Sitting volleyball an inclusive twist on a classic sport

Published On April 6, 2020 | By ngonputh | Features, Sports
Neil Gonputh

Volleyball is a popular sport where opponents stand on either side of a net, trying to hit the ball over it and ground it on the other side for a point.

Beach volleyball is a similar sport played outdoors with similar rules, but with only two players on each side.

Sitting volleyball is yet another variation of the popular sport with a unique twist. It was created in 1956 and is a combination of volleyball and a German sport called sitzball.

It was a form of rehabilitation for Second World War veterans and it debuted as a Paralympic sport for men in 1980. The women’s version debuted in 2004.

The all-inclusive game that’s being played at Humber College, regardless of whether they are disabled or able-bodied and regardless of their skill level.

Children at Sloane Public School in Toronto Playing Sitting Volleyball
Children at Sloane Public School in Toronto playing Sitting Volleyball.
(Canadian Paralympic Committee)

“It’s for everyone,” said Dylan Walters, Intramural Coordinator at Humber College North campus.

“Whether you are able-bodied or non-able-bodied, it doesn’t matter, it’s inclusive to everyone. You don’t have to identify as any body type, gender or sex to participate,” he said.

The sitting volleyball program has been at Humber for the last three years. It has been running in different formats, from drop-in sessions to partnerships with other classes and other governing organizations.

Some of their partners include Special Olympics Ontario, ParaSport Ontario, the Recreation and Leisure Program at Humber and other classes.

The partnerships also help increase the popularity of the programs, as they can help spread the information about the programs, Walters explained.

The popularity of these programs is growing. “From when we first did it to now, the numbers are growing, our partnerships are growing, the reach is greater than when we initially started,” Walters said.

Andrew Tucker, Humber College Alumni at the 2015 Pan-Am Games
Andrew Tucker, Humber College alumni at the 2015 ParaPan-Am Games. (Canadian Paralympic Committee)

Recreation and Leisure student Andrew Tucker won a bronze medal at the 2015 ParaPan Am Games while playing on Canada’s Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team.

Tucker plays sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, standing basketball and standing volleyball. He said when it comes to sitting and standing volleyball, there is not much difference between the skill sets required for the two sports.

“It’s the exact same skills the only difference is that you are not jumping,” Tucker said. “So it becomes more of a technical game, just trying to get the upper hand on your opponent as opposed to overpowering them with jumping abilities.”

As an athlete who plays a variety of sports, Tucker appreciates the low-impact benefit of adaptive sports.

“It’s a new way to look at the game, a new way to play the game and most adaptive sports are low impact on your body, so it’s good for all age groups,” he said.

Humber College’s adaptive sports include audible indoor soccer, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and goalball.

“I would encourage people to take part, especially those who have never tried it before. They are fun, something different than your traditional sports [and] traditional activities you may have tried,” he said.

“And they do get competitive. Once you get into it you will see you will get that adrenaline rush you get from playing traditional sports, and you’ll want to do it again,” Walters said.

For more information or to take part, drop by the Humber recreation office, send a message to @HumberNorthRec on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or an e-mail to campusrec@humber.ca.

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