Coming off a quarter-final finish last season, the men’s volleyball team hopes to build upon last year’s success and take it even further. Part of the reason for that success was outside hitter, Adam Chaplin. With the 2015-16 volleyball season fast approaching, Chaplin sits down to talk about what made him fall in love with the sport, what his goals for himself and the team are, the two coaches he has played under in his Cascades career, and even archery.
Growing up, what made you fall in love with volleyball?
Well, that’s a tough question. It started in grade eight; I wanted to play on a sports team, so I started playing volleyball. After playing for the year and sitting on the bench most of the time, I talked to my dad and figured out that he was on the national team and he did two world tours, and that sparked my interest a little bit more. You know, at least I now have somebody close to home that can help me out with [volleyball]. From there, I ended up going in seven camps over the summer, so my entire summer was just volleyball between grade eight and grade nine. I came back to high school a totally different player and I started playing club.
What’s your favourite skill in volleyball? Serving, setting, spiking, or digging? And why?
Honestly, I’ve been an all-around player all my life, and that’s just the way my dad trained me. I love every skill. It’s hard to pick an individual skill to be my favourite, but there is something about playing defence. Digging is more satisfying than anything. Yeah, you can score points on offence, but stopping the other team from scoring points is more satisfying to me.
Last year, the Columbia Bible College Bearcats beat you in four of the five matches you two played. What’s going to be different this season?
First of all, CBC lost a ton of players, so it’s going to be a totally different look on their side. It’s kind of hard to tell what they’re going to be like this year. Speaking strictly from our side though, we’ve only gotten stronger. I said to our coach and a bunch of the guys that two weeks into this year, we were starting what we finished last year; not just in terms of skill, but as a team. As a whole, we were bonding better and playing better, so I definitely think that going into this year, we haven’t gone backwards at all. We’re already on the uphill heading into playing CBC. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you where they’re at because it’s an entirely different team.
You’ve played under two coaches during your career with the Cascades. What do you think is different about Kyle Donen, and what do you think is better?
Oh gosh. Greg [Russell] was older and Kyle [Donen] was a super young guy. Greg brought a lot different outlooks on the game — he would try the weirdest things where nobody had any idea what he was doing. But things worked and it was unbelievable. He has that sure experience with volleyball because he’s been around the sport for so long. Kyle, on the other hand, is kind of tentative with what he does; he’s not really ready to make lots of changes. He lets things kind of ride through. I think that allows us to develop instead of changing every day. Not that there’s anything wrong with changing every day, but it’s hard to get into a rhythm. I personally love the change every day because I’m an all-around player. I moved from the left side to the right, setting — I was just so used to it. Kyle sticks with something and tries it out for a while and sees how it goes.
In your fifth season playing for the Cascades, what do you want to improve upon the most?
As a team, we can do a better job of being consistent. Personally, consistency has always been something that I’ve strived for. I think that comes with being consistent as a team. That’s definitely going to be one of our biggest strengths this year, getting that consistency and holding it. [If we do], we can be a very strong team.
Do you have any personal goals for the up and coming season?
Seeing as this is my last season, I want to leave everything on the court. I don’t want to be at the end of the season saying, “Wow, I could’ve tried a little harder in that game and in that practice; I slacked.” I just want to leave everything out on the floor. Everybody obviously wants to win provincials and nationals, but only one team in each league can do it. Not that that’s not a goal, but it’s the procedure that we need to focus on.
Do you want to pursue volleyball professionally?
It’s been a thought in my mind, and I’ve swayed back and forth. Yeah, I want do to it, but another part of me says no, let’s just get to real life. But it’s tough at my height. If I wanted to be a libero, there’s an outside chance, but as an outside hitter, I’m too small. Being 5’10 as an outside hitter in the volleyball hitter is few and far between.
What is your vertical?
I couldn’t tell you. At one point, I’ve touched 11’4 and my standing reach is 7’6. Officially it would be 46 inches, but unrecorded, I know I’ve touched higher than that. I’ve hit my head on a basketball rim at one point.
Besides volleyball, what other sports do you play?
I don’t really play any other sports to be honest. Before volleyball, I used to shoot archery, but volleyball has been my passion, and to be focused on what I’m doing and to be the best I can. I don’t really take any time aside to play any other sports. Everything I do is based on volleyball.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.