How many feet does a perch have?

Sitting volleyball : Better without legs

Steffen Barsch is happy. The 51-year-old defeated the guests from Magdeburg 2: 0 (25:15, 25: 9) with the sitting volleyball players of the SCC Berlin. However, the SCC players do not want to rest on their clear success in the first round of the German championship. "From time to time we could have been even faster," sums up Barsch. In any case, it wasn't difficult for the Berliners. The Magdeburgers not only failed many passes, but also numerous serves. However, neither team lacked in motivation. Cheers echoed again and again through the Max-Schmeling-Halle, if there was a point for your own side.

And anyone who thinks sitting volleyball is a rigid sport in which the players hardly move is wrong. With full physical effort, the athletes jump for the ball and often smash it back at the opponent with full force. They use their arms as supports to slide across the field, mostly on their buttocks. More ambitious players sometimes throw themselves on their backs to get the ball. "The legs are often used as a balance to get up again," says Michael Merten, trainer at SCC Berlin.

What is special about sitting volleyball, however, is that the sport is equally suitable for people with and without disabilities - which is why the teams are also mixed. Mertens cannot determine a disadvantage if a player still has both legs. However - as stupid as it may sound - legs or lower legs could sometimes be in the way because you can slide better on your rear without them. "At the national level, up to two players from a team without disabilities are allowed to play," explains Merten, who is also the coach of the German national team.

Semi-final against BSV Rhineland-Palatinate

Sitting volleyball is also included for other reasons: "The age difference between our youngest and the oldest player is around 40 years," says Merten. There is no age limit. Women and men also play in the same team.

The main differences to volleyball are the somewhat smaller playing field and the low hanging net (1.15 meters instead of 2.43 meters above the ground). In addition, the serve can be blocked, which is forbidden in volleyball. Perch, which lacks a lower leg, has advantages with its 1.84 meters. In sitting volleyball, the trunk must always be in contact with the ground when touching the ball. Leaning on your legs so that your bottom floats in the air and your arms reach further is not permitted. So it depends a lot on body size and arm length.

He has already proven several times that the size benefits perch. The number 10 of the SCC has been playing sitting volleyball since 1987, he is multiple vice European champion, German champion (2006) and bronze winner of the Paralympic Games (1992 in Barcelona). In the meantime, Barsch no longer trains for the Paralympics, but he is still active with heart and soul for the SCC. "With a lot of effort we can perhaps defeat the reigning German champions Leverkusen," says Barsch. The people of Leverkusen are the ultimate in sitting volleyball.

The next task of the Berliners is called BSV Rhineland-Palatinate. The SCC will play against the BSV this Sunday from 9 a.m. in the Max-Schmeling-Halle to reach the final of the German championship.

In the afternoon, Katrin Holtwick, the former vice European champion in beach volleyball, will then award the medals - and maybe smash a few more balls over the net while sitting. “After my active career, I was invited to training,” she says. Now Holtwick trains with the Berliners once a week. “It's still exciting to think your way into a completely different game,” she says.

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