Saturday, 20 Jul 2024

Am I Too Short To Pursue My Volleyball Dreams?

Do you ever wonder if being shorter than other volleyball players will hinder your chances of achieving your dreams? Perhaps you’ve faced discouragement from coaches who claim that your height is a limitation. But fear not! In this article, we will debunk the myth that height determines success in volleyball. We’ll explore inspiring stories of shorter players who have excelled in the sport and provide insights from volleyball experts. So, let’s dive in and discover why your height should never hold you back from pursuing your passion for volleyball!

The Power of Skill, Not Height

When it comes to volleyball, it’s not just about how tall you are; it’s about how good you are. Marv Dunphy, the 1988 Olympic gold medal coach, once said, “It is not how tall you are, it is how GOOD you are.” This quote perfectly captures the essence of the sport. Height may give an advantage in terms of attacking and blocking, but it doesn’t define your overall ability as a player.

Volleyball Player

Inspiring Examples of Shorter Players

Let’s take a look at some incredible athletes who have defied the notion that height is a prerequisite for success.

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Women’s Volleyball

  • Debbie Green (5’4″) led the USA team to a silver medal in the Olympics.
  • Meche Gonzales (5’6″) went from sitting on the bench at 13 years old to leading her Peru team in the 1976 Olympics.
  • Leanne Sato (5’2″) dominated on defense for the USA team in the 1988 Olympics.
  • Lori Endicott (5’8″) showcased her setting skills, helping the women’s team win a bronze medal in 1992.

Men’s Volleyball

  • Waldo Kantor (5’7″) led his Argentina team to an Olympic medal in 1988.
  • Kim Oh Chul (5’9″) from Korea showed impressive swing blocking skills in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.
  • Eric Sato (5’11”) jump served the Gold Medal match point for the USA men in 1988, securing their victory.

These individuals, along with many others, have proven that height is not a barrier to success in the volleyball world. Additionally, the introduction of the libero position has made it possible for talented players of any size to contribute significantly to their teams.

Overcoming the Height Challenge

What if you’re shorter and cannot block above the net? While some coaches may suggest focusing on digging and setting rather than blocking or hitting, it would be a mistake to limit your potential. Even without being able to block above the net, you can still excel as an attacker by using strategic placement and deceptive shots. For example, never hitting where you look and always hitting where your opponents aren’t can make you unstoppable, just like the legendary Jon Stanley.

It’s important to note that beach volleyball has seen numerous world-class players who are not considered tall. Eileen Clancy, at 5’1″, was one of the best beach players for over a decade. So, height should never be an obstacle to pursuing your volleyball dreams!

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Insights from Volleyball Experts

To reinforce these uplifting perspectives, we sought the advice of Reid Priddy, a member of the USA Men’s Olympic team. Here’s what he had to say:

“First things first, height is not a deciding factor to prevent anyone from reaching the highest level in our sport. Many players have shattered that myth, and it’s simply old thinking. Ball control, defense, and passing skills are crucial for success, and those skills can be developed regardless of height. While taller players may have an easier time attacking and blocking, speed is something that shorter players can utilize to their advantage. Remember, volleyball players don’t peak until their mid-late 20s on average, so keep striving for excellence and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it!”

Reid’s words of wisdom remind us that there are numerous ways to make a significant impact on the volleyball court. Whether it’s through ball control, defensive prowess, or overwhelming speed, your skills and determination are what truly matter.


Q: Can a short player be successful in volleyball?

A: Absolutely! Height is not the sole determinant of success in volleyball. Many shorter players have achieved greatness through their skills, strategic play, and dedication to the sport.

Q: What are some examples of shorter volleyball players who have excelled?

A: There are numerous inspiring examples in both men’s and women’s volleyball. Some notable names include Debbie Green, Meche Gonzales, Leanne Sato, Waldo Kantor, and Kim Oh Chul. These athletes have shown that height should never hold you back from reaching your full potential.

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Q: How can a shorter player compensate for the disadvantage of being shorter?

A: Shorter players can compensate for their height disadvantage by focusing on their ball control, defensive skills, speed, and strategic shot placement. By honing these abilities, they can make a significant impact on the game.


Remember, being shorter than other players should never discourage you from pursuing your volleyball dreams. As we’ve seen from inspiring individuals and the insights provided by volleyball experts, height is not the ultimate determinant of success. Volleyball is a sport that celebrates skill, determination, and teamwork. So, continue to nurture your abilities, work hard, and strive for excellence. You have the power to make a lasting impact on the volleyball court, regardless of your height. Embrace the challenge, trust in your skills, and let nothing hold you back from reaching your goals. The world of volleyball awaits!