An introduction from our new Sitting Volleyball Lead

9th October 2020

An introduction from our new Sitting Volleyball Lead

Richard Osborne (above, right) outlines his immediate plans after being appointed to the voluntary post of Sitting Volleyball Lead.

I am incredibly excited to be writing to you in my new role as the Volleyball England Lead for Sitting Volleyball. I have to confess that having been involved with Sitting Volleyball for 10 years now, it has become a passion, if not obsession, which has introduced me to some simply amazing people and taken me to destinations around the world that I wouldn’t never have dreamt I would visit. I am currently the Head Coach for South Hants Sitting Volleyball Club; the UK’s Invictus Games Sitting Volleyball Team; and the Development Coach for the GB Sitting Volleyball Team, while a few years ago I was the Head Coach of Georgia’s Invictus Games Sitting Volleyball Team.

When I was first introduced to the sport at South Hants SVC, I was initially a player only, but circumstances presented an opportunity for me to start coaching. I had played indoor volleyball at school in the '80s, but really knew nothing about the art of coaching, especially an adapted version of the game. There was very little resource for me to draw on, so I had to work a lot of things out on my own and consequently made about every mistake a rookie coach could make. It was also a struggle getting new players involved, despite several different approaches, and a constant worry that I would inadvertently offend a disabled player by using clumsy or outdated language. Finding income to keep the small club afloat was also an ever-present challenge. In other words, I learned the hard way and I am still learning to some extent, but I hope that my experience puts me in a good place to help and support your ambitions to develop sitting volleyball at your club.

If you haven’t played it then you really don’t know what you are missing – it is fun, but challenging; social, but competitive, a great workout and totally inclusive. For indoor players, it’s a fantastic way to strengthen core skills, such as judging ball flight and movement (because the game is much faster on the floor), as well as communication and technique. There is still not a huge number of clubs playing regularly and that is something that I am very keen to address during my tenure as the SV Lead. I would love to see the sport grow, so that in the next four years or so we have a vibrant, thriving, sustainable community of sitting volleyball clubs. I recognise the need to have access to resources and information so one of my top priorities is to develop a platform that clubs and coaches can access for all their sitting volleyball needs.

For those who are keen to start immediate work on developing a sitting volleyball element to their club, I would encourage you to apply for funding from the Volleyball England Foundation ahead of their 11th December deadline. A maximum of £1,000 per club is on offer to support the purchase of equipment and training. Email foundation@volleyballengland.org for more information.

I have a plan of action to help the sport grow, but I need your help. When it is published, I would like to use the Club Survey to assess the level of sitting volleyball that is taking place currently and whether there is an appetite within clubs to deliver sessions or develop a sitting section, so that with my Working Group I can implement a suite of initiatives to help you fulfil your sitting volleyball aspirations.

In the meanwhile, I’m searching for passionate members of the sitting volleyball community to join me in the recently relaunched Sitting Volleyball Working Group. If you’re interested or have any questions related to sitting volleyball, then please contact me at: sittingvolleyball.information@gmail.com.

An introduction from our new Sitting Volleyball Lead