Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Guenette building sand castles

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WANDA GUENETTE had 25 years of indoor volleyball to get rid of before she could become the beach volleyball player she wanted to be.

She wouldn't even compare her transition with that of identical twins Josie and Kearley Abbott.

"Their transition, they are doing stuff in seven weeks that probably took me two seasons to get," said Guenette.

This year Guenette, who was a member of the 1996 Canadian Olympic team, made High Line Beach Volleyball (where she is the head coach) a private club in order to focus on a low number of teams and get the most out of their development. The Abbotts are one of three teams in her high-performance program and the progress they have made in such a short time is impressive, she said.

"I see a lot of potential," said Guenette. "What they've learned in seven weeks is actually quite incredible. Their learning curve is spectacular and I think it's advantageous to go home with your sister every night and then you can come back the next day doing something new...

"They hate to lose. I think they hate to lose more than they like to win, which is a huge advantage. If you have that kind of passion then you're going to be pretty successful."

When the season starts, Guenette's teams are training four times a week with physical training at the beginning of every practice. She focuses a lot on the fitness of her athletes and their ability to move through the sand.

The challenge for Guenette is preparing her teams to go up against the top teams in Ontario, a province that boasts three indoor beach volleyball facilities, while in Manitoba the beach volleyball season starts when the snow melts off the ground.

She said having an indoor beach volleyball facility would be great and would certainly keep those who enjoy the game around, rather than losing athletes to the indoor game.

"There is just no where else to train, other than in the summer," she said. "Or you have to move to Toronto and that's not always feasible."

High Line appears to be doing a good with what it has to work with.

kyle.edwards@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 28, 2014 D6

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