By Tim Erskine
Dig, set, spike! Volleyball is a fast-paced and exciting sport to watch and play. The indoor version involves passing a ball between teams of six across a net. Players usually receive the ball with a dig, which will hopefully be a nice composed pass enabling a set, which puts the ball above the net for a spike down to the opposing team’s side.
Cardiff University Volleyball Club is a hugely diverse and welcoming club so if you’ve ever wanted to get your hands on some balls and have sets this could be your chance. The club offers two beginner sessions a week, a high competitive level for experienced players, and a joyful social extravaganza.
Beginner sessions take place on Tuesdays at 6.30pm and Sunday at 4pm inside Talybont Sports Hall, and involves some fitness, a variety of drills, and games. The first challenge is learning how to control where the ball goes when you pass or serve it, which you can be taught with patient and caring instruction. As players progress they soon begin learning the more challenging tasks of spiking and tricky plays to score points.
At volleyball you can dive like a falcon in a desperate attempt to save a point, spike like a bear to the unsuspecting opposition, or mingle like a sloth finding friends. The sport is good for fitness by always involving sprinting, squatting and jumping. Its team interaction makes it fun, and the technical complexities of its ball handling make it a lifelong skill development.
The club has one men’s team and one women’s team, both of whom have had a successful year so far. The teams play against local clubs in Wales and other universities in the BUCS leagues. Through a combination of regular training, individual desires to improve, and wise guidance from team member and Coach, Mo, the men’s team have had nine wins and two losses in the league this year.
Additionally, they came first in Student Cup qualifiers and went to play among the top 16 student teams in the country. This was a much more challenging endeavour. They came away from the weekend tournament placed 15th with ambitions to improve next year. Meanwhile, with thoughtful and hard-working players under Coach Steve’s leadership, the women’s team have had 11 wins and just three losses with varying complementary talents throughout the team.
Being part of a sports club is just like being a part of a community. Starting volleyball at university can begin a lifelong hobby. Play, coach, referee, set up socials, lead decision making – volleyball needs it all and the club provides opportunities for this personal development, which is essential to the running of the club.
On the social side, volleyball is a fantastic way to make great friends. Socials range from laser tag and Christmas tournaments to pub quiz fundraisers and drunken obstacle courses dressed in all manner of fancy dress. Weekends away include beach volleyball in the summer and a trip to Warwick with clubs from across Britain.
Many people would like to try a new sport at university and get to know people through it. For some, that’s volleyball, and they come to love it. Many of the club members now live with people they’ve met through the sport. There are often new faces at beginner sessions and socials. So whether your socialising starts with ‘what do you study’ or ‘I like the way you dig’ the volleyball club is here for you.
For more information on joining the club, find us on Facebook or on the Cardiff Students’ Union website.