Arnica’s Clinical Manager is a competitive beach volleyball player

Kasia’s love of volleyball begin in 2012 when she was living in Bournemouth. At that time she was playing basketball but there were changes in her team and talk of splitting. She didn’t want to continue playing. “I was looking for something else to do and I needed a new challenge. I was on the beach when I saw people playing beach volleyball. They invited me to play. It looked like such fun, so I did it. I was later invited along to some training.”

By 2013 she was playing 3 seasons regularly. “I didn’t take it seriously in the beginning but after a while I began to get the hunger to compete and I wanted to play more – this came really naturally. It’s such fun, both playing it and socially too. But also, there’s only 2 a side so it’s very challenging and good for fitness. You’re engaging your whole body.”

Kasia now plays at National level and is a member of the Volleyball England Beach Tour. There are different events across the country from end of May to September, with different star ratings for different player levels, with 5-star being the highest – those are the top teams. “I play at 3 to 5-star player rating level events. At 5 star you are playing the best players and the best teams, so the competition is fierce.”

When Kasia moved to Gloucester she had a break from volleyball but after a year found that she was really missing it. “I was looking for a local team but there’s nowhere to play in Cheltenham. I found clubs in Oxford and Cardiff, so I started playing again in July. The majority of events are in London but there are also competitions in Brighton, Bournemouth and Cardiff so it often involves lots of travelling.”

As Arnica’s Clinical Manager, Kasia is responsible for ensuring safe patient care. One of her key goals is to continuously strive for excellence. I asked Kasia if she thought playing volleyball had any similarities to her job as a clinical manager. “It definitely helps to have self-discipline. Without that I don’t think you can play sports. Even when you don’t feel like going to the training you have to force yourself to go – you have to work to improve your game, to strive for excellence. It won’t just happen without a lot of effort and that needs self-discipline. I think that’s the same when running a clinical practice and making sure the team works well and all goes smoothly.”

“I think playing volleyball helps in stressful situations. You need to understand what you’re up against and you need to control your stress. I think it teaches you how to analyse problems and come up with solutions quickly, and to learn from your mistakes.”

Volleyball is a very energetic sport and needs a high level of fitness but what other skills are valuable for playing volleyball? “The biggest is discipline but you also need to be very fit because you’re running on sand. You also need a commitment to the game and to being the best you can be. I don’t think you get anywhere without confidence and a belief in yourself. At the same time, you mustn’t put too much pressure on yourself.”

Kasia recently played at the Open Volleyball Championship in Bridlington, Yorkshire. “We walked away with a Silver medal! The GB team were playing too so it was quite pressured. But I think that kind of pressure is good. I believe that playing against the best players teaches you to improve your game more effectively.”

It takes a certain type of person to manage the clinical side of a dental practice and play national level volleyball. But that’s not enough for Kasia. “I have recently started taking Tennis lessons and have decided that this is what I’ll do when I retire. I do go to the gym because it’s necessary but it’s not really my thing. I find it boring because there’s no skills or team involved but I know I must do it to build my strength and stamina.” Where does she get the energy? “I’ve always been sporty” she says. “When I need to relax I play the piano at home.”