DILLON Jerry – GBR (PVE)
Jerry started playing volleyball in 1981 when he was approached by the GB National volleyball coach at Stoke Mandeville Sports Centre in England, which is where the British Amputee Sports Association held their national games. The GB coach asked him if I would be interested in joining some training sessions with the GB Volleyball team, which he did and quickly fell in love with Volleyball. He felt it was a dynamic and exciting team sport, which fitted his own sporting profile. He took up Volleyball over many other sports he could have taken part in. He found Volleyball to be high tempo with a high level of skill required to play. He needed to be very fit to play, as many of the matches lasted a long period of time with many over five sets
In the early years, it was Pete Pina-Rosa who had the greatest influence on him, he was an above knee amputee and was the GB team setter at the time. Further into his career, it was the GB volleyball coach Jim McKenna who inspired him with his eye for detail and the way he could break down a volleyball drill, which allowed him to understand the mechanics of what was required to improve his skill levels. As well as improving his physical playing, he also taught him the importance of the psychological side and developing a good mindset. He still uses many of the psychological tips and tricks that he taught. Also, there was GB Volleyball Manager, Gordon Black, whom he learnt other general life skills from, both in general life and working in teams.
He had the great pleasure and honour to represent Great Britain over one hundred times in Standing Volleyball competitions as the teams Joint Setter and as an attacking player covering Paralympic Games, European and World Championships.
He represented Great Britain at four Paralympics games in Standing Volleyball:
1984 New York, USA Paralympics
1988 Soul, Korea Paralympics
1992 Barcelona, Span Paralympics
1996 Atlanta, USA Paralympics
In between the Paralympics, he also represented GB at numerous World and European Standing Volleyball competitions from 1981 until his final international competition, which was at the Pan-AM Open in Montreal Canada in 1999. He represented Great Britain in the following international tournaments:
1985 Norway – European and World Championships
1986 Israel – World Championships
1987 France – European Championships
1989 Poland – European Championships
1989 USA – World Championships – Bronze Medal
1990 France – World Championships
1991 Great Britain – European Championships
1993 France – European Championships
1994 Slovakia – European Cup
1995 Poland – European Open Championships
1998 Poland – World Championships
1999 Canada – Pan-AM Open
In addition to the above international tournaments, he also represented Great Britain in a number of friendly international standing volleyball matches against France, Slovakia, Czechoslovakia and the USA.
The Great Britain Standing Volleyball team also played in National volleyball tournaments every year against able-bodied volleyball teams at various indoor and outdoor tournaments in the UK. This was not only in preparation for up-and-coming international events, but also as a showcase to demonstrate their skill to able-bodied teams and the general public who watched the matches. This showed what the GB disabled volleyball team could and did achieve and, in many cases, they beat able-bodied volleyball teams. Along with representing GB in National and International competitions, he also played able-bodied volleyball for a number of Local and National volleyball teams.
He currently uses his experience of his Volleyball days to regularly give motivational talks and lectures to schools, businesses, after dinner talks and individual organisations about his experiences of competing in the Paralympics and representing GB in the other international competitions.
During these talks and lectures, he speaks about his life as an amputee and about his life as an international Standing Volleyball player. This has been a great source of inspiration, not only to himself, but also to the students and people he has met as he has been asked regularly to do follow-up talks.
These talks gave him the opportunity to answer questions people may have, not only related to disabled volleyball, but also allow an opportunity to break down misconceptions of what disabled people think and feel about life in general and how together, gain a better understanding and knowledge of what disabled people can achieve in sport. He hopes this may break down barriers for disabled people to also seek to achieve their goals and aspirations in their own lives outside sport and in society in general. He takes to the talks his various day to day and sports legs so they can see and feel the latest high-tech prosthetic legs first-hand.
As well as playing from 1981-1999, he worked in the field of Administration (Governance) from 1985-1998 as a Committee Member and eventually Vice-Chairman of the British Amputee Sports Association. He was head of the delegation at the Youth Disabled Games in Miami in 1989.
Best GB Young player at the 1984 Paralympics.
World ParaVolley Standing Volleyball Recognition Award 2021.
Widely recognised as one of the world’s best standing volleyball players who has a joint disability, as he is an above knee amputee and only has a thumb on his right hand.