Phoebe Bell features in “Question & Answer Time” this week, giving us all an insight into one of the Australia’s emerging talents in beach volleyball.

Q: Phoebe, where should we start! Would you mind sharing your back story with #exclusiveinsight?

A: Yeah, of course. I’m 21 years of age, and while I am originally from Brisbane, I relocated to Adelaide two and a half years ago as part of my commitment to the national beach volleyball program.

Q: So why volleyball? How did it all began, and were there any family ties to the sport?

A: I started playing indoor volleyball in high school and made the senior indoor national team when I was 18 years old. At the time I was the youngest member on the team. However, the sport of volleyball was not foreign to me. My eldest brother played for Australia, and was on the professional circuit for seven years. My other brother, also played on the junior national team and went to college in Canada on a volleyball scholarship. I only made the switch to full time beach volleyball when I relocated to Adelaide.

Phoebe Bell exclusive insight

Q: Oh wow, and we understand you also pursued collegiate opportunities with volleyball?

A: Yeah that is right. I went to Boise State, a college in America, accepting a four year dual indoor and beach scholarship. I stayed there for six months, but decided to return home early due to rising opportunities on the beach circuit in Australia. College was a very cool experience and something that I will always encourage. The lessons and challenges that come with living so far away from home I believe can be very valuable. I also met lots of new people and are still in contact with many of them.

Q: You have recently forged a new partnership on the sand. Would you mind letting us know more about your current program?

A: Yeah that is right, I recently began playing with Jessyka Ngauamo in January, a fellow Queenslander. We have such a good relationship on and off the court, which I believe is crucial in a sport we were spending so much time together. We are a young team, but already have made so many individual and team gains as a partnership and I have great belief that we will continue to be successful in the future.

Phoebe Bell exclusive insight volleyball

Currently, Jess and myself are in the middle of our world tour season, so we are traveling quite a bit from tournament to tournament. We have just left for our third month long tour this year to Asia. Lots of the world tour this year is located in Asia, which is a bit unusual. Last year, I was competing in Europe more so, just depends on the world tour calendar and which tournaments we plan to compete in.

Q: You mentioned your age, and you are so young, but you have had so much life experience already!

A: Yeah I suppose moving away from home at 18 was really hard, but also it makes you so much more independent. I had to learn to do everything for myself, but it made me appreciate all those little things my parents would do for me at home! I guess the amount of traveling we have to do as a professional beach volleyball athlete also contributes to life experience. We are exposed to so many different cultures and ways of life.

Q: You must have some strong family and friend support around you?

I’m lucky to be surrounded by like-minded people. My boyfriend, Travis Mahoney, is an Australian swimmer who competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics. So having him by my side certainly helps me a lot, as he understands the highs and lows the crazy roller coaster that elite athletes ride mentally and physically. And of course, I’m lucky to have such good family support and a family that understands the sport with both brothers having both played at such high levels.

Phoebe Bell exclusive insight travis

Q: Do you often have time just to stop, think and reflect on everything that is happening around you?

A: I think life as a professional athlete, can be extremely demanding but also very rewarding – mentally, emotionally and physically. There are challenges to what I do, but I am also very privileged to be living the life I am. I love travelling the world, playing beach volleyball, meeting people and soaking up new experiences. I also love being an athlete because I generally have passion for nutrition and leading a healthy lifestyle.

Q: What do you get up to when you are not at training? Can you share with us some of your hobbies outside of volleyball?

I am currently studying a Bachelor of Business. I understand that unfortunately you can only be an athlete for so long, and I want to have some platform for myself for life after volleyball. So chipping away at a degree is something that is very important to me. I also think it is important to have something else that is not volleyball to focus on so I can have a little bit of balance and not be thinking about volleyball 24/7.

Phoebe Bell exclusive insight travis

Q: What does your training week look like when you are in Adelaide?

We train 5 days a week, sometimes we have a Saturday morning session but usually we get the weekends off to rest and recover. The training schedule will change slightly week to week depending on what’s coming up, however usually my week is pretty similar. We will have what we call a ‘sand’ session (volleyball session) 5 times a week and gym (weights) 3 times a week. We have conditioning sessions 2 times a week, which usually involves running/sprints on the sand. We also have speed and agility sessions sometimes.

Q: Favourite place you have travelled too? 

I’m so lucky with our sport that we get to travel to so many different countries. There’s an event on the world tour in a place called Gstaad, in Switzerland and is surrounded by the Swiss Alps . I was lucky enough to play that event last year and it is literally the most scenic, beautiful place I have ever seen. I also got to go to Tahiti a few years back now and that was pretty cool!