Driving into Canterbury you may be surprised by the unusual site of the sandy beach volleyball courts at The Canterbury Academy. This is home to Invicta Volleyball Club, founded by Luke Thomas and Andrey Abadzhiev in 2018, offering volleyball and beach volleyball coaching to players at all levels. 

I took the opportunity to speak with Luke, who is currently the director of the club and Head Coach of the Men’s National Volleyball League team, and also provides support to other coaches in the club. Luke’s inspiration for becoming a coach came from his drive to take volleyball to a higher level than was currently available to players in the UK at the time, and what motivates him most is working with players in training and seeing them improve their technique.

Luke’s dedication to the sport is evident in the recent successes of the Club: five club players have gone on to represent England at U17 and U19 level, the Women’s team won the Kent League and Cup Double in 2022, the Men’s team have joined the National Volleyball League and the Junior teams have competed in Tier 1 of the National Championships. There has also been lots of success on the beach, with players going on to play at international level and the Club hosting UKBT 3 Star events in Canterbury.

I asked Luke what skills were required to play volleyball and what the benefits of playing volleyball were, and in his opinion “It requires great teamwork to play well. It’s a good way to get and stay fit, is low risk in terms of injury and doesn’t require lots of specialist equipment, making it affordable to access.”

Luke is very passionate about promoting volleyball and believes that better media coverage of the sport and better representation of volleyball as a professional spectator sport are key to attracting new talent and increasing the profile of the sport.

Finally, I asked Luke what advice he would give to any aspiring volleyball players, and his response was “Commit to the team and practice, practice, practice!”. 

So if you fancy giving this spectacular sport a try, and get fit whilst having fun, why not take a look at the club’s website www.invictavolleyball.com or check out their Facebook and Instagram to register your interest – who knows, you may find yourself scoring the next winning spike at a volleyball court near you!