Volleyball originated in the U.S. and is one of the most popular sports played across the globe, you only have to look at the level of competition at school, college, uni and beyond levels across the English waters left and right!
You would be forgiven thinking that its a huge sport in England. It’s not. It falls far behind football, rugby, cricket, hockey, tennis, squash, probably even croquet. Have you ever seen it shown on the BBC? does it make the papers? I remember at school it was a fun option in the summer.
Look at the English weather, its perfect for volleyball as its indoors! and if the sun does happen to shine, its great playing outdoors too, and it doesn’t have to be on a beach – although I’ve never seen anyone complain about the view whilst watching beach volleyball!
There has been a huge effort in recent years at the grassroots to introduce it at schools and encourage youngsters to take it up but like all minority sports it struggles with income, has to cope with losing potentials to the more attractive sports, is totally dependent on volunteers and has not been, in my opinion, run like a business in order to support the sport. In England currently, we have a professional ice hockey and basketball league – paid. But not volleyball. At least not yet. That has meant that our GB Men have to go overseas to join clubs for the experience. You’ll fInd them in the leagues on the continent after they ‘borrowed’ a Dutch team last year. Here’s the link to that interesting article.
We should be better at it. Lets hope for 2012 we are. It’s all going to depend on what the next year brings, if we retain raw talent, if competition levels increase and if the funding is there.
Prepare to get your tickets for Earl’s Court in 2011!!