Will “Monty” Montgomery has been competing in beach volleyball since he was a teenager in Santa Barbara, California. As a graduate of UC Irvine, Will earned two NCAA National Titles, and was Captain of the 2012 National Championship Team. From 2007-2010, Will traveled the world as a member of Team USA in the Youth and Junior World Championships. Will represents USA Volleyball on the North America Continental Circuit and International Tour. He also plays on the Association of Volleyball Professional Tour. Last year, he flew over 120,000 miles to 30 tournaments in 12 countries with ZERO injuries. He credits his consistent commitment to yoga as a key reason he remained healthy throughout the year. He also credits his home studio – Yoga Loft in Manhattan Beach, California – for giving him such a great place to practice. He shared with _PRACTICE how yoga affects his mind, body and game.
When you're competing, there's a lot of travel, constantly. There's the mental grind on a tour - bouncing around from country to country and state to state. You're only as good as you last finish. You could show up and have a bad day and you have to live with that for the next few weeks. But it isn't too grueling physically as long as I take care of my body. That's why I'm doing so much yoga right now. As long as I am on top of my pre-hab and my yoga - you know, fixing it before it's broken - as long as I am doing that, the physical side of it isn't that bad.
I have always enjoyed working hard. Sometimes to a fault. In high school, I didn't know the difference between fatigue and pain. Didn't know the difference between working out and actually being in pain. I thought it was just fatigue. I could always gut it out. But then I got more and more injured. I had people warning me about it and I thought they don't know how hard I work. I was a little bit naive.
I was constantly injured and constantly had to take time off from the game. Then, when I went to college at UC Irvine, I would train in Manhattan Beach in the summers, and I came to Yoga Loft. I was in a full weight-lifting program - five days a week - and yoga was just a great way to stretch out.
But I never really relished the value of yoga until after I graduated. That's when I started doing it a lot and that's when I got a little bit injured and learned how to bring it into my training program.
In 2013, I hit my stride. The volume of yoga I was getting in and getting done - that's when I realized this is very helpful and preventative.
Yoga doesn't make me jump higher or hit harder but it opens the door to me to play harder and work harder. Logging in my hours at Yoga Loft, allowed me to push myself harder and longer than most people on the beach. I now recover faster and smoother.Yoga is a good mindful practice. It teaches good body awareness. It's good to be aware of how your body moves. And in the big picture, you want to be in the moment. You want to live and play in the moment. Not dictated by the score. Or dictated by external circumstances. I want to have a consistent baseline for how I play.
It all comes down to being mindful and staying in the moment. Yoga just correlates well with that intention. Yoga supports the work - side by side…
I'm a very competitive guy. I'm an intense individual. When there is a specific intention, I attack it with all my mental energy. Yoga has been a nice way for me to find balance. It's been good for me personally as I'm not a naturally laid-back guy. The relaxed awareness has been a nice balance to my lifestyle - and my personality.
Yoga's the Grade-A supplement for what I do.