[caption id="attachment_3997" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Nicki Marino, coach of the Air Force sitting volleyball team, gives her players instructions during last year's Warrior Games competition."]
Even though she had been playing volleyball for most of her life, and coaching volleyball for several years on top of that, when Nicki Marino was approached about coaching the Air Force sitting volleyball team for the inaugural Warrior Games, she was at something of a loss.
“I am familiar with and totally comfortable with regular volleyball,” Nicki said, “but I didn’t know anything about sitting volleyball.”
Luckily for Nicki, besides the fact that sitting volleyball players sit on the court rather than stand on it, not much else is different. Rules about contacts and violations are the same between standing and sitting volleyball, she said, though sitting players use a smaller court and a shorter net. When it comes to contacting the ball, players must have at least one cheek touching the floor.
Because of the simplicity of the rules and the game itself, sitting volleyball “actually opens the door for a lot of injuries,” said Denise Sheldon, who coaches the
and SOCOM teams are looking forward to the Games, and the coaches are looking forward to getting the teams together for some hard training a week or so before competition starts. Everyone hopes to take home a medal, of course, but at the end of the day it’s all about enjoying the experience.
“It’s definitely very cool to see that competitive style come out,” Nicki said. “That’s the thing I think is great about adaptive sports. It allows them to be in that competitive environment and experience sports again.”