Spotlight On... Sitting Volleyball
It’s a Paralympic summer, but don’t just watch the sports, try them!
Parasport's Spotlight On… series offers a quick glimpse into the world of a Paralympic sport – the thoughts, feelings, emotions and behind the scenes details that may be hidden to the outside world.
In the next part of the series we spoke to sitting volleyball player Jeannette Adu-Bobie, who represents Great Britain and has played for teams across the world while on her travels.
Jeannette told us all about her journey into the sport and why she thinks it’s so special.
Tell us about how you got into sitting volleyball and your progression to where you are today
“I got into it more than 10 years ago now, initially as I was looking for something to do during the winter. I was always active during the winters and I wanted to continue that when I became a wheelchair user.
“My friend recommended sitting volleyball and there was a club near where I lived, so I thought why not? It was a learning curve for me but eventually I became captain of the development team at East London Lynx and progressed to the point where I have represented Great Britain at the European Championships in 2019. I am still part of the GB team and also manage the East London Lynx team, helping to run the club and support the players.”
Why sitting volleyball over other sports?
“Initially, it was the fact it was local – and also that I didn’t need specialist equipment. All I needed to do was bring myself. Since then, it has been a brilliant way to make friends and keep active. During the pandemic, I have helped set up virtual training to keep the members active and engaged. We have tried very hard to look after people’s mental health in a difficult time, as that is something we take very seriously.”
What’s the one thing you now know, that you wish you’d known before getting started in the sport?
“Just how many doors it can open and how much of a global community it is. When I travel on holiday, I always try and play with a local club. I have played with teams in South Africa and Kenya – the team I played with in Cape Town even invited me to play in a tournament, which I did. I never would have known how many possibilities exist within the sport.”
What’s been your favourite memory in the sport so far?
“For me, that’s definitely playing in the 2019 European Championships in Bucharest and scoring a point against Russia. It was my first international tournament and it’s a totally different level when you play in them. The camaraderie, not only between the GB team but other volleyball players around the world, was wonderful.”
What's the best thing about sitting volleyball?
“It’s totally inclusive at every level up to international representation. It is not only for people with who are disabled or have limited mobility, we have people of all abilities, ages, genders and diverse cultural backgrounds. We also have a number of LGBT+ members.
“You can bring your family along to join in – my mother comes along to support us and is our ball person at the age of 75! Sometimes we have toddlers who join in, others come with their support pets, usually dogs, and they are all welcome. We all support each other and it feels like an extended family.”
What’s something only a sitting volleyball player would know or appreciate?
“Because we sit on the floor, we that are amputees/limbless sometimes have an advantage over able-bodied players. When you play sitting volleyball, having legs can be a disadvantage as they get in the way!”
What would you say to someone considering trying sitting volleyball?
“I would emphasise how inclusive and welcoming the sport is. We will teach newcomers how to play and we will be patient – we know everyone has to start somewhere. We can adapt sessions to make everyone feel included and make it fun for all. The sport is about having fun, supporting each other and sharing experiences.”
Gain an insight into the world of other Paralympic sports by visiting our Spotlight On… series hub page here.
Want to give sitting volleyball a try? Check out our club finder!