Beach volleyball: Medal for Jonas and Benedikt Sagstetter – Sport

Benedikt Sagstetter was in a hurry on Tuesday afternoon, he had to take his brother Jonas to the train station in Bochum. From there we went to the airport, the destination of the trip: Lisbon – to Jonas’ girlfriend. Benedikt will soon be on vacation, on Thursday he will fly to the Canary Islands with his partner. Switching off first, that’s the plan for both of them after a year of big changes.

Because Jonas, 24, and Benedikt, 22, grew up in Landshut in a volleyball family, socialized at ASV Dachau and advanced to the first division in Unterhaching and Herrsching, decided to leave the hall and try their luck in the sand. That is – in terms of play, organization, finances – a kind of 180-degree turn. “Before that, we played a bit of beach volleyball without much of a plan. We both wanted to take this step and invest fully in the sand,” says Benedikt Sagstetter.

Last weekend they finished fifth at the DM in Timmendorfer Strand, certainly not their dream result, after second and fourth place in the two previous years. But they were unlucky and narrowly lost to the eventual winners Ehlers/Wickler and the finalists Poniewaz/Poniewaz. A week before, they grinned in the camera with bronze medals, which they had won at a world series tournament in the third highest category in Austria. It was their first joint medal at an international men’s tournament. They had previously finished fifth twice and fourth once in Belgium, Finland and France.

And always right in the middle: her father Reiner. Despite professional commitments, he almost always travels with them, scouts the opponents, is the executive coach on site and anyway “the third member of the team”, as Benedikt Sagstetter puts it. In their three-person chat group, they always exchange information about travel bookings and all organizational matters. “Our parents are still the main sponsors, they finance the flights, the hotels, without them it doesn’t work.” Her mother Ursula used to be a volleyball player too, sister Lina just stopped doing it. After all, Benedikt Sagstetter is now also being supported by the Bundeswehr – a small luxury that he hopes will soon be granted to his brother as well. “It would also be extremely important for our parents’ wallets.”

Beach volleyball, hardly anyone knows this better than 80-year-old Hans Voigt, is a highly complex science

Benedikt Sagstetter has been living near Witten in North Rhine-Westphalia since autumn 2022, where there is a private beach volleyball center – initially alone, but now together with Jonas, who after the end of the last indoor season with the WWK Volleys Herrsching – and a wrist fracture that plagued him for six weeks afterwards – followed there. You have turned down invitations from the national indoor team for this step. Since then, the brothers have continued to develop under the now almost 80-year-old Hans Voigt, who with his scientific, holistic approach is considered a beach volleyball pioneer in this country and was also on the coaching team of the Olympic gold winners Brink/Reckermann and Ludwig/Walkenhorst. In an environment “that you normally only have at an Olympic base,” says Benedikt Sagstetter.

They work on their fast game in Witten under Voigt and his competent team of coaches; at jump passes; on the lifting step, which is much deeper and technically very different in the sand than in the hall; on jump serve and surprise attacks. Beach volleyball, hardly anyone knows this better than Voigt, is a highly complex science. With their new instruments, the Sagstetters also want to get as far as possible internationally.

Their story is also so extraordinary because they are pretty much the only duo on the German tour that plays hybrid: Unlike usual, there are no block and defense specialists with them, both simply do both. When Jonas serves, Benedikt blocks, when Benedikt serves, Jonas blocks. This has the great advantage that the running distances are shorter and the server can fully concentrate on this element. It works because both are equally good in both elements – and similar height, Benedikt measures 1.97 meters, Jonas 1.91 meters.

They are now wished for some free time in Lisbon and the Canary Islands, but the next international tournaments are already waiting in autumn. Goa in India, China, Thailand, the Philippines. Which of these is feasible, also financially? Or is there even a big Asia tour? The Sagstetter chat group will not rest on vacation.


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