COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 12, 2016) – What would you expect to find in the gym bag of a professional volleyball player?

Socks and knee pads quickly come to mind, but would you expect to find pens for autographs? How about dried fruit, such as mango or bananas?

With multiple international tournaments each year, the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Sitting Teams are professional packers, bringing essentials for long tournaments while keeping creature comforts close at hand.

During the World ParaVolley Intercontinental Cup, Men’s Team outside hitter Ben Aman (Tacoma, Washington) shared what he keeps in his gym bag during major tournaments:

  • Playing shoes: “I only wear them on the courts so they stay clean.”
  • Knee pads: “We always pack two pairs – black and white – so you don’t have to wear damp knee pads.”
  • USA Volleyball practice shirt
  • Socks: “I wear out a pair of game socks in about three weeks. I usually bring two or three pairs for tournaments.”
  • Warm up jacket
  • Extra pair of sliders (the spandex-like shorts sitting players wear under their uniform shorts): “Even if you don’t use them, it’s always good to have them just in case anything happens.”
  • Knee high socks, “just in case”
  • Sony headphones: “I’m a big music guy, so these are essential. If Sony wants to sponsor me, I’d be okay with that.”
  • American flag headband
  • Credentials go in the side pocket, “for easy access”
  • Jerseys: “I never keep them in the same compartment as shoes, because dust and dirt can get on the jerseys and stain them.”
  • Food:
    • Mango
    • “A ton” of granola bars
    • Fruit snacks
    • Tuna packets: “I squeeze all the tuna to one end and then eat it like a candy or protein bar.”
    • Ritz crackers for filler in between matches
    • Nuts
  • Pens for autographs
  • Battery pack: “To recharge my phone during long days at the venue”
  • Passport: “Never go anywhere without it when traveling.”
  • Cash
  • Extra headphones
  • Change