Keep­ing mind of the de­fense

Shearstown vol­ley­baller named to un­der-17 provin­cal squad

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Nick Deer­ing knew he had de­fi­cien­cies in his game lead­ing into the 2015-2016 vol­ley­ball sea­son.

The soon-to-be 16-year-old from Shearstown was OK on the of­fen­sive end, but he was aware enough to know where he needed to get bet­ter on the other side of the ball. It’s a rare trait for a young ath­lete to have.

Some­times, they get caught do­ing what they do well but fail­ing to work on the other parts of the game. Not Deer­ing.

He had eyes on be­com­ing a bet­ter all-around vol­ley­ball player prior to try­ing out for the New­found­land and Labrador un­der-17 pro­vin­cial team. Us­ing this sea­son with the As­cen­sion Col­le­giate Astros, Deer­ing got to work. He spent hours on YouTube stream­ing coach­ing clips, along with time spent in the gym work­ing on con­trol­ling his de­fen­sive bump­ing and block­ing.

“I’m try­ing to be an al­laround player,” Deer­ing told The Com­pass last week. “The work paid off enor­mously for me. My de­fen­sive game was a nice bit ahead of where it was.”

Last month, Deer­ing was one of two play­ers from As­cen­sion named to the squad. The other is Dy­lan Mug­ford.

Deer­ing and Team NL are in St. John’s for this year’s East­ern Elite Cham­pi­onships July 29-30, where they’ll square off with some of the best tal­ent in the At­lantic Prov­inces. It’ll be his sec­ond go-around with the pro­vin­cial team.

Last year, he was a mem­ber of the un­der-15 team.

“I can’t wait for the tour­na­ment to start,” said Deer­ing.” It was a chal­lenge to make the team.”

A nat­u­ral ap­proach

Deer­ing feel into the sport of vol­ley­ball. He didn’t try out for any teams un­til half­way through his Grade 7 year at Amal­ga­mated Academy in Bay Roberts.

Even then, he had to be asked by the coach to come by and try the sport out. Turns out, it was the right de­ci­sion to make for the young­ster.

The sport was an easy pickup for the six-foot-three-inch ath­lete.

“It came flu­ently to me,” said Deer­ing. “It helped that my mom and pop played it when they were young.

“They’ve sup­ported me all of the way through.”

Get­ting the email

Deer­ing re­ceived elec­tronic no­ti­fi­ca­tion of his selection to the team last month.

It was some­thing he was ner­vous about since try­outs had ended. See­ing the email pop up in his in­box just raised the anx­i­ety level.

That was all abated when he opened the at­tach­ment and found his name

“It felt amaz­ing to get the email,” he said. “It was nerve wrack­ing wait­ing for it.”

The New­found­land team will be di­vided into two squads for the com­pe­ti­tion. The play­ers won’t know who they’re lin­ing up with un­til af­ter their first re-group and train­ing ses­sion in July.

Af­ter that, they’ll be di­vided and prac­tice with their new unit. Deer­ing doesn’t have a pref­er­ence of team, but there is some­thing he’d like to see hap­pen.

He’d love the chance to line up on the same team with fel­low As­cen­sion Col­le­giate player Mug­ford, who plays the left side.

“It’ll be a ma­jor boost to team chem­istry,” Deer­ing said of play­ing with Mug­ford. “It’d be amaz­ing to play on the same team as him. It’s what I’m hop­ing for.”

NI­CHOLAS MERCER/THE COM­PASS

Shearstown’s Nick Deer­ing is one of two lo­cal play­ers to make the pro­vin­cial un­der-17 vol­ley­ball team.

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