Jagger: How did you start playing Volleyball?
Hagen: I was born into it. I had the luxury of having a dad [Sinjin Smith] who was quite good during his time, so naturally I was always around the game from a young age.
Jagger: What was your average day like playing D1 volleyball at UCLA?
Hagen: Our day would start around 6am with treatment from our trainer for about 30 minutes; then into a warmup for 30 minutes; 7am weight lifting, conditioning and agility lasted 2 hours and we were out of there by 9am; our block for scheduling classes was typically 10am - 2pm so we would eat after lifting and head to class; after class, we would eat again and practice at 3pm – 6pm; position work, extra reps and film were sometimes done before practice or after, requiring an extra 30 minutes; after practice, there would be time for an ice bath and shower before returning home around 7:30pm to cook dinner, study, and sleep before we did it all over again the next day.
Jagger: What are the professional options for beach and indoor volleyball after college?
Hagen: The options are quite different at the moment. The typical indoor route will land you outside of the US, and for the better contracts, out in Europe or Asia. Playing professional indoor allows your more options to play, and guaranteed money. That being said, generally Americans must first prove themselves in the international circuit before getting better contracts. At this time, professional indoor for men in the US is dismal at best, but on the women’s side is making big waves. If you take the beach route, like myself, you have a better option to stay stateside, but the guaranteed earnings are not there. The top guys in the US play on the FIVB (international league) and the AVP (domestic league). To earn a living, you have to do well at tournaments to win prize money, and have sponsors who support you. Most Beach volleyball professionals have second jobs to supplement their volleyball careers. I run a boys indoor volleyball club in the Pacific Palisades (Pac6 Volleyball Club) as my main source of income and am currently seeking additional strategic sponsorships for the AVP circuit.
Jagger: What schools did you enjoy visiting when playing at UCLA?
Hagen: Hawaii and Chicago. I loved Hawaii because of the obvious… it’s Hawaii… beaches, weather, and surf. But also Hawaii students shows up for their volleyball matches. The Stan Sheriff Center was always packed when we played there, and the crowd brought the energy like no other. My second favorite was Loyola-Chicago, not only because I got to play against Jagger – a high school teammate of mine – but also because I loved experiencing the seasons, river, lake, and snow as a true California boy.
Jagger: What’s next for the AVP and beach volleyball?
Hagen: The world of beach volleyball has so much potential to be a lucrative business, which is not fully being harnessed right now. The entertainment value, marketability, and money left on the table is mind boggling. Not so long ago beach volleyball athletes were making a very good living and companies around beach volleyball were raking in the large sums of money. One of my goals is to bring beach volleyball back to a level where it is a world class sport, and a profitable endeavor.