Ru Huntley Scores Silver at the National Beach Volleyball Competition

Ru Huntley first played volleyball in grade seven at Crestwood.  Well, he sort of played- he says he spent most of the time on the bench.  His interest in the sport was encouraged by his friend Hannah Shad, who played with the competitive volleyball with the Peterborough Thunder.

Last summer, Ru spend five days a week playing with the Soul Beach Volleyball Club at Beavermead Park in Peterborough.  He took every training camp on offer, building his skills.  Last fall, he and Hannah joined the Durham Attack Volleyball Club in Oshawa.  It was producing much higher-ranked teams than the Peterborough club, and they wanted to up their game by playing with teams that were in contention.  It worked. This spring, Ru’s team came 4th in the provincial and 5th in the national competitions, Hannah’s team also collected both provincial and national awards.   To round out their play the two also competed together at weekend tournaments.

Nine months of indoor volleyball can leave players with sore knees, ankles and even shoulders.  The uneven and softer sand surface in beach volleyball stimulates smaller muscles around these joints to work, an experience Ru suggests acts like physio therapy, helping players recover.  Playing beach volleyball tournaments most weekends in the summer is not a hardship for the chauffeurs, either, as they get to spend a day on the beach.

Ru’s success with his indoor team inspired him to work on his skills for the beach volleyball competitions this summer.  Endurance is a factor during long rallies where, like tennis, balls are dropped as far away from the opponent as possible to make them run.  In addition to regular workouts, Ru uses a net in his backyard to practise placing his shots, throwing the ball in the air and landing it in a strategic location.  He believes stretching is an under-rated training tool in his age group, but his dedication to this conditioning activity gives him a competitive advantage over some of his less-flexible challengers.  He explains that being able to crouch down low to the ground buys a player an extra second which can improve the accuracy of their volley returns.

Two weeks ago, Ru competed in Volleyball Canada’s National Tournament in Toronto, where he and his partner took the silver medal in the 15U category, placing him second in the country.   Not a bad start for someone who has only been playing for fourteen months.  What will next season bring?  Congratulations!  KG




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