Rachel Tam is a Leading Example of an Exceptional Athlete and a Hardworking StudentSeptember 18, 2015
An article of Rachel Tam on SCMP - http://yp.scmp.com/news/sports/article/98673/st-catherines-girl-volleyball-isnt-just-casual-ball-game
Many people think of volleyball as a fun, leisurely game to play on the beach in the sun. Gently popping the ball over the net is a great way to relax.
But not for Rachel Tam Hin-ching. This 17-year-old student at St Catharine's School for Girls competes in both volleyball and beach volleyball. She was also a member of the Hong Kong Volleyball Youth Team competing in the 10th Asian Girls' U17 Championship last year in Thailand, where they came ninth.
Rachel has been playing volleyball for five years, and beach volleyball for four.
"My mum used to play volleyball when she was young," Rachel says. "She inspired me to get involved in the sport."
But as Rachel became more competitive as an athlete, she found there was more to the sport than just carrying on a family tradition.
"The hardest part is trying to find a balance between academics and sport," she says. "I think it is the biggest challenge for student athletes in Hong Kong."
But it's the sacrifice that student athletes must make if they want to become professionals.
"Undoubtedly, the more time and effort you put into your sport, the more skilful you will be," Rachel adds.
This is why good time management is an essential skill for successful student athletes, especially in a city like Hong Kong, where everyone is so focused in on grades and academic results.
Rachel has her sights set on playing professionally in America or Europe, and she's expecting to get several sports scholarships at universities in the US next year.
All of this of course stems from a love of the sport.
"Volleyball and beach volleyball are all about team work and I love the team spirit that comes with them," Rachel explains.
"It enhances the relationship between teammates, and it strengthens my leadership and communication skills."
But the camaraderie isn't the only benefit of playing competitively as a student athlete. "As we sometimes go overseas for competition or training, it also provides the opportunity to broaden my horizons and make new friends," she says.
Rachel adds that these experiences teach her new things about life, and have given her some incredible experiences she wouldn't have had otherwise.
What song best describes you when you're playing volleyball?
Rather Be [by Clean Bandit]. My favourite line is: "If you gave me a chance I would take it / It's a shot in the dark but I'll make it. " I always listen to this song before a competition to get myself buzzing!
You can have any superpower you choose for 24 hours. What do you choose and how do you use this power?
It would be not having to sleep so I would have more time for training and coping with my homework.
If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be and why?
Energy. Playing volleyball is really tiring, when you're playing competitively anyway. If I could have an unlimited supply of energy, I would always be on my A-game, no matter how long I played for.
Imagine you are a famous athlete. What company do you sign-on as spokesperson for, and what product do you promote?
Under Armour. Their dry-fit range is awesome. Or 2XU. Their compression tights are really good for recovery. They are really useful in reducing my muscle soreness after intensive training.
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