By Raffles Volleyball
Being a Raffles Volleyball player requires grit and spirit. What we experience on the court simply does not exist elsewhere—volleyball is a unique experience unmatched by any other; any attempt at describing it would merely diminish the beauty of the sport. However, we will do our best to encapsulate the spirit of the game within the following paragraphs.
While it may seem like a slightly more complex version of the balloon game in which the balloon can’t touch the ground (we know what you’re thinking, it’s not that easy!), volleyball is a game that’s hard to master. To be a true expert, one needs to work hard on the many unique skills that volleyball will impart to you—digs, sets, spikes, serves, and even dives—which elude other more common sports involving just physical dexterity. Fully grasping these skills requires the utmost level of dedication and patience, any small mistakes in stance or movement could send the ball flying in unintended directions (unfortunately, one of the authors here was smacked in the face twice during her first CCA session). However, the sheer time and effort we pour into ensuring such proficiency guarantees that our performance as a team is not only top-notch but that the game is also enjoyable.
Most of us joined the CCA without much prior experience in the sport, but this in fact motivates us to work even harder. We may not start off as the best, but what’s key is our insatiable hunger for improvement and our overflowing passion for the game. As long as you are willing to put in the sweat and the hours to train, volleyball will turn out to be a very fulfilling CCA.
Volleyball being a team sport also means that covering for your teammates is equally important as guarding yourself. Communication is key, due to the three-touch nature of the sport. When the ball comes flying towards your side of the court, you and your team will be directing the flow of the match; within the court, no matter a faulty receive or failed set, your team covers for you. Within the court, not one member is left out; we are not a team of strong individual players, but one strong team.
That being said, volleyball isn’t always about competitions and serious matches! To any new player, the thought of engaging in an intense rally spanning 60 to 90 minutes might be daunting, but training sessions are, in essence, time slots to bond and learn new skills as a batch. It is only through attempts, mistakes, and obstacles, that you and your team grow as players and forge the strong, lasting bonds that will mould all of you into a family.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not, in fact, have to be above 170cm to join! What you do need is an interest in the unknown, an eagerness to work hard to improve, and the courage to give your all in spite of everything. Training will be tough not only because of the intensity of the physical training, but also because of the disappointments you have when you make mistakes. Be it when you serve the ball into the net, or the first ball that you failed to pass to the setter properly, or the imperfect form of your spike that you cannot seem to correct, there will be moments when CCA is mentally and emotionally draining. However, this is where true growth and improvement take root, and we must give our best, just as it is the job of a volleyball player to chase the ball with all they’ve got, so long as “the ball hasn’t touched the ground yet”.
If you find yourself thrilled when faced with challenges, enticed by the potential for growth; or drawn to the adrenaline rush and camaraderie that comes when you shout “RAFFLES ACE!!!”, come join our family! Before long, you too will be addicted to spending your afternoons chasing after a ball with your fellow ball-chasers.
Training sessions take place every Tuesday (5pm-8pm) and Friday (5pm-8pm) during off-season, with an extra Saturday training during season. These three-hour training sessions include physical training, drills, and gameplay. After each CCA session, you can look forward to team dinners at the J8 rooftop: for there is no better way to end the week or nurse your sore arms than to bond with your teammates after training with bad jokes and banter.
If the COVID-19 situation improves, you can look forward to the National School Games (A Divisions) in April. As the A Divisions draw near, the team may also meet more regularly to practice. This includes Saturday training and booking beach volleyball courts at the Stadium or indoor courts at the OCBC Arena. Apart from that, we have yearly events such as Team Raffles Games and Old Rafflesians League (ORL), where alumni members come back for a fun day of friendly matches with one another. Furthermore, we also have friendly matches against other schools to provide us with the exposure we need before competitions.
And that is what Volleyball truly means to us; forget the glitz and glamour of National Volleyball players duking it out for each and every point, forget your favourite anime series that details highly unrealistic (but extremely entertaining) matches. Volleyball is family. What more could you ask for?