19 Jul 2023

How Higher Education Volleyball Officer (HEVO) Joshua Joseph-Iyanda helped grow recreational volleyball at the University of Liverpool

How Higher Education Volleyball Officer (HEVO) Joshua Joseph-Iyanda helped grow recreational volleyball at the University of Liverpool

Joshua Joseph-Iyanda was part of the HEVO programme for two years. During his stint as a HEVO, Joshua made a significant impact in delivering recreational volleyball.

He did phenomenal work at the University of Liverpool, introducing over 111 students to volleyball and creating a pipeline for students to grow in the sport, ensuring that they are getting the best out of the programme earning him a nomination for the HEVO of the Year Award 2022.

Joshua’s work as Senior HEVO for the South West had been noticed by many as the nominations poured in for the second year straight. As a senior HEVO, Joshua supported the individual university HEVOs, Student Unions and their respective committees/ staff to promote local and regional volleyball projects.  

About Joshua

Joshua’s Volleyball journey kickstarted after watching Haikyuu, like many other newcomers. Soon after his first volleyball session, Joshua fell in love with volleyball.  

Volleyball became my life after the London Youth Games in 2017, my first tournament and my first time playing competitive 6v6 volleyball,” he said. 

Being appointed as a HEVO allowed Joshua to share his love of the game and encourage others to go further in the sport.

Being a HEVO elevated Joshua’s love for the game. Wanting to stay involved in university volleyball and its development, Joshua became a senior HEVO during his placement year.  


Joshua’s journey and Impact 

Joshua saw HEVO sessions as a place to not only introduce the game to the students, but also help them grow in the sport by creating a pipeline for those who stood out in the social sessions.  

He asked the existing players of the university team to support some of the higher-skilled players in the social session to identify who could handle the step up.

He then adapted his session sessions to cater for the varying ability. He liaised with the team captain/coach to see if he could send players from the HEVO session to one of their training sessions to upskill them.  

Making the most of being on the university’s first team, Joshua kept the social session players on standby whenever the coach or main team needed more numbers for training. The key to creating this pipeline was a relationship with the captains and coaches of the established teams at the university.  

Having players from the university team, work with those who attend the recreational volleyball sessions proved very beneficial. It gave an ego boost to the existing players and allowed the beginners to observe and learn the technicalities closely. 

Further, giving agency to the session goers that go above and beyond and rewarding their enthusiasm by making them one of the ‘leaders’ in the social sessions and showing trust allows them to grow the self-confidence needed to go further in volleyball.    


Impact of being a HEVO on Joshua 

Joshua’s network of friends and contacts expanded beyond what he had imagined, which aided him and his university team.  

“My confidence and leadership skills have improved since becoming a HEVO,” he said.

“Being a Senior HEVO has bolstered my managerial skills and a bit of patience since you can’t physically direct the HEVOs under you. You can only guide and influence them. It builds on communication and one’s ability to build a connection with others.”


Advice for upcoming HEVOs and senior HEVOs 

Joshua advises making most of the network/group chats with other HEVOs, coaches and players for help or support. HEVOs that are new to the sport will be learning many new things, meaning staying connected to the community around you is vital!  

Show that you care/are excited/want to be there,” he said. Have a smile on your face when running social sessions. For some, we’re a gateway to volleyball. For others, it’s a release from university stress. You want to make every session as fulfilling as you can.  

Want to get involved?

If you are interested in joining the HEVO programme for 2023-24, get more information by clicking here.