Volleyball in Zimbabwe continued…

It’s been just over a month since my dad returned from his adventure in Zimbabwe, and as I review his emails and pictures, there is so much more to write.

What an awesome adventure! I ask myself, what is it about sport that can connect all cultures, races, and walks of life? There is something magical about athleticism and team sports. For me, volleyball has always kept me in the moment. I mean, really, Eckart Tole could have just said, go play a team sport if you want to stay in the moment. There is a bonus though! The bonus is an amazing connection with other human beings, a sharing experience that includes teaching, learning, mutual inspiration and joy!

Who helped out with crowd funding? Here is a picture of the shirts purchased for the camp…

Shirts purchased from Crowd Funding

Vic said the kids were very attentive, polite and enthusiastic, and they covered all the aspects of volleyball using his recently published book, “Radical Volleyball” and the End Point Visualization system. 

‘Radical Volleyball’ is co-authored by Dr George Mcmaster and Vic Lindal, published by Dan Doherty and printed in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The coaches of the Starz Academy were required to read the book, and have to review the questions in the book each day. 

One of Vic’s favourite phrases is “The best do, what the rest are not prepared to do.” It is such a perfect and concise way to explain something that holds so many back. How many people say that they would like to do something, but never do, or sit on natural talent with no application to use that natural talent to make a big difference in their life?  Where do they want to be?

When I grew up, my dad would often say, “Set your goals and do it now.” What is it that makes super talented people at the end of their lives say, “I could have been… “

I believe that to be a good coach isn’t about teaching skills alone, but finding a way to motivate, encourage and come along side the athletes to help them attain the goals they set for themselves.

Vic says, “The best do…” and all the kids shout out, “…what the rest are not prepared to do.” He says it again, and the second time they shout louder, and every time he finds a moment to remind them, he reminds them and they respond with enthusiasm and strong voices!

Vic finds simple phrases, and repeats them so that they stick, and that young athlete will find that on days when it seems difficult a little phrase will pop into their head that says, “The best do…” and that young athlete will find the strength to persevere as they finish that phrase with confidence, “what the rest are not prepared to do.”

I can almost see the determination on the faces of the many athletes that have benefited from this sort of encouragement.

Another important part of Vic’s style of coaching is visualization, and he worked with the athletes to use visualization for every drill and every skill. It was noticeably helpful and Vic said that the key was that the coaches were getting it.

Vic writes, ‘We used the camp as a laboratory for the coaches to learn.’He said that one thing the coaches noted, was how much he asked the players to think. The success of this camp truly is what the coaches can take away from it.

I laughed when I received an email from my dad that said he already convinced coach Roddy to make his tallest player the setter. For those of you who don’t know some of Vic’s ‘against the grain’, yet brilliant philosophies, this is one.

In times past people would make the shortest player the setter, and it became a tradition almost. I’ve seen some coaches just pick the player with the best hands, but even if they had the best hands, if they were the tallest, most coaches put them as a middle blocker. 

Let me ask you this… What position on the court has the hardest hitter? Ok, some of you said middle, hopefully most of you said power or left side, but none of you said right side. Who is blocking the left side hitter? Oh… the tiny little setter? That is just one part of it. But that position now has the opportunity to help the middle blocker in both middle and the outside. It seems most teams run a 5-1 system (for those who don’t know, this means one person is the only setter on the team, so when they are in the back row, there are three hitters in the front row, and when they are in the front row there are ‘two’ hitters). The setter is meant to get every second ball. If the setter is tall, hitting the second ball straight over before the other team is set to block would be a lot easier. I’m sure my dad or my brother can explain this concept better, but I remember the many talks about having a tall setter as an option.

