Amanda Dowdy, 26-year-old Leander native, will return home this month to compete in the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Beach Volleyball Tour. The tour, which crosses the U.S., will include a stop in Austin for the first time this year. Currently living and training in California, Dowdy said that she has been waiting for the AVP to come to Austin, knowing that the beach volleyball scene is growing in popularity in her hometown. She also said that her distinctly Texas roots helped her develop her volleyball career. Growing up on a ranch, she and her siblings were encouraged to lead an active lifestyle.
“We were always outside doing something. We were always taking care of the animals, and for me, I grew up always playing a sport,” Dowdy said. “So not only was I active on my ranch with chores and all of that, but I was very active as a kid in all sports. I did everything.”
Dowdy played indoor volleyball for Texas Tech University where she set several school records, some of which still stand today. Traditionally an indoor volleyball player, Dowdy went professional in 2011. After spending her off-seasons playing beach volleyball for fun, she made the challenging transition to professional beach volleyball in 2014. While the basic rules of the sport are the same, there are key differences that make the transition difficult.
“In beach you have two of you so it feels individual even though it’s a team sport,” Dowdy said. “You have to be crafty, you have to be able to do everything really well. It’s a lot about strategy.”
Three years into the beach volleyball circuit, Dowdy’s career continues to take her across the U.S. and the globe. At a competition in Brazil, she and her partner entered ranked 22nd and ended up beating the reigning world champions.
“That would be my proudest moment so far and that was actually our first year on the international tour,” Dowdy said.
All of these accomplishments did not come easily of course as Dowdy sticks to a challenging training regime to improve her game. She practices on the court five to six mornings a week in addition to training in the gym three afternoons a week, fitting in extra conditioning, Pilates classes, and visits to a sport psychologist.
For Dowdy, the AVP Tour’s stop in Austin is not only a chance to show off how all of her hard work pays off on the court, but also a chance to return to her Texas roots.
“Living out in California or going overseas and experiencing a different culture in another country is amazing and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but there is just a certain way of life in Texas,” said Dowdy. “Everyone is friendly, there's a lot of space and you feel welcomed. It feels like home. Besides my family, I miss the simplicity of that the most.”