Kerri Walsh Jennings has been on a roller coaster ride over the past year, but, during the offseason while recovering from two surgeries, things became crystal clear. She will back on the sand competing in April, but now has much more on her plate with the introduction of a new tour and online portal she is launching, Platform1440.
P1440 was created by Walsh Jennings and her husband Casey with one goal in mind, to help themselves and the rest of the world “live every minute of the day with purpose, all 1440 of them.” The venture is all encompassing – mind, body and soul. Of course, expectedly it includes beach volleyball, but the platform is so much more. It is part event series and part online community made for the masses as well as for Walsh Jennings’ compatriots in the sporting ranks.
“I think the filter through which we are creating this entire movement is the 1440 minutes of the day,” Walsh Jennings said. “That is a very finite thing. You only have that amount of minutes every single day. So, when you choose to spend your time with us, we want to honor your time, respect your time and help you live great moments with the most minutes with us. The idea of incorporating competition along with personal development, health and wellness and entertainment is that we want people to have fun. We want people to be engaged. We want people to not just come and watch when their favorite team is playing and then leave. We want people to invest their time and obviously their money with us and we want to greatly reward them with that.”
In addition to the competition element (an eight-stop elite pro beach volleyball tournament), the platform stands on three other pillars – development, health and wellness and entertainment, attempting a holistic approach to fitness and everything it takes to live an “optimal life.”
“This is a daily thing, a lifestyle thing,” Walsh Jennings said. “It is not a fad or diet. It is a choice to implement certain things into your life every single day. I truly believe that there is power and magic in movement. And I know the power of mindfulness training and of being deliberate in your response to things and not being reactionary. And I know the benefits of rest and recovery and of strength training and all of these things.
“Everything that I do on a daily basis is to help me win gold medals and to perform optimally as a beach volleyball player, but every single human being on the face of the earth can do what I do and probably should do what I do because I am focusing on the whole body and the whole self. I really believe that you have to pay attention to the body, mind and spirit to get the best out of your life. That includes every single person.”
Outreach to grassroots and regional volleyball groups as well as urban and underserviced youth will be key in each city the tour visits. Plenty of personal development and health and wellness activities also will available on site at each tournament stop. Finally, a music festival featuring nightly concerts completes the full experience.
“For so many years my husband and I have talked about having an academy and how cool would it be to not only service the sport that we love so much, but to service them with all of these other things we do off of the sand and off the court that help us to live this optimal life,” Walsh Jennings said. “If you talk to all of the athletes in the world today at a high level, they are so well versed in nutrition, in mindfulness training, and mindset. It is body, mind and spirit. It is the holistic focus on the human that drives performance, so that, in a nutshell, is kind of why we wanted to bring in the other pillars to what we are doing in p1440 to help people live an optimal life.”
While the idea for p1440 was personal, many factors had to fall into place to bring it to fruition.
“Last year was really hard in a lot of ways, but it has led me down this road with p1440 and it has led me down a pretty fun rabbit hole with my body, mind and spirit, so it is all good,” Walsh Jennings shared with her eternally positive vibe. “When I am in competition mode, I just really focus on that and obviously on my family at all times. So, (the forced time off) has afforded me more time to focus, and to knock on doors and get really creative, and to get really dirty and deep with this project, that I probably wouldn’t have had if I had not had these injuries.
“It is so crazy how everything always works out. I am a big believer that there are positives and bright sides to everything, but in this there are very real and tangible things that came out of some perceived misfortunes at the beginning. P1440, coming together with the Mays family, things not working out with Leonard (Armato) and the NVL last year… There are so many positive things that initially hurt my heart that are now filling my heart with greatness.”
The Cast of Characters
While Walsh Jennings is the face of p1440, the five-time Olympian, three-time gold medalist and two-time NCAA champion (Stanford 1996, 1997), is not the only driving force behind this new venture. Her husband, Casey, a pro beach volleyball player, World Tour gold medalist (2010) and NCAA champion (BYU 1999) in his own right, also has a role to play. The 22-year pro is said to have “devoted much time and energy to volleyball, making him an inspiration to others wanting to follow a healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally, and for knowing what it takes to go after your dreams.”
The Mays family, Dave and Kasia, are managing partners in the venture with Walsh Jennings and her husband. Dave, who has a background in the commercial business world, started his own international package logistics and supply chain company in 2005, which he sold off in 2016. Kasia comes from the hospitality world, working with hotel and spa chains on the marketing and customer service side of things.
According to their biographic information on p1440’s marketing materials, Dave “isn’t afraid of big projects and ambitions, especially when an opportunity for building something great exists. He will see anything through, which makes him a great managing partner to lead p1440’s global vision.”
As for Kasia, she will supply p1440 “passion for ensuring consumer satisfaction and her eye for high quality and design” which “make her the perfect visionary to shape p1440’s community and make it a best-in-class experience.”
The Tour Lineup
The planning of p1440’s tour dates and locations were very intentional as to not disrupt the already existing FIVB World Tour and AVP Tour slates.
“Something that I am really proud of that we are doing in year one is that we are scheduling around the four and five-star FIVB events and all of the AVP events,” Walsh Jennings said. “That was really important to my husband and I because we want to give the athletes more opportunities to compete. We want to bring competition to the market and we want to give the athletes more choices.”
In its first year, p1440 is slated for eight events beginning in September. Chicago, San Jose, San Diego and Huntington Beach will be the first four locales, all slated for 2018. The remaining four, set for 2019, will be announced at a later date.
