Danielle Ellis (left) played in a recent Pan Am sitting volleyball tournament. (Farah Halloum/Defi Sportif AlterGo)

Paralympic volleyball player training for worlds

Langley’s Danielle Ellis is back from the Pan American zone games.

Playing volleyball can be a strenuous workout, but playing volleyball from a seated position gives it a whole other level of difficulty.

Langley’s Danielle Ellis recently competed with Team Canada at the 2017 ParaVolley Pan American Zone Sitting Volleyball Championships, which wrapped up Oct. 29.

The team was disappointed to take just bronze in the three-game tourney, but that is good enough to get them a berth into the World ParaVolley championships to be held next year in the Netherlands.

Ellis is a 2016 Paralympian and was one of the founding members of Canada’s national sitting volleyball team back in 2008.

After a break from 2012 to last year to finish school, she was invited to rejoin the team and has been training and competing hard.

Sitting volleyball is a tough game involving using hands and legs to move around without walking or standing.

“You are sitting on your butt, so it does take a bit more effort,” Ellis said.

Originally from White Rock and a Semiahmoo Secondary grad, Ellis never even heard of sitting volleyball until she was 16 years old and attended a volleyball camp at Trinity Western University.

She was put in touch with the Canadian team just as the Paralympics moved to sitting volleyball. From there, Ellis has competed at ever level, including the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.

“I’ve been playing volleyball since I was about 10,” she said.

But the sitting variety, she said, is quite different.

“Sitting volleyball is so much quicker, and you need so much more power and technique,” Ellis said.

The court is smaller, just five by six meters. Players must keep their torso in contact with the floor while playing the ball.

Every rally wins a point.

With their berth in the worlds assured, much of Ellis’s next few months will be consumed with training. She regularly trains with Langley’s other team member, Tessa Popoff and with Burnaby’s Felicia Voss-Shafiq.

She’s hoping that next May some sitting volleyball games could take place as part of the Canadian youth nationals in Edmonton.

But the big goal is to be ready for the 2018 worlds in the Netherlands.

When she’s not playing or training, Ellis’ day job is also high-intensity. She’s a BC Emergency Health Services dispatcher.

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