Daisy Mumby on her American influences & competitive streak
27th May 2020
Londoner Daisy Mumby is first up in a new series of beach athlete player profiles. The 28-year-old blocker, who is now partnered with Jess Grimson, talks about her North American role models, a never-say-die attitude, and the wait to make her England debut.
How did you get into beach volleyball?
I started playing beach volleyball recreationally at university in Brighton. Sussex University offered free taster sessions down at Yellowave on the Brighton seafront, so I went and tried it out. I had been playing indoor volleyball for a couple of years by then, so I had an idea of the fundamentals.
I actually ended up working at Yellowave while I studied as Spencer Mintram offered me a job there, so I was exposed to the sport on a daily basis which helped me to really fall in love with it.
Lewie Lett was a big influence for me once I moved to London. I joined Deep Dish at Crystal Palace where he is the head coach, and he gave me the confidence to progress my beach volleyball career. I had always been a recreational player, but he motivated me to go out of my comfort zone to progress on court.
Can you recall your England debut?
I am still waiting for this. This year was going to be my first season representing England, but that is now on hold due to COVID-19.
I had been training in Brazil for 3 months in the off-season, so I was ready to get going as soon as I returned! Jess and I had planned a number of tournaments on the World Tour, but right now we're just waiting to hear which ones will be going ahead, albeit postponed.
Thinking about your playing style, what do you bring to the game?
I am quite a tall player at 185cm, so I like to think I put up a solid block and can fight for the ball at the net. I am a relaxed player but am also very competitive so I have the drive to win every point.
And what do you look for in the people you play with?
I like playing with people who have the same drive as me and don’t like to give up. I also believe a lot can be done off the court to improve as a player, so if my partner is willing to put in the hours at the gym and further educates themselves on the game, that is always a plus!
So, for me, watching lots of full matches has helped to understand different playing styles and the vastness of team dynamics. There is also plenty of technique-based content out there from lots of different teams, such as the Beachvolley Vikings, and the McKibbin Brothers.
What are you most likely to be doing if you are not playing volleyball?
I make my living through editing videos, so if I’m not out on the court, I’m probably at a computer cutting videos. It's not the best to be a freelancer right now given the current climate, but it has really opened up my schedule and gave me the freedom to disappear for three months to train. The majority of my experience is in sports content, but I'd really love to move towards documentary some day.
There are obviously ups and downs in sport, what keeps you motivated?
It helps to be surrounded by other people who enjoy the sport and share the same passion for it. Setting myself small achievable goals for the near future helps me to stay grounded, but I find it is also very important to see the bigger picture in order to not get lost in the everyday.
Do you have a volleyball role model?
April Ross, of the United States. I’ve always looked up to her because of her determination and sheer grit both on and off the court.
I have also enjoyed learning more about the journey of Canadian player Sarah Pavan as well as her can-do attitude. I recently read an article she wrote titled "A Letter To My Younger Self" which outlines her experiences that have got her to where she is today. It talks a lot about not giving up, being who you are, and to "always walk towards the hard things". I found it very inspiring and can imagine it was a tough thing to write.
It talks about her father being her volleyball coach throughout her childhood, and with his coaching style she was constantly made to feel she was not good enough. But with discipline and determination, she was able to overcome these thoughts and broke through to become the player she is now.
What are your sporting ambitions?
My ambitions include competing on the World Tour and qualifying for the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
What is the best piece of advice you could give to younger players?
Don’t give up, but also make sure you’re still enjoying the sport you play.