This article first appeared in BTS Issue 2.
Meet Kingsley Tay, national beach volleyball player, SUTD’s pride in the World University Championship, President of SUTD volleyball club and sophomore from the Engineering Systems and Design (ESD) pillar.
BTS: How did you pick up volleyball?
I was first introduced to volleyball by my eldest sister during primary school. It used to be one of our daily bonding activities.
How did you make it to the national team?
In 2014 when I was a student at Temasek Polytechnic, I was scouted by the assistant coach of the national indoor volleyball team and eventually represented Singapore in the 2015 SEA Games. Earlier this year, I made the decision to switch to beach volleyball and represented both Singapore and SUTD in the World University Championship (WUC).
What do you enjoy most about volleyball?
The teamwork. Volleyball is a sport that requires communication and strategic orgainisation to counter both offensive and defensive play. This can’t be accomplished by an individual, and needs the effort of an entire team. There will always be ups and downs in a match and when the team morale is low, motivation and encouragement from fellow teammates are essential.
And the best part about it? It is when through perseverance, trust and hope, the team manages to turn tough situations around. Volleyball teaches me so much more than just passing, setting and spiking; it has taught me life lessons about teamwork and leadership, which could be applied on and off court.
How was your preparation for the WUC games?
It was awesome! I managed to train under a coach from Netherlands, as well as a WUC team that finished fifth.. The experience allowed me to gain greater insights about the sport.
On top of that, I believe in maximising the potential of my game in various ways. Apart from the physical training such as hitting the gym and ball training, I spent a lot of time watching videos of elite-level athletes. I was also constantly devising new ways to work towards the goals I set for myself.
How do you juggle between training, the games and school?
With a training schedule of at least six sessions weekly, it is definitely a struggle with very limited time for my studies. However, I realise the importance to work around that and to capitalise on whatever remaining time I have.
Therefore, I always make sure I stay focused in class, listen attentively and clear all doubts during lessons so that revision for exams would be easier.
What have you gained from this experience at WUC?
It was an amazing experience and definitely an honour to be able to don the Singapore flag on my chest and represent SUTD in such a prestigious competition. I managed to make heaps of new friends and learnt more about new cultures along the way. I am also able to incorporate various training methods from different teams to further excel in the sport. Presently, I’m really motivated and looking forward to participating in WUC 2019 in Spain.
SUTD has been a great support throughout this journey.