Posts Tagged ‘volleyball’

Volleyball for All

Story by Bill Loving. Photos by Sheila Dixon.

Volleyball for AllKrista is a substitute teacher who recently relocated from New York. Will participates in the youth department at Richmond’s First Baptist Church. Sulay is an international student at Virginia Commonwealth University. Hardy is a facilitator with the Divorce Recovery workshop. I’m an architect and sing in the choir at FBC. What do we all have in common? We play volleyball together on Tuesday nights in the FBC gym.

Twenty years ago, Tuesday night volleyball games began as an outgrowth of the Metro Singles Bible Study. Singles from around Richmond gathered at FBC for music, fellowship, and Bible study, and some of the singles began to stay afterwards and play volleyball. The Metro Singles Bible Study ended many years ago, but the volleyball games have continued.

Volleyball for AllOver the years, we’ve had singles, couples, youth and entire families come out on Tuesday nights to play volleyball. Many of the participants in the Divorce Recovery Workshops have joined us for volleyball and recently, a number of international students from Virginia Commonwealth University have joined as well.

We welcome players of all skill levels. Several people have played for many years; some have not played since gym class in middle school; and some have never played. The game is adjusted to the person’s level of play. For example, if a new player is having difficulty serving the ball, we may let them try several times or serve from closer to the net until they improve. Most of all, we provide lots of encouragement.

Games are played according to the USA Volleyball Rules, which allow players to use any part of the body to hit the ball: head, feet, and of course, hands. Each team is allowed three hits to get the ball over the net. Scoring is not dependent on who has served; whichever team wins the rally earns a point. Because rally scoring makes the game move faster, games are to 25 rather than 15 points.

Volleyball for AllPlaying volleyball hones skills that are useful both on and off the court:

Teamwork: Rather than just hitting the ball back across the net like table tennis, the team is encouraged to pass the ball and create a play. We teach a simple center-setter formation. In this formation, we pass the ball to the center front player and that player “sets” the ball to one of the other two players on the front line who can make a good, clean hit. By passing the ball to others rather than just hitting it over, players learn to play together as a team.

Communication: To play well as a team, the players have to communicate with each other. By calling the ball, a player lets other teammates know that they intend to hit it. This is particularly helpful when a ball places between two players. In a center-setter formation, the middle front person is supposed to hit the second ball. By calling “help” when the ball is not reachable, others know to go for the ball.

Trust: We teach that each player has a position for which they are responsible. Unless another player asks for help, it is better to let them miss the ball and encourage their effort than to encroach on their position. Trusting your fellow teammates allows others to grow in their skills. Also minding your assigned position leaves no holes in the defense that the opposing team could take advantage of for easy shots.

While we try to teach a bit of volleyball on Tuesdays, our gatherings are really as much about community as they are about playing volleyball. We learn to play as a team; we encourage and cheer each other; and we have fun. At the end of the night, we gather in a circle, share prayer concerns and have a closing prayer. Please come out and join us any Tuesday night from 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Bill LovingBill Loving is an architect, a graduate of Virginia Tech and a Rotarian. He has 21 years of perfect attendance with the West Richmond Rotary Club. Originally from Chesterfield, Bill now lives in the museum district. Bill has had 20+ years of volleyball at FBC and loves to sing. He is a member of the Church Choir and the Men’s Ensemble.

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