Spotlight - Royal Richardson

LANGLEY, British Columbia - Trinity Western’s Royal Richardson is as physically-gifted as they come.

Growing up in the small town of Rocky Mountain House, Alta., it was sports of all types that kept her schedule booked and busy.  

“I played competitive baseball all the way till grade 11,” Richardson said. “I also was involved in track, basketball, badminton, and even a little bit of handball.”

Now, in her third year at Trinity Western, the 6-foot-2 Richardson has become a key starter for the national-contending Spartans, and it’s that innate athleticism that has helped turn her into one of the most dangerous outside hitters in the CIS.

But while Richardson is biologically gifted with a strong body, her success is predicated on much more than just her natural abilities. It’s her ever-present work ethic and dedication that has built her into an elite player.

For Richardson, dedication meant living in Rocky Mountain House, but going to school and playing volleyball approximately an hour and a half away, in Red Deer, Alta. It was in Red Deer where she discovered volleyball and began to play for Red Deer’s Queen’s Volleyball Club. For three years she played with Queen’s and, while there, became attached to the sport.

However, prior to her 18U year of club volleyball, Richardson made the decision to switch teams.

“I needed to be pushed and surrounded by better players,” Richardson. “I needed an opportunity to grow as a player and compete at a higher level.”

The crazy part: she switched to a team in Calgary, which meant two more hours of driving each way. Richardson would go to school in the morning, attend classes, and from there, head into Calgary three to four times per week for two hour practices.

It was Richardson’s parents who would drive her to and from Calgary, allowing her seven hours of car time to think, do homework, and most importantly, read.

“Most of the time I would read books and work on homework,” Richardson said. “I love to read, and am a fan of many genres. Action and historical fiction novels have to be at the top of my list.”

The long drives, full of reading and quiet looks out the window seemed to have play a role in who she is and how she conducts herself away from the court.

“Royal has a quietness about her,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “If she is in a book, you may not hear from her for two hours on a road trip. Yet, she has a heart for people.”

Ever since coming to Trinity Western, Richardson has been involved in coaching with the Fraser Valley Volleyball Club.

“She loves to spend time with the girls,” Hofer said. “She loves investing in their lives and it is something she is very passionate about. It is amazing to see her give back to the community in such a way.”

But while she may enjoy her quiet solitude off the court, get her on the court and she is one passionate and focused individual.

“I make sure that I am putting my best effort into every practice and take advantage of every rep that I can get,” said Richardson, who celebrates big plays as exuberantly as anyone on the Spartans. “But it has been the support of my teammates, and the encouragement and accountability that I receive from them that has allowed me to progress.”

What standouts about the quiet and humble Richardson is her work ethic off the court and dedication to the weight room.

“Power, this is the word that first comes to mind,” says Hofer. “Here is an athlete who not only hits the ball hard, but is quick, jumps wells, and is extremely explosive.”

Richardson has taken it upon herself to be disciplined in the weight room, and has come to enjoy doing it. This passion for strength and conditioning has also developed into a future career path.

She is currently studying in the Human Kinetics department, with hopes to one day be involved in physiotherapy. As for now, she finds herself as a part of the Spartan Athletics Strength team, coaching fellow athletes in an area which she has accumulated great knowledge and experience.

“I love working out,” says Richardson. “From my first year to now, I can feel the strength in my body and I know that it has allowed me to get to a new level in my volleyball career, one that would not have been possible without it.”

But don’t expect her to be in physiotherapy immediately upon graduation. Richardson has a plan for volleyball beyond her post-secondary play; a goal in which she took huge steps towards this past summer. With the hope of eventually becoming a professional volleyball player overseas, Richardson put herself on the national volleyball map by making the Canadian National Senior ‘B’ team. She trained with the team for over a month in Winnipeg, Man., where life was literally: eat, sleep, volleyball, and repeat.

“I really enjoyed my time this summer,” Richardson said. “After the morning practice it was hard to believe that I still had another training session later in the day, but it was a lifestyle I liked, and it definitely pushed me in many ways.”

Following the summer, Richardson returned to TWU for her third year a much more developed player.

Her strong play throughout the first semester was highlighted by a 13-kill performance against the No. 1 ranked UBC in the Spartans home-opener. Her greatest improvements have been noticed in her passing and defensive game, as she has become a stable and gifted player in the back row.

The Spartans will need to utilize Richardson in the second semester, as she will play an important role in the success of this year’s team; a group that is aiming to win their first ever CIS national championship.

Along the way, you can expect the same from Richardson day in and day out. Humble, quite, and hard-working. She is determined to make an impact. 

-JO-

Last Updated: 2013-01-10
Author: Jarrod Offereins