Jake Sheaf – Beach volleyball

Jake had an interest in volleyball from an early age as he travelled around to games and tournaments with his Mum who played for Great Britain in both Indoor and Beach Volleyball. Jake started playing at the age of 14 for the England Cadets but decided to focus on the Beach game after just one year. Jake now trains full time having recently completed a degree in Sports Performance.

What made you want to become an athlete?

I always knew that I wanted to be an athlete and I wanted to follow in my Mum’s footsteps.

What has been your proudest moment to date?

Winning the British tour in 2011.

What does your typical day involve?

My typical day involves training in the morning, working during the day, and then back to training again in the evening.

Who or what inspires you to get up in a morning?

Being successful.

What do your friends and family think about what you do?

They fully support me. It is easier for me as I come from a sporty family and they can recognise the pressures that I am under.

How did you get to where you are today?

My GCSE’s allowed me to go to university early meaning that I could train full time in the Great Britain squad at a relatively young age. My degree in sports performance and my personal training qualification has now allowed me to set up a business in that area. My coaching qualification has also enabled me to get involved with helping young people get interested and enjoy sport.

Looking back, is there anything you would change/do differently if you could?

I would have started my business earlier.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of following in your path?

Make sure you have a back-up plan and whilst success is in your grasp, never give up.

How do you use sports science to support your training/performance?

We are physically tested with equipment such as a jump mat, speed gates and skin folds to test power, speed and body fat. This checks if our strength and conditioning programmes are working. Nutrition advice also plays a big part in training.

Are there any specific areas of science that you use to help you to maximise your performance?

Nutrition is the biggest thing for me as if you don’t eat right you can easily waste the training you have done.

What kind of hobbies do you do to relax?

I work on my own business and sport website, as well as spending as much time as I can with my family and girlfriend.

Have there been any embarrassing moments?

Getting hit in the face with a spiked volleyball in front of a big crowd – ouch!