Youngest referee developing skills at Australian Youth Beach Volleyball Championships

Youngest referee developing skills at Australian Youth Beach Volleyball Championships

The second day of the Australian Youth Beach Volleyball Championships saw teams from around Australia return to Coolangatta Beach for another action-packed day of competition and camaraderie.

More than 510 athletes took to the beach in an effort to test their skills, secure themselves points and advance in the tournament.

While the Australian Youth Beach Volleyball Championships is a fantastic development opportunity for young players, it’s also a significant opportunity for young officials, with many traveling from far and wide to gain more experience.

As the youngest referee in the cohort, Riley Hall – who turned 16 on Sunday – made the trip from Toowoomba in order to take part in his first beach event.

“I’ve been playing volleyball for about four years now and realised pretty soon after I started that I wanted to try refereeing. I’ve been doing it more and more lately cause I really like it, even more so than playing,” said Riley.

“There’s not many opportunities to referee where I’m from in Toowoomba, I mostly do social leagues but also do some GPS work for the Toowoomba Grammar School from time to time which is cool as well,” he said.

Used to an indoor court, Riley is excited to be on the sand, noting one of his goals is to soak in as much information as he can over the four day event.

“This is my first beach event and it’s definitely different to what I’m used to. Beach is a lot harder to be honest, you’ve got to set everything up, manage the sun and the sand and fix up the court throughout the game,” said Riley.

“I’m really loving that I’m getting some beach experience, I’d love to eventually do bigger, international tournaments and one day referee at the Olympics, so being able to learn so much here is great.

“All the referees are being mentored by the head referee Catriona (Tweedie) this week, so it’s been great to learn from her. I’m excited to learn as much as I can and hopefully be able to pass it on back in Toowoomba,” he said.

International referee Catriona Tweedie knows her way around the sand, having refereed at both the Sydney 2000 and London 2012 Olympic Games, and says it’s fantastic to see young referees like Riley honing their skills.

This is a great development opportunity for our referees, especially the younger ones,” said Catriona.

“They get great exposure to beach volleyball – a lot of them come from indoor – and get to work with so many different people, a lot of whom have a significant amount of experience and can help them along their journey.

“Riley is amazing because he understands the game really well but also has the confidence to say things with confidence, not only to his peers but to people of all ages. He comes across as a bit shy, but I’d describe him as an old head on a young body,” she finished.

For draw information and results – click here.

Volleyslam 2024 is supported by Experience Gold Coast and the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland.

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