The Rise of Wellbeing in the Volleyball Community

The past 12 months have seen incredible resilience and innovation from the volleyball community in Western Australia and beyond. 2020 was challenging, but volleyball has thrived in this trying time! 

Nine Great Examples of Innovation

We’re looking back on nine ways that show how volleyball innovated over the past 12 months, to keep stick together, stay active and stay healthy. We’ve grabbed a few great examples from around the State, and even further beyond. 

1: New Online Training and Resources

2020 saw a boom in online training. As just one example of new approaches, Volleyball WA sponsor’s Diamond Fitness were incredibly proactive, releasing a fantastic free online program and a great supporting video playlist to keep volleyballers moving through the disrupted 2020 season. 

2: New Online Campaigns to Stick Together

There was plenty of other online innovation from the volleyball community, particularly in the early stages as lockdowns and travel restrictions came into play.

As an example, Reds Volleyball Club came up with the Rally Challenge. This was a fun, online challenge driven by the Red’s men’s State League Head Coach, Josh Court,  that brought together volleyballers from all over the world. Catch the whole series over here, as the rally bounces from Australia, to Europe, Asia, North America and beyond. 

3:  Making the Most of the 2020 Season 

Almost all of the clubs and associations across Western Australia had to grapple with shortened seasons and changes at playing venues. Quick action from staff and volunteers ensured that disruption was minimal, and almost 12 months on, the sport looks to have restored almost all competition up to National level. With a little luck, we’re confident that most forms of national competition will return in 2021. 

4: Clubs Show the Benefits of Family

Family-oriented club cultures were recognised as a deciding factor in many of 2020’s most successful clubs. Check out the recent interview with Busselton Volleyball Association, our 2020 regional Club of the Year, where Club President David Hutchins cites the role of family and friendship in driving the success of the club. 

Another great example is the Long Table Dinner, an initiative of The Hub over Christmas to bring together people who couldn’t meet with friends and family. Over 40 people attended, representing some 19 different countries from all over the world. Everyone brought a plate to share and The HUB offered the free use of the courts, a slice of Christmas cake and a glass of bubble to cheer for the Christmas with Beach volleyball family.

5: New Partnerships and New Approaches

VolleyballWA reached out to new stakeholders in 2020, forging a new partnership with Western Australian Association for Mental Health (WAAMH) . This partnership brought a sharper focus to the ways volleyball can help contribute to mental health, and sparked the next stage of our events celebrating mental health and wellbeing.

VolleyballWA prepared a Mental Health Charter as a way of formalising the organisation’s commitment to developing good mental health policies. The Volleyball WA Mental Health Charter highlights important information about mental health in the workplace.

6: An even bigger Mental Health Week

Volleyball WA was excited to champion the 2020 Mental Health Week theme of “Strengthening Our Community – Live, Learn, Work, Play” to raise the awareness of supporting and increasing the mental wellbeing of the WA volleyball community.

The Fortix Cup went up a gear in 2020, aligning with Mental Health Week and providing an even bigger opportunity for corporate teams to get involved in the cause. 

7: New Tools to Measure and Connect over Wellbeing

Volleyball WA also partnered with iyarn to bring new ways to measure wellbeing and spark a conversation about wellbeing while it wasn’t always possible to be there. iyarn’s platform is a great tool that’s available for volleyball clubs and teams to keep their eye on what matters to members and players. 

8: New Approaches in Our Workplace

When the Volleyball WA team arrived back at work, we were open-minded about how we can keep the mental health progress moving forward in our work place. 

We’ve implemented a series of changes in the office. Perhaps our most loveable initiative is “Bring Your Dog to Work”. Dogs in the workplace are known to have benefits to wellbeing: they can reduce stress, boost morale, provide new opportunities to get staff interacting in a positive setting and they’re also a form of social support. It’s also great for the dogs too! 

9: Volleyroo selected as AIS Mental Fitness Ambassador

Rounding out our list is the selection of Volleyroo Jenny Tait as an ambassador for AIS’ Mental Fitness Program in 2020.  The Mental Fitness program brings students from Year 8 and 9 together with elite athletes, as an opportunity to promote positive mental health strategies and improve wellbeing outcomes for young people.

Plans for 2021

Sport and recreation played a vital role in recovering from the immediate impacts of isolation and interruption due to COVID in 2020. Recent research has now shown that people who found it easier to keep fit and active reported they felt more optimistic, connected and had a greater sense of wellbeing during 2020. Volleyball certainly played its part in this! 

We’ll be continuing to drive home the theme of mental health and wellbeing well into 2021. Robyn Kuhl, CEO at Volleyball WA, highlighted just how important it will be to continue to invest in the mental health and wellbeing of Volleyball WA’s members, volunteers, and staff. 

“The volleyball community should be incredibly proud of the way that our sport played a positive role in keeping the community together. We’re optimistic that life will return to normal soon in 2021, but conversations about mental wellbeing remain so critically important right now.”