Wow. One month of time goes by quicker than you think. In the last thirty days since my last update, I have been able to play more volleyball than ever before. With a newfound interest in beach volleyball, a registration for a 6-week indoor volleyball training camp, and our first mentorship sessions in over a month, everything is looking clear for the end of this project, and where I want to be in the future.
There is an absolute load of information to talk about, as my spring break was almost exclusively dedicated to volleyball. My passion and determination are still running high, as I continue to practice in a multitude of ways. Firstly, I have finally step foot onto the sand.
Without a proper indoor practice in a long while, and only having practiced in the muddy fields of Glen Park for the last few weeks, I was overjoyed to hear that the nets for beach volleyball at Town Centre Park had finally been put up, just in time for spring break. This was huge for me, as the nets at Town Centre were much higher in quality with a more defined space for play. So without a moment to hesitate, Devon and I began to change our practice location from Glen Park to Town Centre, taking in our first experience with beach volleyball. The next two weeks of spring break could be summed up like this: Whenever the sun was out, I was at Town Centre playing volleyball. This is barely an exaggeration as well because I really was out more days than not during the break, from practicing with my brother to running small games with the school volleyball team. I was able to get a great sense of playing in the sand, and I felt a significant improvement in my mobility after the weeks had gone by. Of the people I have been able to practice with, I would especially like to highlight Ryan Vanlerberg-Gargus (Grade 10, GSS) and Marvin Liu (Grade 11, GSS) for being my mini-mentors during the past month. There would be a few days where just Ryan and I practiced with each other working on our spikes and serves, and I would often catch Marvin playing with his friends, in which he would then take me to another court to check my progress and give me tips. Both Ryan and Marvin have been a real help to me, and I can not only see but also feel the progress Devon and I have made thus far. Although the footage during these two weeks was scarce, I did have some footage of the very first steps of my jump serve progress. (spoiler: it was not very good)
First few tries at my jump server: https://photos.app.goo.gl/XGyhwhb8m8siUyD48
But it wasn’t just my beach skills that I’ve been honing in the last month, because Devon and I are currently in a 6-week indoor skill training volleyball camp held at Pinetree Community Centre. As volleyball enveloped my entire life, I was spending hours constantly looking for opportunities to get better at volleyball through camps such as this one. As of writing this blog post, Devon and I have been to 2/6 of these practices, and they have been a great way for us to get back into the gym and play indoors. With this contrast between playing beach with friends and honing skills during the camp, I have finally found a rhythm to my volleyball schedule, and I am very excited to see where it can lead me next.
Finally, in addition to playing games on the beach and training indoors, Mr. Salisbury, Devon, and I have been able to have a mentoring session for the first time in over a month. With no conflicting schedules (disregarding a small hiccup with an absent mentor), Mr. Salisbury was able to see the progress that Devon and I made in the month that he didn’t practice with us, which he claims to be pretty surprising. It was really rewarding to hear this because it meant that all the volleyball I played in the last month had paid off, even if it was just slightly.
At this point in time, I have had a good grasp on passing, setting, and serving for quite a while now, and I want to get lots of experience with my spiking and blocking in the time I have left. I have also been in contact with lots of local teams and their camps (Ducks being the highlight) to see whether I can find more opportunities to practice volleyball with even more people.
How to have a beautiful mind
Chapter 9: Concepts
Although the core fundamentals of volleyball can be summed up in a handful of skills, each of these skills covers unique concepts for a successful learning experience. Of these concepts, some of the most highlighted ones include:
- Communication (before, during, and after each play): Staying motivated, focused, and moving as one body is extremely important in volleyball because it is such a face-paced sport that can drop a team’s enthusiasm very quickly.
- Leaving no part of the court empty.
- Adjusting to different types of sets when spiking.
- Float vs Topspin serving.
- Creating a passing platform (and getting your whole body to the ball if you can).
- Setting higher is better than setting accurately as a beginner.
- 3-step approach for spiking.
- Staying square with your setter as you jump up to spike.
Chapter 10: Alternatives
This entire In-Depth experience has been constantly changing as I have been adapting to new changes regarding the project each week. Because of all these overlapping circumstances that have made it difficult to have mentoring sessions (schedules, locations, etc), Mr. Salisbury has been providing alternatives for Devon and I to continue to practice volleyball. From having changed locations between the school gym to a beach setting, to having mini-mentors over spring break to make up for Mr. Salisbury’s expertise, this project has especially been one of many alternatives. Depending on how things might have turned out with a different mentor, the alternatives that were offered to Devon and I may have differed as well. Our mentor might have had a more concrete schedule, providing us with exact drills to practice at home and with each other. It might have also looked like finding times outside of school (in the mornings or evenings) to go out and practice.
This past month has taught me a lot about the world of volleyball, both casual and professional. I have made many new friends and connections, and it finally feels like I’m at the start line for a genuine passion that can take me far in terms of personal growth. I am excited for even more volleyball in my last month of In-Depth
P.S. In terms of my learning center, I am looking to record far more footage of volleyball to hopefully put together a small and short montage. In addition to this, I may also record a skills gallery, collecting and showcasing the volleyball skills that I have grown through this project. Finally, setting up a proper game with either a senior duo or possibly Mr. Salisbury and a partner would be a great way to end off the project.