. So as not to extend said drama any further than it's already gotten, I won't say any more than that. Instead I've put some thought into how very like a game of beach volleyball life really is. That's right, it's about to get all philosophical up in here. 

Beach Volleyball - A Metaphor for Life
For this metaphor, let's imagine we're all playing an important, high-pressure match. Life is the opponent. One set to infinity, win by 2. So how do we win? 

Any way we can, but there are always ways in which to better yourself. Life will come at us in many different ways, in order to stay on top it's important that we practice. It takes a combination of many different skills in order to truly succeed. Every point will be different than the last, so it's important to experience as much as possible in order to be prepared for what future points will bring. The more quality time spent perfecting our passion, the greater the returns, and the better we will play.

Then comes the warm-up. It's important to have some sort of routine. Something that consistently helps us to stay relaxed, or to get pumped up, or whatever it is we need in order to be at our best every morning, or every game. Minor adjustments can be made to a warm-up, but as we get closer to game time, closer to that high pressure scenario, the more comfortable we will want to feel, and the less we will be willing to sacrifice from that routine. Life is always the home team, we all have our own supporters, but no matter how many fans each of us has, everyone will face adversity at the hands of Life. Any advantage we can take, we need to be sure to capitalize, making every preparation an important one.

Just like that, the first whistle blows and Life comes at us. Have we prepared enough? Whether we have or not, it's time to put up the best fight that we can. If we spend all our time worrying if we are good enough, or smart enough, or strong enough, or fast enough, then we won't be. Confidence is the key. Once game time hits, it's too late to wonder if we're ready, it's time to know it. Life is not about to let up for us, if we give up an early lead, then we'll have to dig extra deep in order to take back control.

There will undoubtedly be frustrations along the way. Life will earn a few points. I have never seen a perfect game (except Charlie Sheen, who is apparently winning even when he's losing.) Whether we're beaten by the uncontrollable let serve, or we lose a hard fought battle of a rally, our opponent will take a few points from us no matter how hard we push, or how consistent we play. But the importance does not lie with how we are beaten, but by how we respond. Will we show defeat? Or will we be ready to win the next battle? Like the saying goes, "A winner never quits, and a quitter never wins." True in all facets of life and volleyball. Any point Life scores against us is just reason to come back stronger.

How we react to any situation Life throws us, win or lose, can make all the difference. Everyone has their own style and personality which will be effective at times and ineffective at others. No player is perfect, but Life isn't unbeatable so no one has to be. Whichever side has scored more points when the game ends wins. It's a simple concept, so why spend so much time analyzing it? Life challenges us all, in the end, the best thing to do is to just play.

So do I ever get angry or frustrated? Yeah, I do. But then my 12 seconds are up and it's time for the next rally. Frustration isn't going to do me much good, it's time to chin up. Life is going to come at me again, but I am very confident in my training. I've worked hard to get where I'm at, and not matter what Life throws at me, I'm ready. Win or lose, the game is on. I've just gotta play.

Ben Jammin

PS. Feel free to check out mine and Christian's new Facebook fanpage by clicking the link on the right. There's not much on there right now, but when the season hits it will be a chance for you to interact with both Christian and I and get instant updates on our status as the season plays on.


Do What You Love, Love What You Do

March has begun, and the 2011 season is fast approaching. For those not in the know, I've spent my winter months on the beach volleyball court. Big surprise there. I would sound more excited if winter training were spent somewhere warm. On the plus side, the snow is starting to melt here in Toronto, and Canadian summer will be here before too long. From the sounds of things global warming is already hitting in Alberta, apparently it was a balmy -30 or so in Calgary the other day. So thinks could be worse out east I suppose. Fortunately, weather is the only thing I have to complain about. Once I escape the wind biting right to my core, and get onto the court, or into the gym, my spirits get heated right back up to melt any chilly thoughts I may have concerning the cold outside.

The climate isn't the only thing heating up as Spring creeps out from behind Wiarton Willy's shadow (who predicted early spring by the way, good call. Not.) Sand practices and workouts are picking up in intensity as well. I think next week, I'll bring my phone into on of my workouts and give everyone a little sample as they transition from strength to power. Which means today I talk about sand.

Sand comes in many different colors and gradients. Some is light, some is heavy.....................
Just kidding, I know no one wants to hear about the differences in sand right now. And no, my sand sculptures are not nearly as good as my snow creations. If you are interested in noting a difference or two, and you happen to be in Calgary, there are bottles filled with sand from several of the different venues that I've competed at over the past few years on display in the office of the Volleydome.

Sand training might be more what you came here to see, or read, or whatever (I still haven't completely decided whether I should be blogging as if readers are sitting beside me experiencing it with me, or whether I'm telling it as a story, I apologize if i tend to flip flop a little.) Since Christmas, beach partner Christian Redmann, have been put to work by friend/coach/mentor John Child, and National Team Head Coach Lennard Krapp. We spend a few days of every week with one, and few days with the other as they put us to work to help us develop in time for the start of the 2011 season. I'll post our summer schedule tomorrow on the right side of the page. We're looking to kick things off strong with a NORCECA in Guatemala, followed by an Olympic trials tournament in the Dominican Republic, both happening in mid to late April.

With only a month and a half to go before tournaments begin, we're moving to less reps, and more gameplay. Training in very competitive environments with many of Canada's top experienced and up and coming beach volleyball players. The list of regular training partners includes, (in no particular order): Rich Van Huizen, Josh Binstock, Matt Zbyscewski, Jessi Lelliott, Chaim Schalk, Martin Reader, Maverick Hatch, and Sam Schachter. You may have heard a few of the names, you almost certainly will hear of the others. The more we all work together, the more we all improve. Every Christian and I step on the court, it excites me that things are about to get into full gear pretty soon. 

I work myself hard almost every day, but my job is amazing.
Work = Play, Play = Fun, and I love fun, therefore:
I love what i do.