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Volleyball great pens first book

Kensington woman sports an impressive resume

By Lucia Viti

Former beach volleyball superstar Angela Rock has just added authorship to her long list of athletic and professional accomplishments.

In her first book, “Angela Rock’s Advanced Beach Volleyball Tactics,” the Kensington resident shares years of hard-earned experience in a guide book that covers beach volleyball from A to Z. Tactics are clearly defined with easy-to-follow references that cover every aspect of game.

Kensington resident authors her first book on volleyball. (Courtesy of Angela Rock)

Topics include choosing partners and coaches, warm-ups, serves that score, receiving and passing, skills and responsibilities, offensive tactics, effective blocking, defensive variations and strategic options.

Rock’s book underscores the differences between playing indoor and beach volleyball while sharing 30 years of accumulated knowledge and experience as a player and coach.

“I wish I would’ve known all that I’ve learned when I was climbing the ranks,” she said. “I love the sport of beach volleyball. I hope to give readers an in-depth look from the perspective of my professional playing and coaching career.”

“Angela discusses different philosophies, approaches and parts of the game that only someone with her playing and coaching experience can do,” three-time Olympian Holly McPeak said in a testimonial review of the book. “Very few people worldwide have the credibility and experience to coach/play at the highest level like Angela does. Beach volleyball takes years to understand, but with this book, you get a crash course in everything and the learning curve is accelerated.”

Rock sports a lengthy and impressive volleyball resume. Her journey began in high school playing simply to “be with friends.” Rock competed through two college final fours and spent five years on the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team.

Fourteen years as a beach volleyball professional led Rock into a world of athletic stardom. Internationally, Rock played on the U.S. National Team and participated in the 1986 Goodwill Games and the World Championships; the 1987 Pan American Games; and the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea. The decorated Olympian was voted Team USA’s most valuable player in 1985.

Rock’s coaching career followed suit. In 1996, beach volleyball became an Olympic sport during the Atlanta Games. Although Rock was not an official coach — beach volleyball coaches were not included as staff — Rock had access to beach volleyball team members Nancy Reno and McPeak.

Book cover

“The indoor teams added their coaches to the beach teams which did nothing to help them succeed,” Rock explained. “I was fortunate to have a credential that allowed me access to Nancy and Holly, something no other team had. The frustration of the indoor staff not providing any real assistance to the beach teams made me acutely aware of the need for specific information about beach volleyball. That was the moment this book was born.”

Today, indoor and beach volleyball is separated at both the Olympic and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) levels.

Rock stressed that many NCAA programs still “have beach coaches with little or no experience in sand volleyball.”

Rock’s book also differentiates coaching techniques between indoor and beach volleyball.

“There’s an assumption that because you understand and coach indoors, you can coach on the beach, but they’re completely different games,” she said. “My book provides insight into the subtleties of coaching and playing beach volleyball at higher competitive levels.”

Rock added that she’s included purposeful information gleaned from training other players.

“Much of what I learned about strategy came from players that I coached, she said. “For that I am forever grateful and really wish I could have known as much when I was still playing.”

Rock’s coaching career continues to this day. The former assistant coach at the University of California, Santa Barbara also served as head coach at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she garnered a record for Pacific West Conference wins. Coaching stints also include premier clubs in San Diego.

Rock was inducted into the Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2013.

Currently, Rock is a professor of health and science and the head coach of beach volleyball at Southwestern College in Chula Vista. Rock will be teaching at Coronado’s Crown Cove Aquatic Center through Southwestern College this summer.

Rock concluded that her love for beach volleyball was the impetus for writing her book.

“I was fortunate to play beach volleyball for many years,” she said, “and that was my main motivation for writing this book. I wanted to get my thoughts on paper for future generations of coaches and players.”

—Contact Lucia Viti at luciaviti@roadrunner.com.

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