Martina Aegerter

Last Monday, the Volleyball Sportative beginners’ session was, for the second time this term, coached by “Sporting Giant” Chris Gregory.
He is a giant (6’10’’ tall) in more ways than one. He went through the sporting giant scheme that was set up in 2008 to find undiscovered athletes who could possibly compete at the 2012 Olympics in the disciplines of Rowing, Canoeing, Handball and Volleyball.
These are not major sports in the UK and thus needed to be developed if the UK teams wanted to be competitive on home soil.
According to the governments Sport website, the team led by Sir Steve Redgrave was looking for people who “fulfilled the basic criteria of being tall (a minimum of 6’3” or 190cm for men and 5’11” or 180cm for women), young (between 16 and 25), and with some sort of athletic background.”
Chris met these criteria, and even though he didn’t compete in his home Olympics, he is a successful beach Volleyballer now and has good prospects to represent Team GRB with his partner Jacob Sheaf in the next Olympic Games.
Such a figure is a huge inspiration for anyone playing Volleyball, so it is no wonder many players of the Volleyball first team showed up to see him.
However, the reason why Volleyball England organised for him to come and coach our beginners is the same reason we even have a Sportative beginners’ session: to promote volleyball to those who have never played it before (which is a rather large proportion of the UK).
The sessions are meant to teach the basics of the game, but most of all to be fun. Chris certainly made the session a lot of fun, and his presence and story hopefully inspired many of the beginners present to carry on with Volleyball even after the 8 weeks of Sportative sessions are over.

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