Zimbabwe wasn’t just about Vic inspiring, but it also became about inspiring Vic. He told a story of a young lady named Kimberley who got 1800 on her SAT exam. He later saw her studying for a redo. For those who don’t know what 1800 means, let just say that it already gets her full scholarships to Ivy League schools, but she has a goal of 2200. Vic did a little interview and it is posted on YouTube… Kimberley speaks about how her financial degree can help Zimbabwe

Vic had the opportunity to stay in a very affluent area of Harare, Zimbabwe with some wonderful hosts. He said the only difference between this area and Uplands in Victoria, BC (the wealthiest area of Victoria), are the barbed wire fences. Area where Vic stayed

Home Vic Stayed in

His host and her daughter…

Host family

What is so great about Vic, among many things, is his love of connecting with people, getting to know their story, and drawing out the inspiration they have within them. He met another brilliant lady doing great things in Zimbabwe, check out this YouTube interview with Dr. Eve Gadzikwa… Host family daughter interviews Dr. Gadzikwa



Vic in Zimbabwe October 16, 2015

I am not sure how much internet time or available connection Vic has over in Zimbabwe, but I managed to get a few short emails giving me an idea of how his adventure is looking.

Zimbabwe flowersBefore Vic left on his adventure, Martin, the Head coach in Zimbabwe, sent this picture.

It is the beautiful Jacaranda season in Zimbabwe where the streets are lined with these gorgeous purple flowers!

I read further to find out that once these are done, a beautiful red breaks out on the ‘Flamboyant Trees’.

Vic’s adventure started in Dubai, having a casual coffee on a mild 30*C day, while watching Russia against Turkey in Volleyball. I need to ask how the coffee is in Dubai, since I am definitely a coffee fiend, and if I had a chance to travel the world, while some people might taste the wine, I would taste the coffee!

In Vic’s quick note he says, “Great adventure so far”. Even if it wasn’t great, he would make it great. Do any of you remember his trip to Manitoba where he rode his mountain bike the whole way? He was going through the Okanagan and became friends with a loooong-bearded homeless guy (This was before long beards were in), and they travelled together through the middle of BC. Vic said it was because this guy was really great at building fires. It made me realize where I get that from; that love of unique and interesting people. I often keep a quote book with me, because you never know who you might meet who says or does something you don’t want to forget!

Vic said he re-read the new volleyball book co-written with Dr. George MacMaster, and he is inspired and says that it looks great!

On with the adventure… Vic went on a hop on hop off bus tour all day and said Dubai makes Vancouver look like a village!

He found one area with Palms interesting to visit, and there was some deal with condos whereby if you buy a condo you get a car as a gift. The lower levels get nice cars, but the Penthouse gets a Lamborghini!

Vic says he decided not to buy.

As most of Vic’s adventures go, they would be less exciting if he didn’t take a wrong turn. I almost think he does it on purpose! Somewhere around the city centre mall was where this wrong turn happened and he went a very long way before attempting to ask directions.

When travelling in a foreign country it is best to think about what tools you need in order to communicate! Vic ended up at a shop where he met a Syrian refugee and somewhere in his attempt to get directions Vic realized he couldn’t pronounce the name of his hotel, and I am laughing pretty hard right now as I write this… Oh dad! For those of you who don’t know, my dad is brilliant, but pronouncing foreign names is not is strongest skill. But wait! How would he get back to the hotel then? Thankfully he had a picture of the hotel! THAT should be put in the travelling 101 handbook. Take a picture of where you need to go. That’s kind of Vic’s mantra, isn’t it? In this case, the literal sense was quite useful!

Discussing Manual with HEad Coach Robby

Finally, after a good sleep I am guessing, Vic made it to Zimbabwe! Here is a picture of Vic going over the Volleyball manual with one of the head coaches, Roddy.

Preparing for the adventure!

It was the late 1960s when Vic Lindal decided to start what is believed to be the first ever volleyball camp in North America, in a little place called Winfield, BC. It has since been renamed, ‘Lake Country’, probably because it is surrounded by Lakes, and in the middle of the whole town is ‘Wood Lake’. The large ‘Lake Okanagan’, home of the infamous Ogopogo, is just across the Highway, and Kalamalka Lake, which I remember to be a peaceful unique light green colour is at the North. There is a little Lake called ‘Ellison’ that appears on the south end of the town, but I seem to remember this Lake being called Duck Lake.

