Gehl Learns From Beach Game

Dawson Gehl - Volleyball

Dawson Gehl competing in beach volleyball at the 2014 Ontario Summer Games – Contributed Photo

Ask any volleyball player, beach volleyball is a different game from its hard court counterpart. For Chatham’s Dawson Gehl, he’s spent a summer on the beach, and is ready to get back on the hard court this Fall.

Gehl, who plays for the Chatham Ballhawks, and the Ursuline College Lancers, where he’s entering grade 11, participated in the Ontario Winter and Summer Games for both indoor and beach volleyball in the past year. The experience he gained from those combined experiences, is something he says has taught him a lot.

“Participating in the Ontario Winter and Summer Games have both been amazing experiences,” says Gehl. “It’s great to meet people from all across Ontario and play with guys from all over Region 3. I’ve learned so much from all of my coaches and teammates, and I’ve become such a better player and teammate because of it.”

Although beach and indoor volleyball are different, most specifically, with beach featuring only two players, while indoor has six players on the court, the skills used in the beach game will help Gehl this Fall and Winter indoors.

“Having only 2 players on the court puts a lot more pressure on each individual to make smart plays,” says Gehl. “Especially with the wind factor, beach volleyball really develops my passing skill for indoor because a tough float serve can shift the direction of the ball right before the contact. Also, having deep sand can affect my jumping abilities in beach, but increases my vertical and leg strength for indoor.”

Playing with his beach partner Amandeep Sehmbi of Windsor at the Ontario Summer games this year, Gehl finished 9th in the competition. With summer winding down, Gehl will miss the beach game, most notably the speed of the game.

“What I love about beach volleyball is the speed of the game,” says Gehl. “It requires plenty of hustle, and split second decisions that can win or lose you the game. Especially for myself being the defensive partner, where I have to dive all across the court to dig a ball and continue the rally.”

Gehl won a silver medal with the Region 3 team, which also featured Chatham volleyball players Trevor Everitt and Pierce Johnson at the 2014 Ontario Winter Games. He’ll look to add to his hardware collection again this winter as the club and high school seasons begin.

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