The GSU (Graduate Students' Union) gym at the University of Toronto is this tiny little gym, which from the outside totally does not look like a gym. The bar and patio in the front doesn't help its case either. The gym is at best, about 1 foot larger than the volleyball court, which is suspected to be smaller than the regulation 9m x 9m. The roof is also rather low and the low hanging lights are annoying. In the winter, the gym is freezing and in the summer it's boiling. In the summer, right when you step into the gym/sauna, you immediately start sweating. It's a bad sign when it's over 30 degrees and you go outside to cool off! There's no air conditioning and the windows don't open, but at least the doors do. People sweat up a serious storm in the summer. I'm very surprised that no one has collapsed b/c of heat stroke. Despite all this, there is some very good volleyball that happens in that gym. Plus, you can book the gym and it's free even to non-students.
With the small dimensions of the gym, some interesting things happen. Really good hitters will hit the ball so hard that the ball will bounce off the ground, hit the back wall, and bounce back over the net! It's an impressive sight to see. Mike and I have a competition to see who can do it first :)
2 weeks ago, my league game was cancelled due to the "winter storm", so Mike and I went to practice some hitting. Mike brought his camera to tape us to see how we can improve. I've actually wanted to do that for a while so I can analyze my technique. I got close to winning the competition by getting the ball to hit off the wall and hitting the top of the net. I was quite pleased with my hitting as I was much more consistent. I really only started hitting about 1.5 - 2 years ago playing pick-up. I don't think I was getting the ball to really bounce off the floor until pick-up at the Pro Club in Seattle in Fall 2005.
The competition ended yesterday. We had the gym booked to just play around and we and a bunch of people were hitting for basically the full hour. Unfortunately, we don't have any video proof. Mike and I both managed to get the ball to come back over the net. Mike technically won by like 15 min., though I question if the ball was actually in or not (it bounced rather close to the wall). I managed to do it twice I think, so I know it wasn't a complete fluke. We both used the slightly overly pumped ball to accomplish the feat, which definitely helped us. My new goal is to be able to do it more consistently (as opposed to 1 out of 50) and with a regular ball. I also want to hit down more, like the attack line :)