In the summer, Lake Country is always above 30*C (86*F) and often gets up to 45*C (113*F). The light grey sand feels as if your feet are about to blister in one step, and once you hit the ground anywhere in your bare feet you are running for water! It’s a good thing it’s lake country, because you are never too far from a place to cool down!

What Vic did in that little community spread like wild fire across North America, and now the sport of volleyball is enjoyed in a sing along camp out style event every summer throughout the continent! The Winfield camp later transferred to Williams Lake, and a dormitory style camp facilitated the many interested patrons.

Now, approximately 50 years later, Vic has decided to embark on a new adventure; Zimbabwe, Africa. I think he likes to start volleyball camps in very hot places! It seems Zimbabwe this time of year is actually slightly cooler than the 40 – 45 *C temperatures of the Okanagan summers, and comes in at ONLY 32 or 33 *C as a high, thankfully cooling down at night to 18 – 20. As for lakes to cool off in? I don’t know much about Africa, but I imagine that would be a little harder to find.

Many Universities from around North America have donated their old volleyballs, tablets for coaches have been donated, and a ‘GO Fund Me’ account has been started to help this volleyball camp get started.

Vic recently sent a note of thanks to the following contributors…

Volleyballs and uniforms were donated by: Reynolds Secondary, Volleyball BC, Lambrick Park Secondary, Oak Bay, Brentwood College, and other Universities around North America!

Tablets for the coaches were donated by ‘Data Wind’.

Dr. George McMaster, Dan Doherty, Sandy McMaster and Vic Lindal created a complete manual called,  ‘Radical Volleyball’. In it, they cover a lot that is not normally covered in the general Volleyball books. They focused on the EPV system to create a great program and teach all the skills. This is being printed in Zimbabwe at this moment!

Vic says, “Dr. George did a fantastic job and even added in some powerful concepts on breathing for centring and success. Tom Graham contributed his journey thru the BC team to the 76 Olympics. Jason Sinclair helped explain some aspects of the Break Out service reception. Chris Jenkins gave us his formula for 4 on 4 using the Jim Bjerring system.”

Vic is paying his own way to Zimbabwe, continuing his life long principles of volunteerism. He is a great example of giving back, even at the age of 78! He has created the ‘GoFundMe’ account in order to transport all the amazing donations of equipment, and plans to get to the airport early to negotiate!

Why Zimbabwe? Several years ago, in his ‘retirement’ from the sport of volleyball, Vic took up to coaching the Camosun Girls Volleyball team. Linda Henderson was coaching the men’s team at the time and was the Master coach to a man from Zimbabwe, Martin Dururu. I believe he got his level 4 via Camosun.

Vic says, “We travelled on the bus for hours to places like Prince George and College of the Rockies and had lots of time to help Martin with the EPV system and how he could use it when he got home.

Over the years we have arranged to send used Volleyballs from schools all over Canada and the US.

Some of you may know of the hyper inflation in Zimbabwe. In fact, you may know that it was so high that they eliminated their own currency and now use US, South African or Chinese currency.”

Vic stayed in touch, and when the idea came up for a camp, he took action. If anyone knows Vic, an idea is rarely just an idea. An idea to Vic almost always includes immediate action!

In this case, Vic says, ” The idea for Zimbabwe came to me and I sent a note to Martin to see what he thought. I said give me two possible dates, and I chose the least expensive air for October, booked the flight then booked my air and B &B. That meant I was committed.”

Vic also noted that Martin has met with his committee to put together a gruelling schedule!

The goal of the camp is to build a foundation to support the program so camps can run annually.

Vic arrives in Zimbabwe October 13, 2015, and even though he hasn’t even arrived at this camp yet, his final comment is, “Now to line coaches up for next year.”