Ostrava, Czech Republic, May 31, 2019 – William Allen is not only a well-seasoned beach volleyball player, but also an up-and-coming book writer. Although his second book is being released next month, he is entirely focused on preparing for his appearance at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship from June 28 in Hamburg and flying back and forth across oceans and continents to play tournaments with his partner Stafford Slick.
“I am really excited for the World Championship,” 37-year-old Billy Allen told fivb.com right after he and Slick advanced to the single elimination stage of the four-star J&T Banka Ostrava Beach Open 2019 on the FIVB World Tour. “I was surprised that we made the cut. I’ve never played at the World Championships; my partner has never played... We are grateful to be able to represent USA and have a chance to do well and get a lot of points.”
Allen and Slick teamed up for the 2019 season and medalled at their very first tournament together, snatching bronze at the Sydney three-star. Then they played at the Xiamen four-star, the Itapema four-star and the Huntington Beach stop on USA’s domestic AVP Pro Beach Tour.
After Ostrava, they will fly back to the United States for the New York AVP stop, before returning to Europe for the Warsaw four-star on the World Tour. They will have to cross the Atlantic at least twice more before the World Championship in Hamburg as they have one more AVP appearance in Seattle.
Allen & Slick with the bronze medals at Sydney
“We are flying across the world not only to play tournaments, but also to watch other great players in action, which will help us get ready for the World Championship,” Allen said. “The AVP is also fun, because we play at our home soil and have a lot of fans who know us. My wife (NB: Janelle Allen, who won silver at the 2008 Gdansk Satellite, one of only two FIVB events she ever appeared at) also plays in the AVP, so I get to watch her. The World Tour is deeper and there are a lot of really good teams.”
At the Ostrava event, Allen & Slick started off from the qualifications cruising through both their matches in straight sets. In their first main draw game they lost a tough three-setter to home favourites Ondrej Perusic & David Schweiner, but then outpaced Switzerland’s Adrian Heidrich & Mirco Gerson in a tie-breaker to advance to the first knockout round.
Allen spikes against Czechia’s David Schweiner on Ostrava centre court
“We’ve been playing well all tournament. We had to go through the qualifier and we had some good battles there,” Allen commented. “We went three yesterday and we lost, and today we went three and we pulled it out. So it was nice to turn that corner.”
Billy Ketch Allen’s first book, a fantasy novel called Good Blood, came out in November last year. “It’s medieval adventure, so there is no volleyball in it, but it’s just a good fun novel,” he explained. “I also have a coaching book coming out next month, in June. It’s called Coach Your Brains Out and that’s based on a podcast we’ve been doing for about four years.”
So how does a professional beach volleyball player become a book author?
“We have some downtime when we are not training or lifting, so instead of sleeping too much, I try to take advantage of that,” the athlete-storyteller answered. “I’m writing on planes and in hotel rooms, just for fun in my free time. It’s slow, but if you put in a little bit everyday...”
Asked to define himself in one word in each of these two occupations, he went for “consistent” as a player and “fun” as a writer.
As if travelling the world, playing beach volleyball and writing books is not enough, that’s not all Billy Allen is passionate for. “I coach a little bit and I have a three-year-old, who keeps me busy too,” he added.
Looking forward to the World Championship, Billy Allen is optimistic in his expectations. “I think that will be our best tournament yet,” he stated. “We are getting better every tournament. I think we’ll capitalize on that and it will be our best showing.”
Allen sets the ball