A person’s past may not always define who he or she becomes, but for Dmitriy Vdovin, his career as a professional volleyball player landed him a job in Dubai. The two-meter-tall former member of the Ukrainian National team is today the coach of the American University in Dubai.
“I started playing for the Youth National team of Ukraine at the age of 17, and as I got older I moved to the Junior National team and later on to the National team,” said the 36-year-old coach, as he recalls his past as a professional player.
When Coach Dmitriy was six-years-old his father taught him how to play volleyball. He started attending volleyball classes at 12 years in a sports school in his home town Kiev, Ukraine.
“When I was around 19-years-old I thought I would never be a coach, but then with time I discovered that I liked to help younger, less experienced and less skilled players learn new things and watch them improve,” Coach Dmitriy said.
Coach Dmitriy then attended the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (International Volleyball Federation) course in Abu Dhabi, and went on to the U.S. to attend another course with the American Volleyball Association in Lexington, Kentucky.
“I decided to try to become a coach and luckily I found out that AUD is looking for a volleyball coach for both the men’s and women’s teams and I took that opportunity,” Coach Dmitriy said.
Alongside his coaching job at AUD, Coach Dmitriy is playing for the Al Wahda Sports Club’s volleyball team in Abu Dhabi. This is not the first time he has played for a volleyball team based in the U.A.E.; his first time was 12 years ago in 2007 when he played for Al Nasr club in Dubai.
“I was playing in championships in Russia, France, Greece, Poland, Turkey, Qatar, Bahrain and of course the U.A.E. as a professional foreign player,” Coach Dmitriy said. “When I played for Al Nasr Club, I have very good memories about that time, because we had a great team and we won the championship of the U.A.E.”
Coach Dmitriy says his current experience as a player in Al Wahda Sports Club and a coach at AUD is very beneficial `because he has a chance to practice and learn new skills as a player which he can then apply to his knowledge as a coach.
“Coming from a league in Dubai, I was more focused on game-play rather than technique,” Yara El Zein, a freshman on sports scholarship said. “When I came to AUD, Coach Dmitriy focused on specific techniques which made me a better player.”
“When I was in high school, I used to play in the volleyball varsity team, and we would practice once a week and our coach didn’t really show us the proper techniques,” Asal Alavi, a freshman student said. “Since I joined AUD and joined the team, Coach Dmitriy has improved my volleyball skills because he cares about us and he goes to each one of us to explain our errors and how not to repeat them.”