'I first got involved when Volleer (Dutch club team) came over to the UK to do an exhibition match before an international standing volleyball match in 2007. Playing the sport for the first time, I immediately saw and felt how exciting it was! It was incredibly fast-paced and erratic, but yet very subtle at the same time. Where others struggled, I found the movement around the court quite easy and was able to read the game pretty well. Following this, I continued to play for East London Lynx at various European Club Competitions, and also volunteered my time with the then National Team Coach, Jozef Banfi, whilst completing my coaching badges. It was here that I learnt a great deal about the sport and developed a passion for coaching it.
It sounds obvious, but my advice to anyone starting would be to actually sitting on the court and play the sport, as in my opinion this is essential to build knowledge of the sport and educate yourself by direct experience. Understanding the difficulties of movement, the awkward sitting positions, how best to generate power, the timing of blocking, etc are examples of typical areas for attention and reflection that build in-depth knowledge of the game. Secondly, allow players to experiment on court and become comfortable with their disability within the sport. Obviously there are fundamental positions and movements that are most efficient for the game, but these are more than often not suited to every player because of the wide range of amputations and other disabilities. There is always more than one path to the top of the mountain!'
Follow Ashley on Twitter here: @ATrods