Beach Volleyball Star Dearing to Head up Brampton Pakmen
By DAVID WINER
Professional athlete Daniel Dearing recalls, with much gratification, when his beach volleyball career began to take shape.
A multi-sport athlete at Etobicoke’s North Albion Collegiate Institute, Dearing’s focus bounced from one team to the next until he “fell in love with volleyball.”
That fondness for the sport, and the hunger to improve, compelled Dearing to join the Mississauga Pakmen Volleyball Club, where his career truly began to soar.
“I felt right at home (with the Pakmen), said the 26-year-old, who has ranked as high as third in Canada in beach play with partner Garrett May. “All the players and coaches who were a part of Pakmen gave off such contagious energy, happiness and skill. It seemed like the absolute perfect environment for me.
“So, I decided to join Pakmen my final year of club volleyball. And, it was the best decision I made in my volleyball career. I grew the most as a player, and most importantly, as a person that season. It led me to an 18U National Championship and a university scholarship, which helped me become a current professional national beach volleyball player.”
Dearing hopes to impart his love for the game and his skill set on youngsters this fall, when Pakmen opens a club in Brampton at the newly constructed Aylesbury Public School at 25 Aylesbury Drive.
Dearing is heading up all the programs, scheduled for Saturdays from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Thursdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
And with only 10-15 athletes currently enrolled in each program, Dearing suggests there’s never been a better opportunity to receive hands-on instruction from some of this province’s brightest and most talented instructors.
“All programs offer different types of skill levels based on the age and grade of the athletes,” explained Dearing. “The youngest being our Spikes program, ages 5-9, and eldest being up to Grade 8.”
And, as the programs fill up, Dearing says more coaches from the famed Pakmen club will be added to lend support.
“The number of coaches will be based on the number of athletes and what our programs offer,” said Dearing. “(And the program) will fill with more athletes when people hear about us.”
The rest of the country has certainly heard of the Pakmen. Winners of 58 Provincial and 26 National indoor and beach titles since it was founded in 2002 by founder and club president Kelly Smith, it’s the lone club in the GTA to be accredited with both the Ontario Volleyball Association and Volleyball Canada.
“We are Canada’s largest and most diverse youth volleyball club, with players and staff from all socio-economic, ethnic and cultural groups, as well as players and staff with special needs,” says Smith, whose club draws athletes from Etobicoke, Brampton, Milton, Oakville, and further afield.
Smith adds the club’s mission is, “To offer innovative and high quality volleyball programs for youth of all skill levels. To reach out to those who traditionally do not play volleyball at the club level by eliminating cultural, economic and social barriers to ensure the maximum number of youth can enjoy the game.
“Our Vision is to be the most inclusive, player-focused, and successful volleyball club in the world.”
Dearing bought into the club’s vision years ago, and is confident he can instill the energy and fun in Brampton’s youngsters, so that they too will share the same vision.
“The strength I have that will make this new location successful is my experience as a coach and as a player,” said the towering 6-foot-6 Dearing, who calls neighboring Georgetown his home. “I’ve been coaching kids from ages 5-17 for 10 years. I have been with Pakmen for eight of them. I have all the experience needed to run organized, fun, high-energy learning environments for all athletes.”
And with the groups at Pakmen Brampton so small, Dearing looks forward to working with each and every youngster.
“I believe the strength of a coach is adaptation and patience,” said Dearing.
“Each and every athlete, no matter what skill or age, can be reached in different ways for them to grow at the sport. Some athletes learn faster, some slower. It’s all about finding positive, innovative ways to get the best out of each athlete.”
And, as a member of Canada’s 2016 Beach Volleyball National Team, along with James Battiston, Josh Binstock, Aaron Nusbaum, Grant O’Gorman, Samuel Pedlow, Mike Plantinga, Ben Saxton, Sam Schachter, Chaim Schalk, Cameron Wheelan and May, the versatile Dearing, who is equally adept at being an outside hitter and libero, looks forward to sharing his experiences and expertise with those just starting out on their journey.
As for his future in the professional world of beach play, Dearing says he will take the year off to concentrate on coaching and letting his body heal from assorted injuries, before “reassessing my decision for the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.”
As well as instructional programs, Pakmen will also host leagues for Grades 5-6 and Grades 7-8 boys and girls on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8 p.m. at David Suzuki Secondary School (45 Daviselm Drive) and Ingleborough Public School (60 Ingleborough Drive).
To participate in any of the programs, or leagues, go to Pakmen.com