National Teams
National Careers Week 2024 | Luke Ryan

National Careers Week 2024 | Luke Ryan

“I’ve always been a bit of a nerd – I just love pushing my brain to its absolute limits.”

Speak to Luke Ryan for five minutes and you soon realise he’s more than just a volleyball talent.

Joining the Developing Volleyroos Program in January, Ryan is also studying a Bachelor of Data Science remotely through Queensland University of Technology (QUT), with the aim of going into a field of study most would find incredibly overwhelming – quantum physics.

“The computing side isn’t what I’m most interested in, it’s the theoretical science behind it – turning theory into fact,” Ryan says. “Australia has just managed to create the first qubit, which is a quantum computing element which we’re basically ahead of the world in.

“They want more Australian minds working on the same thing so that we can continue to develop it. We’re a long way behind where we need to be if we want to be using quantum computing because we just don’t understand the science.

“Boosting the world’s understanding is where I want to be.

“QUT are introducing a quantum physics course next year that I’d really like to move into. I thought I may as well join QUT now, learn to study the way they teach, and when that comes about I can slide into it.”

Boosting the knowledge of his own game is also where Ryan’s head is at less than five months in the national program.

Straight out of school he joined the Australian Volleyball Academy in Canberra, however his year was spent mostly in rehab while the degree he took on at ANU didn’t allow the balance required to merge worlds of sport and study.

Moving to South Australia this year, Ryan is one of ten recipients of the 2024 QUT-Australian Institute of Sport Scholarships worth $10,000 over two years.

“QUT is the best that I’ve seen in Australia at least with funding,” he says. “It means that I have more time to study and train that I don’t need to dedicate to working. I still work, but I don’t have to work nearly as much so I can still pay rent and feed myself while also training and studying.”

Ryan thoroughly enjoys the work he’s undertaking with Olympics Unleashed, conveying his story to schoolchildren around South Australia and even when back home in Queensland.

“I love it,” he says. “Public speaking has always been a fun thing of mine and Volleyball is something I’m really passionate about. I was the age that the people I’m talking to are when I got into Volleyball, so it’s kind of like talking to myself from six years ago… pretty awesome.”

Nearing the end of semester one, everything seems to be falling into place with not just work and study, but on the court too. The high point of the summer was when he teamed with Jed Walker to take out the Australian Junior Beach Volleyball Tour leg in Cobram, and he has also been able to focus on the improvements he is making which will take him forward in his career.

“We hadn’t played together before and we’d always wanted to play together which was awesome to get to do it for the first time,” he said. “It was the last junior event we were ever going to do, we just put everything in there and managed to win it.

“I did a little bit of a reflection after Coolie [the last event of the season in Coolangatta]: how I thought I was going in training versus how my ability to play the game had actually changed. 

“I could see huge leaps in just those three months, so I’m trying to make it a habit now to review where I’ve come from and how I’m tracking.

“Even though it’s only been five months, which isn’t that long, I can see and feel major differences in my game, a lot of improvements and a lot of changes.

“I’m discovering more about where I’ll sit in international volleyball, where my weapons are and how I’m going to win.

“And then I’ve just got to spend the next six years developing the ability to use them 100%.”

However his on court career pans out, Ryan is comfortable in the knowledge that he’ll always have a professional career to go to after sport. He has long looked at volleyball as just one part of his life; one which won’t last forever but one he will enjoy as long as he can.

“For a sport like volleyball, internationally, there’s not as much money as there is in a lot of other sports,” he says. “You can’t get one contract and be set for the rest of your life.

“From day dot I’ve been thinking about not what I want to do after volleyball, but what I want to do on the side of volleyball so that I can do something post-career… in case I don’t make enough money to retire straight away!”

Click here for more information about National Careers Week

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