Name: Ronald Dunn
High School (Graduation Year): Collingswood Senior High School (2011)
High School Club Team: No Club
College Career (Graduation Year): Kean University (2015)
College Accolades: 1st team all conference, 2nd team all conference, Skyline Conference Student-Athlete of the year
Major: STEM, with focus in mathematics
Professional Volleyball Career: Team Freedom
What made you choose volleyball? No Clue! I was a 5’3 freshman, and when spring sports season rolled around I just said, yeah I am gonna play volleyball. After a truly embarrassing state playoff loss my sophomore year (5’8 by then) I texted my coach, Joe Gillespie, saying essentially that I bought in to volleyball and was ready to put real work into becoming a better player.
I walked on in college, and in hindsight, one of the things I am most glad about is Kean NOT having a swim team. I had swam competitively my entire life and would likely have joined a team if there had been one. I enjoy volleyball as a game and as a community SO much more than I ever liked swimming. I liked swimming because I was good at it, but I liked volleyball so much I wanted to get good at it.
What is your advice to high school players in general? I personally recommend playing at least two sports (3 ideally). There are clear benefits from specializing and playing club but in the long term I think there is a lot to be gained from playing multiple sports at the varsity level. Especially when you are not a genetic stud, different sports provide totally novel struggles to go through and challenges to meet.
Another thing I would say is start utilizing strength training, whether through weights or calisthenics, as soon as you can. Bigger Faster Stronger is no joke, it will help you in everything.
Advice to the guys who play your position? Film. Watch film often. And don’t just watch the good plays and don’t watch any play only once. Every play should be watched AT LEAST 10-12 times to give you a chance to see how you move/react but also to see how your teammates move/react.
The correct set is NOT always the right set. Learn, through discussion and practice, how to spot the right HITTER, and get them the ball. Also, REALLY GOOD vanilla is way better than mediocre Rocky Road.
If you could give tips to high school players on the following skills, what would you say?
It’s just digging from far away. Yet it is still very hard. Practice it as much as you can (setters too).
Defense – Don’t look at the ball, it has no brains. Look at the hitter, they have brains.
DO NOT close your eyes.
Figure out what role you want to have at the service line, and stick with it.