/* Template Name: Interviews post Template Post Type: post, interviews */ Tri Bourne and the mental game - Beach Volleyball Space


Tri Bourne and the mental game

There have been easier times for Tri Bourne. Growing up in Hawaii in a family passionate about all sorts of sports, being physically active used to be programmed into his brain. Now is the first time in his life he has to take a step back from sports. Tri, a highly decorated FIVB and AVP player, is recovering from a serious chronic inflammatory muscle disease. After a surgery in the 2016 off-season, the auto-immune disease called dermatomyositis was diagnosed, Tri was put on a steroid, lost weight and had to cancel the 2017 season with his partner John Hyden.

Stepping up mental game

Due to the illness,  Tri is currently not able to do hard workouts. Therefore he is focusing on mental aspects of the game. Putting emphasis on meditation and self awareness supports him in connecting body and mind.

“I am actually enjoying studying myself and making myself stronger in mental aspects. When your mind is stronger, then your body and immune system can be stronger as well.”

Growing up in a sports oriented environment, Tri finds it hard to not be physically active. He always used to be an athlete. No wonder it is a challenge to stop himself physically and still be happy about what he is doing. At the same time he is grateful for being forced to slow down and seeing things from a different angle.

A natural at the beach and indoors

Tri started playing at the beach and later on moved his game indoor for college. Having done both from a rather early age, he is moving back and forth between indoor and beach smoothly. When asked for advice for indoor players transitioning to the beach, his answer is not about workouts and exercises. Not surprisingly, Tri puts an emphasis on the mental aspect of the transition challenge:

“If you have never played beach and you don’t have a base in beach volleyball, you have to do something difficult: go into it with a beginner’s mind. Trust that all your skills will eventually transfer. But you can’t go in thinking that you are going to play your indoor style on the beach and then it is going to be a beach game. Take your mind out of indoor. Only if your mindset is right, then your indoor skills will help”.

FIVB World Tour Finals

Tri Bourne and his former partner John Hyden


John Hyden as the prototype for a successful transition

A great example for how to master the transition challenge is his former partner John Hyden. Hyden used to be an Olympic indoor player but wasnt too successful in the first three to four years on the beach.

“But he is very smart. Once it switched and he learned the beach game, he was amazing at understanding what it takes indoors and then what it takes to be good on the beach at a complete different level. He probably knows better than anyone else in the world what it takes physically, mentally and strategically”.

At the moment a reunion with former partner John Hyden seems far away. For the rest of the year, Tri is off to his home town in Hawaii. He is confident to be back for the late 2018 season, following through to his long-term goal Tokyo 2020.

Find out more about Tri Bourne on his website and Facebook page.

Player Information

  • Nationality: USA
  • Date of birth: June 20, 1989
  • Height: 1.98 / 6’6”

Major wins

  • Qinzhou, 2018, FIVB 3-star, Gold
  • Toronto, 2016, World Tour Finals, Bronze
  • Berlin, 2014, Grand Slam, Gold


  1. Tom Priesmeyer

    Interesting article about Tri Bourne, and John Hyden. Hopefully Tri can regain his health, and form and return in 2018. I know from living in Southern California for 12 years that beach volleyball is a very popular sport. It is has been in the Olympics, and has a thriving pro circuit.

    • Juan

      Yes, definitely. Let’s hope for a quick recovery process so that he can go for his long-term goal to participate in the Olympics 2020.

  2. Jeff Messick

    Tremendous post, chock full of good info. Great pics too. I’m pulling for Tri. That has to suck, contracting that. I hope he can recover his muscles, his mind will be fine, he’s taking good care of that.

    • Juan

      Indeed, he recently had some encouraging news regarding his recovery process. So let’s hope for the best…

  3. Benjamin Folliot

    I’ve been practicing volleyball for 10 years and stopped because of knee pain. I cant imagine having an autoimmune disease. It must be even harder. Hope he’ll get better anyway! Thanks for sharing.


    • Juan

      Yeah I also know quite a few volleyball players with knee issues. It’s a very common thing. Hope you could recover!

  4. Tibor

    Hi this is great interesting article. I am big fan of volleyball, I used to play it and a couple of times I have tried beach but I can say that beach is harder. I hope that Tri Bourne will be back soon. Great news about his recovery process.

    • Juan

      Yes, for beach volleyball you really need to be very well-rounded in terms of skills. There are quite a few things to consider when going from indoor to beach.


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