By Chen Yunxi, Wynsey (20A01A), Girls’ Team Captain, Benjamin Tan (20S03G), Boys’ Team Vice Captain, and Ng Chee Lun (20S03G)
We confess—we thought long and hard about this intro. We even considered using the following quotes from that one volleyball anime:
And just for the lolz, this:
However, all the quotes we were considering seemed to fall short of the introduction we were looking for. To us, the spirit of Raffles Volleyball encapsulates so much more. The mental fortitude of each player, the trust between teammates, and the thrill of the sport simply cannot be described in a series of anime quotes. Thus, we will leave the fixing up of a cool intro behind, to dive into what we believe is more important—what RIVB means to each and every one of us. After all, we are merely a bunch of Raffles Volleyball players who’ve fallen in love with the sport and the CCA, and hope that there will come a day where you will too.
Every member’s journey begins with a commitment—to the team, to the coaches, and most importantly, to themselves. Prior experience may not be a prerequisite for all players, but a display of unwavering commitment to growth and self-improvement is. Though the skills in volleyball are always the digs, sets, and spikes, mastery of those skills is definitely no easy task. A slight adjustment of stance or a delay in movement could send the ball flying in directions you never intended it to. So, the refining of technique would require utmost patience and dedication. Firstly, being part of the team means giving your all to train. Regular trainings take place every Tuesday (5pm–8pm) and Friday (4.30pm–7.30pm). During these three-hour training sessions, our coaches guide us through PT, drills and gameplay. Sometimes, especially when competitions approach, we train on Saturdays as well. Outside of regular training, we make sure to go the extra mile to practise as and when we can.
The growth may come gradually, but we promise you—the effort will be worthwhile. There is nothing more satisfying than the loud “bang” sound from a nice spike, or the perfect float serve as the ball just grazes across the net. With these goals in mind, your dedication and motivation to constantly improve and become a better version of yourself will see you through the odds, so be prepared to give your all.
There is a common belief that your mood and attitude during training is deterministic of how well you perform. Training is tough not only because of the intensity of drills, but also because of the setbacks and disappointment you may face as a result of making mistakes. Be it the ball that falls in your area of the court because you did not run fast enough to receive it, or the imperfect form of your jump spike that you never seem to be able to correct, there will be moments when you get frustrated with yourself and feel like giving up.
True training begins when you overcome this.
There are times when you feel like giving up because in attempting what is seemingly easily done by others, you mess up the form and the ball flies all over the place. Even then, the team is there to push you through.
How? Volleyball is a game of three touches. When the ball is in your court, you have three touches to get it back to the other side. Not all first touches are great, and if your first touch accidentally sends the ball out of the court, the coaches remind us that even then, we shouldn’t give up. They scream “还有，还有!” (There’s still more!) as a reminder that despite mistakes having been made, it is not the end of the rally, and there are still 2 more touches to bring the ball across the net. At this juncture, a teammate dashes out of the court and does whatever it takes to steer the ball back to its intended path. Even when you make the mistake of a poorly-executed first touch, the team and the coaches never give up on you. When everyone is forgiving and supportive of you every step of the way, there is really no room for you to give up on yourself.
Our coach likens this shared resilience and never-say-die attitude to the spirit of an undefeatable cockroach—“打不死的小强”. He tells us, “You guys are like a cockroach that never dies. Your opponents can try their best to get you down but every time they attack and try to kill you, you never die.” That is the spirit of resilience in Raffles Volleyball.
The best thing about being in Raffles Volleyball is that the court becomes your home, the ball becomes your best friend, and the team becomes your family.
Every training concludes with a team huddle once the lights turn off at 8pm; every post-training dinner at the J8 Sky Garden is filled with Wokhey, McDonalds and bad jokes; and there is really nothing better than seeing your teammates after a long day of school. Though the girls and guys train on different courts, we are ultimately one big family.
Here, what unites us is a drive to outdo ourselves. After all, winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.