Keith Sanheim is currently ranked as one of the best volleyball
players in Canada. No, he isn't a "Superman." He
is an ordinary guy from a small school in Manitoba, but he has
lived in Germany, France, Japan, and Italy.
He has played volleyball at the Pan-Am Games in Cuba, the
World Championships, and various world tournaments. He has just
finished competing in the World Championships in Italy, and recently
took "time-out" to answer some questions for SNN.
Sanheim reports that in school he played each and every sport
that he could, from unorganized pickup baseball, road hockey
and football to the more organized games of baseball and soccer.
In high school, he had some good coaches, and some bad ones,
some that he knew more than and some that he knew less. But he
loved any sport game and whatever he thought of a given coach,
he never thought of quitting.
Sanheim recalls that he kept up with and surpassed other players
of his age and ability because he had "the desire to be
the best." He accepted every bit of advice from his coaches,
fellow players, and friends, and he used it to become better.
As a young athlete, he continually watched other players, and
then tried to copy successfully what they did in those situations.
"Never stop learning," Sanheim advises. "Even
when you think you know everything about one game, you don't.
You have to listen and learn all the time.
Sanheim played on as many teams as he could, which continuously
gave him exposure to higher elements on volleyball. He had better
players to play with and better coaches to learn from. He attended
a University of Winnipeg volleyball camp, where he was noticed
by Randy Anderson, the Technical Director for the Manitoba Volleyball
Association. Anderson encouraged Sanheim to try out for the
Midget Provincial Team. His persistence paid off and he made
"Take advantage of every opportunity," Sanheim says,
"because you make more opportunities that way."
While at the University of Manitoba, Sanheim got to play in
Juvenile and Junior National Championships, which allowed him
to be seen by national team coaches. He was invited to tryouts
for the Developmental National Team. While playing three years
at U of M, Sanheim also played on the Developmental team in Calgary
during the summers. He went on to make the
national team, which gave him exposure to volleyball in other
countries. He was even offered an opportunity to play volleyball
professionally in Europe.
During the off-season, Sanheim lifts weights and runs or rides
his bike about three times a week. If he does weights in the
morning, then he will practice in the evening.
"Before the pro season," he says, "we were
lifting weights two times a week and training in the evening
on those days, and two times every other day, including Saturday.
We had only Sunday off."
Sanheim has spent much of his life practicing and playing
volleyball. It was hard when all of his close friends would go
to the beach or a family cottage and he would be in a hot gymnasium,
but he didn't think twice about it.
"I enjoyed what I was doing so much that I was willing
to do that," he says. "I trained for three summers
in Calgary, away from most family and friends."
Sanheim speaks from years of experience when he says to young
athletes: "You have to believe in yourself, and know that
you have the ability to do things regardless of the circumstances."
Exposure helps sports people recognize the ability of a young
athlete. High school students can send videotapes to university
coaches and attend university sports camps, but Sanheim believes
the real keys to sports success is training as hard as one can
and being confident of one's abilities.
"Nothing worth achieving comes easily or without sacrifice,"