The McKibbins: What better place to compete than top of a mountain!

 

The team of United States 2 smile after winning a snow volleyball match

Plan de Corones / Kronplatz, Italy, April 6, 2019 – The McKibbin brothers, Riley and Maddison, and Troy Field are one of the teams to look out for at the Plan de Corones / Kronplatz stop on the 2019 FIVB Snow Volleyball World Tour, organized with the CEV. They make up the USA 2 team, which has advanced through the qualifications and the main draw pools to the quarterfinals. The McKibbins spoke to fivb.com about their first impressions of snow volleyball.

The McKibbin brothers in action

How excited are you to be part of the Snow Volleyball World Tour?
Riley McKibbin: It’s an experience! It’s much better than we could’ve ever expected. We were a little nervous coming into it, because playing on the beach is already more difficult than playing indoor, and we weren’t sure how the cleats would react on the snow, but it’s really, really fun.
Maddison McKibbin: It’s very unique to be part of a new sport of volleyball, a new chapter of volleyball... To see how many people work around this sport and want this sport to succeed makes me feel it will succeed. There are so many people here from all over the world to compete at the top of the mountain and what better place to compete for the first place than the top of a mountain!

Why did you decide to give snow volleyball a try?
Riley McKibbin: Matteo Carlon from Snow Volley Italia texted us on Instagram and invited us to play at the Prato Nevoso tournament, and we saw that there is a World Tour event also in Italy the following week, so we decided to fly here and play in both tournaments, try this new sport and see what happens. And I can’t stress enough how fun it’s been.
Maddison McKibbin: We enjoy all the experiences of volleyball and all the people in volleyball, so to come to play in Prato Nevoso and then travel to Kronplatz across northern Italy is a special experience for us, because we make YouTube videos and this is something that everyone in volleyball needs to see.


You are used to playing on hot and sunny beaches. How did you even prepare for this snow volleyball experience?
Riley McKibbin: Honestly, our first experience was in Prato Nevoso. It’s impossible for us to practice, because there is no snow near Los Angeles. We just put on our soccer cleats for the first time and tried it out last weekend, slipping around all over the place, and now I think we’ve kind of figured out our strategy and how to play.
Maddison McKibbin: I thought it was going to be a lot more unstable footing and I was quite scared coming into it, but this is a misconception. Although it is slippery at times, you are a lot more stable and not prone to injury. You can move around and jump straight up, so that’s great!

Do you see snow volleyball catching on in the United States and do you think your participation here may actually help that happen?
Riley McKibbin: It’s one of the reasons why we are here – to show this new sport to the world of volleyball and beach volleyball. There are so many areas in the US, where you can play beach volleyball only in the summer, but not in the winter. But now snow volleyball gives the opportunity to play the sport that we love year-round.
Maddison McKibbin: It seems to me that everyone here genuinely wants to grow the sport – the players, the referees, even the people helping out... I think it could happen in the United States as well. It shows how many people want to play volleyball, no matter where they are.


Your beach volleyball video tutorials are so popular. Do you see yourselves creating similar videos about snow volleyball in the future?
Riley McKibbin: I think we can. This was a great experience for us to learn how to play. We’ve only played in two tournaments so far, so we are not masters and are still learning ourselves...
Maddison McKibbin: What we want to shoot here is what snow volleyball actually is - what you need, what are the roles and the strategies, what people like the most about it - so short videos telling people about it, rather that telling people how to play. We want to excite people to want to play.

Why is three-a-side snow volleyball a good idea?
Riley McKibbin: Three-a-side is absolutely necessary. In two-on-two it’s too easy to score a point. Three-on-three makes for way better rallies and more excitement, plus you have the touch of the block... It’s an exciting sport on its own, completely different from both indoor and beach volleyball.
Maddison McKibbin: It’s great because it allows not only beach volleyball players, but also indoor volleyball players to play. It’s a combination of both types of players.