VolleySLIDE - Getting Started - Recruitment
The level of any international team will be determined by the ability of your disabled players. However at a club level anyone can play and a way of raising the level quickly can be to get utilising the previously acquired volleyball techniques from players of the standing version of the game.
To play internationally players need to fall into one of the two following classifications:
Disabled (D) – this covers any major impairment, either congenital or acquired, such as an amputation or significant lack of movement or power of their body or 1 or more limbs. Other disabilities that affect an individual’s body control can also count.
Minimally Disabled (MD) – this classification is aimed more at individuals with long term chronic injuries, who for whatever reason are unable to play the Olympic, standing, running, jumping version of volleyball. Up to 2 MD classified players can be in a National team squad, however only 1 of these is allowed onto the court at any one time.
The biggest challenge for most who are looking to start the sport is recruitment as unlike other individual sports, at least 4 people are needed to get any kind of game going. It takes great courage to walk up to a stranger (who appears to have a disability) and ask them if they want to play Sitting Volleyball, but most do not even know what Sitting Volleyball is, nor Paralympic Sport in general… let alone that they could be eligible and represent their country. However remember, just because someone has a disability, it doesn’t mean that want to do more sport, or even to play volleyball. For a VolleySLIDE blog on recruitment CLICK HERE.
In Great Britain the greatest success with recruitment came through 'word of mouth'. Promoting sitting volleyball widely resulted in numerous people coming forward who wanted to get involved. Clearly the prospect of a home Paralympic Games was a key motivator for them, however if the right environment is put into place, players will choose to play sitting volleyball. Two common opinions about the sitting volleyball were:
1. I like it as I am able to get out or my wheelchair, or remove my prosthetic legs and compete with nothing to help/support me.
2. I do not like it as the pure fact it is sliding around on the floor tells everyone that I have a disability.
Some other strategies or options for recruitment are:
Recruitment Specialists - This is where people in positions who come across people with a disability in their day to day job become sitting volleyball 'advocates' and promote the opportunities available.
The Club Network - Although the centres did as much as they could, they simply didn´t have the time to follow up on anyone who wasn´t totally forthcoming themselves.
Talent Transfer - where players of other sports who have already had team sport experience and physical conditioning.
Explore all possibilities as you never know around which corner a potential player is waiting. Talent identification can initially be done with just a floor and a ball, however after that you need to see them in a game like situation. For a VolleySLIDE blog on talent identification CLICK HERE.