“It is a challenge when there are so many events going on to schedule around, so the locations we chose we largely considered because we needed great weather in later months – September to December, which are not typically beach volleyball months,” Walsh Jennings shared. “We had to find great homes for that. We want to be successful so we wanted to have places where this type of festival enterprise is successful, so we have chosen markets that support that.
“We certainly want to be in the Midwest and South and East. We want to be everywhere. Volleyball is global and American volleyball fans are so incredible. It hurts my heart that we can’t be everywhere at once, but we are going to grow into it. We are not just a volleyball tournament, we are so much more. We have a very big footprint and we are a very large enterprise, so we have to be very smart about the logistics, moving from one site to another. We have a lot of things to consider when we choose the dates and the times along with scheduling around the other entities. We have certainly talked about having global ambitions, but we definitely want to walk before we run. We also want to be respectful of the FIVB and honor their standing as the international leader in our game, but we believe that we are going to walk a parallel path with everyone and lift the economics of the sport and raise the standards and that is going to service everyone very well.”
The Festival Approach
As for what sets p1440 apart from other tours and tournaments, it is that all encompassing approach for not just the elite athletes who will be competing, but for fans of the game, of fitness or even just of good music.
“We fully know that if we wanted to just be another pro beach tour or tournament that we would probably fail; that is why we are incorporating the festival element,” Walsh Jennings said. “We want to be successful. We want this to be enduring. We want to give the athletes more opportunities to play. We want to highlight what is best about the sport, which is those other elements, those other pillars, the health and wellness and the professional development – that is a journey that every single professional athlete is on in our sport. And, certainly, we want to bring more eyeballs to the sport.
“So, if you show up because you like the music lineup, which will happen Friday, Saturday and Sunday or because you want to learn about the leading edge of health and wellness or you want to try foundation training with your favorite expert, we believe we have a very broad and deep reach. And all of those new eyes that we are getting on site and on our platform will have to, by default, take a glance over at our sport. And once you see our sport live or engage with it, it is really hard not to love it and become a fan. So, we really believe that the scope of offerings that we will give will bring new fans to the sport and will service them in a really fun way so they will stay loyal with us and with our sport.”
And those loyal fans will be rewarded with amazing volleyball to boot.
“Our events will be top of the top,” Walsh Jennings boasted. “The global elite is welcome to come and compete on our tour, but we also want to service the grass roots though. We are partnering with regional tours and regional events, so we can help support them and bring them into the fold with what we are doing. We want to complete the ladder. Right now, beach volleyball is severely fractured. We want to be a uniting force and kind of leverage all of the assets we have on our platform and give to these other tours and grassroots entities, so we can help them service their athletes better and their communities better.
“But we certainly want to go for the top. We want to be the best thing on the market. We are going to grow into it. Of course, we would love a million dollars in prize money and we would love to be able to have all of that from the get go, but we are going to grow into great things. We are going for the gold ring by leading with heart and knowing we need this to be athlete centric and we need to serve the community very well. In return, we believe we will get great commitment.”
Beyond the Beach
Aside from the eight-stop tournament tour, p1440 includes an online community, which will eventually be a subscription service.
“The kernel of what we are is beach volleyball because that is everyone on my team, we all love and we all see the opportunity within the sport,” Walsh Jennings explains. “But, it is truly the service of the whole human being and creating a community around living an optimal life that we are feeding and fueling.
“With regard to our technology platform, that is where we will scale that. That is where people can be with us 365 days out of the year, not just on site at our eight events in our first year. We want to become part of people’s lifestyles. I feel like when you make something a habit, and you do it on a daily basis, that is where the greatness comes. It is in the little things that you do that can afford you the chance to grow into big things and be super creative and be super powerful in different ways. So, we absolutely want to give that service to the world.”
Why the emphasis on the non-athletic side of things? Simple. There is a need.
“I talked to a lot of parents and a lot of kids, a lot of ex-collegiate athletes and ex-professional athletes and the common denominator with everyone is that everyone is feeling broken body, mind and spirit,” Walsh Jennings shared. “They feel this heavy load that everyone is being asked to carry, whether you are a high school athlete or professional athlete or just a professional in your life, and we are ill-equipped to handle it. So, we really want to give people the resources to better handle their load, by being able to tap into the strength that they have within to handle these things. If you feel good as you go through your days, your chances of success and climbing that ladder are greatly improved. We want to give that service; we don’t want people to be burned out anymore. We want people to be inspired and to feel good and to get addicted to that feeling.”
Another factor is the overwhelming deluge of information available to those seeking a healthy lifestyle.
“We just want to give people options and cut through the clutter,” Walsh Jennings clarified. “With the internet and social media, there is just so much information out there and there are so many experts. We want to cut through the clutter and literally handpick the best of the best who resonate with us, not just in the execution of what they are offering, but also their values and principles.
“We are partnering and doing outreach right now with experts and best in class across the board, in the nutritional space, in the wellness space and physical fitness. All of those categories are so broad and there are so many ways to attack different things, which I really appreciate, because I have been on a journey throughout my 20 years as a professional athlete. I have tried a lot of different things and it took me a while to figure out what worked for me.”
The p1440 digital experience is being developed for the mind, body and spirit. 🙌 Users will be able to train like athletes, stream matches and workouts, engage with nutritionists for recipes, discover new meditation practices, find athlete’s curated playlists, and most importantly, engage with one another within a supportive community. — Want to the be the first to join our online community? Click the link in our bio to sign up. #p1440
One thing is for certain, Walsh Jennings and crew are as determined to make p1440 succeed and impact lives as its founder is to go for gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
For more inside the mind of Walsh Jennings, including her thoughts on the current state of professional beach volleyball, her plans to grow the game with p1440 and beyond and more, check back on VolleyMob.com next week for the third story in this continuing series.