I am fond of Volleyball – Weightlifter turned sports commentator Marc Huster
Ten days ago – together with middle-blocker Corina Ssuschke-Voigt – he followed the local heroines of DRESDNER SC on their quest for a spot in the final of the 2014 CEV Volleyball Cup. His voice and enthusiasm could eventually not prevent DRESDNER SC from losing to Russia’s Uralochka-NTMK EKATERINBURG, but after this experience the two-time Olympic silver medalist admits he has become literally fond of Volleyball.
“Volleyball definitely fascinates me,” says the 43-year old Huster, who is also a former world champion and a familiar voice to all those who follow World and European Weightlifting Championships on Eurosport. “This sport is very dynamic and entertaining. It implies quick actions while the scoring system is easy to understand even for someone who is following it for the first time. On top of this, you play against a direct opponent, which contributes additional adrenaline and this way the audience gets involved very easily.”
Huster was born in Altdöbern, in the former East Germany, and though he started weightlifting at a young age, he knows Volleyball from the early days of his competitive career. “By the time we were teenagers, we used to play Volleyball to warm up before our training. Weightlifters do indeed stand out for their ability to express speed combined with strength and therefore they can jump very high. Apart from this, Volleyball always was a source of good fun for all of us. So this means that I already had some experience before last summer our regional broadcaster, MDR, asked me to follow this sport more closely, starting with the campaign of DRESDNER SC in the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League,” Huster reveals.
Though Weightlifting and Volleyball seem to be very distant, Huster sees a lot of similarities between these sports. “Of course there are common things, though not really when it comes down to the training. It is more about the psyche, the mental approach which is required in both these sports. If I follow a Volleyball game, I can easily and immediately empathize with the way the players feel out there on the court. I know what kind of emotions they are going through and how they think in certain situations. This does not have much to do with the sport you are practicing, but rather with the attitude and approach of a professional athlete,” Huster explains.
Whenever he comments Weightlifting on Eurosport, Huster regularly draws the attention of the audience to the importance of having a good command of the technique required in snatch and clean & jerk. Strength and physical power are not the only factor that counts even in a sport that epitomizes the quintessence of a strongman. “In this sense I see additional similarities between Volleyball and Weightlifting. As I already mentioned, Volleyball is a very dynamic sport, where every attack, every action is different. You have to quickly adjust to different conditions: where do I set the block, shall I attack by hitting down the line or crosscourt, or opt for a tip to find a way through the block? These are all questions that Volleyball players have to be able to answer and they are supposed to do so within fractions of seconds. Volleyball players can’t just hit hard; they are required to master and show a wide range of actions in order to surprise their opponent. The team standing on the other side of the net shall never predict your next action. Volleyball is therefore not all about strength; you have to be clever. Weightlifters have to bear the same in mind: it does not only matter how strong you are, but also how good your technique is.”
Volleyball is a team sport, whereas in weightlifting you are left all alone on the stage and can only rely on your own inner and physical strength. In spite of this, Huster sees additional similarities: “Even though weightlifters are standing all alone on the stage, this does not apply to their training process where they develop a very strong connection with the other members of their team. So, even though you compete alone, there is a strong cohesion within the group. Weightlifters do the same as Volleyball players: they motivate each other, they train together and they also celebrate together.”
A strongman who used to lift up to 215 kilos, Huster is “only” 173 cm tall, not that much when you are surrounded by tall Volleyball players. “Well, when speaking to the players of DRESDNER SC, sometimes I get a stiff neck,” Huster jokes, “but they are very nice and they bow down to me. I also sometimes wait for them to be sitting on the floor, so that I can more easily talk to them,” he continues, thereby revealing a great sense of humor. “However, sometimes I also rely on my explosive power and vertical jump to be at eye level.”
Huster is a father of two, including a baby girl who was born last year. Looking at the future, he does not rule out their possible involvement in competitive sport: “I am convinced that sport is a very important tool, because it deeply influences your value system. It teaches you the importance of self-discipline, teamwork, determination, ambition, honesty, self-responsibility, perseverance, and consistency. These are all things that are required in your everyday life and by our modern society. This means that sport has a beneficial effect on your personal development. Sport is also instrumental to a healthy lifestyle and it helps you get rid of the stress you accumulate in your daily routine. With this in mind, if one day my children would like to pursue a career in competitive sport, I will support them and stand by them sharing my expertise and knowledge.”
To finish it off, Huster concludes this interview with his definition of what Volleyball is all about: “It is a very complex sport. It requires excellent physical skills, since it is very dynamic, and has got a very demanding psychological side as well because you do not have much time to take your decisions. The fact that you are playing an opponent standing on the other side of the net turns it into a duel and it adds extra allure to the features I have listed so far.” So there is definitely more Volleyball to come in the life of Marc Huster, a strongman but most of all a nice guy who would be the best advertiser for any sport.