A youth worker who became the driving force behind the growth of volleyball in South Holland is to hang up his kit after 25 years.
Tim Barzycki, founder and coach of Spalding Saracens, is putting the world of aces, blocks and digs behind him after a career which saw him presented with a Torch Trophy rust award for services to the sport.
The future direction of Saracens will be guided by Tim’s successor, Dan Barrass, who admitted to having “big boots to fill” after his mentor’s transformational effect in making volleyball an established part of the South Holland sporting landscape.
Tim said: “I’ve not played for a while because of various ailments and so my body is telling me it’s time to walk away.
“Volleyball is something I’m passionate about and I’ve been a coach in Spalding for 23 years, making it much bigger now than it was and providing a much greater opportunity to get involved wherever you live in South Holland.”
Born in South Yorkshire, Tim moved to Spalding in 1990 and got involved in an already-established volleyball club at Castle Sports Complex.
Tim gained his Level One coaching certificate in 1993 and moved up to Level Two a year later after he became a Grade Four qualified referee.
“Volleyball was always something that I was interested in but alongside that, I was working for Lincolnshire Youth Services and taking the things I was learning in the sport to youngsters.
“I grabbed as many young people as I could and introduced them to the game, resulting in an under-16 girls team reaching a national tournament and success of boys and girls at under-11 and under-12 levels respectively.
“We’ve had some really good games between Saracens and Spalding Volleyball Club in the Lincolnshire Volleyball Association League, but it’s more the fact of how the youngsters have developed, gone off to university and then come back to play volleyball that has pleased me the most.”
It’s quite an honour to take over as coach from Tim and his are going to be big boots to fill, but I’ll try my best.Dan Barrass, new coach of Spalding Saracens volleyball team
After setting up Saracens Junior Volleyball in 2000, Tim saw the club become the first one in the country to gain the prestigious Clubmark Award in 2004 and 2008, given by Sport England to clubs and organisations committed to increasing participation and development in its chosen sport.
Saracens also won Lincolnshire Sports Partnership’s Community Club of the Year award in 2004 and in 2005, Tim was runner-up in the Community Coach of the Year Award along with Brendan Taylor who was runner-up for the Young Volunteer Award.
Dan said: “I joined Saracens about 13 or 14 years ago when there wasn’t a junior section and I was put up against players twice the size of me.
“It’s quite an honour to take over as coach from Tim because I remember when he and ex-coach Bill Brockie were coaching the team before Tim took over on his own.
“Even though members from Spalding Volleyball Club will be coming down to help me now that Tim’s stepped down, it’s going to be big boots to fill but I’ll try my best.”
Saracens club member Harrison Hill (18) of Spalding said: “I started when I was ten and with Tim’s guidance, I got to play for the East Midlands team and national youth squad.
“Tim’s been a really good coach, very inspirational and wanting me to get better and better.”
Josie Periam (14), Saracens’ youngest player, said: “My mum played volleyball for her regional team in the Netherlands so when she found out there was a team in Spalding, she brought me along and I loved it.
“Tim has given me specific advice on my game and when I’ve done something well, he’s said so to me.”