Volleyball Immersion Programme, Shanghai
From the 22nd to the 29th of November 2016, a group of 32 students from the Dunman High School Volleyball team, accompanied by 4 teachers, travelled to Shanghai and Nantong in China. As this was a volleyball trip, the students were naturally expected to train with the students from China, sharpening their skills and widening their competitive experience on the court. In addition to grooming their skills as sportsmen, the students were also given the opportunity to attend lessons with the locals to learn more about the education system, culture and development of this bustling city.
The students were stretched both physically and mentally as they learnt to train despite the cold weather – a first for almost all our students. Many of the students were not used to these weather conditions and realised quickly that it had an adverse effect on their performance on the court. In spite of this, our students pressed on and challenged themselves to adapt to the environment. They also learnt to care for their team members by passing heat packs and cups of warm water to one another in order to keep warm.
As it was the end of the year, students were transiting into new divisions. In a team sport like volleyball, it is crucial for members of the team to gel and trust one another. Thus, the trip was timely in serving as a good platform for students to break the ice between themselves and their new teammates. Moreover, the trip also allowed new teachers to get to know the students better and build rapport with them.
One highlight of the trip was the friendly match against the local students in Nantong. As it was a friendly match, our students were genuinely surprised at the grand welcome by the host school. The school had prepared large banners, an elaborate welcome ceremony and even invited reporters to interview and film our students. When it came to the gift-exchange ceremony between students, our students were touched at the thoughtfulness and sincerity of the local students in preparing the gifts for their respective buddies. All in all, our students were thoroughly impressed and heartened by the hospitality of the locals and felt that we had much to learn from them. As the match began, our students began to feel nervous – and understandably so, as they were dwarfed next to the towering local players. Nevertheless, our students demonstrated resilience and put up a tough fight against their opponents. They learnt that winning is not everything, and that it is more important to learn and grow from experience.
“I feel that this trip has exposed us to one of the many times when many conditions and factors are not in our favour. Being in completely different surroundings, what we were provided with (or had to deal with) were issues like really cold training areas and slippery floors. Coping with these undesirable circumstances really reminded me that, in sports, many things can go awry, especially in competitions where so many factors can influence the attitude with which we play the sport. No scenario will ever be perfect, and there will always be a need for us to be flexible and adaptable to different situations. (ie. teammates unable to play etcetc). In essence as sportspeople, it is important for us to have positive mindsets and also to learn to thrive when change arises; and to also be able to put in our 100% even when the odds seem to be against us.”
16Y4F Chan Ke Qing