German freshman adjusts to the US and BYU volleyball

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Tim Dobbert is not only new to the BYU men’s volleyball team; he is new to the United States, college volleyball and sellout crowds. Hailing from Alchelberg, Germany, the freshman opposite hitter is the tallest member of the team. He brings strength and physicality with his style of play.

Dobbert sits down with The Universe to discuss his freshman year on the team.
Dobbert sits down with The Universe to discuss his freshman year on the team. Photo by Sarah Ballard

“He’s definitely a lot more physical than the other guys on the team,” said fellow opposite hitter Carson Heninger.

For Dobbert, coming to the U.S. meant a complete cultural change and different style of volleyball than he was used to.

Dobbert’s coach discussed the adjustments players from abroad make as they come to play for the Cougars.

“It’s for sure difficult coming from a different volleyball culture,” said BYU head coach Chris McGown. “While volleyball is very similarly played around the world, the way different countries train is very integral to their culture and to the personality of that country. The way we train in the U.S. is very different. It’s a challenge for anybody, but Tim has worked very hard. It helps a lot that he’s a nice guy and a good kid; he’s fit in very well.”

Dobbert sat down with The Universe to discuss his game and how he has adjusted to living in the States.

Why did you decide to come play at BYU?

Tim Dobbert: So first my decision was to come to the U.S. to any college. I didn’t care where, just because of the education you can get here in addition to playing volleyball. In Germany, it is super difficult to combine that. BYU offered me a spot on the team, and I heard they were pretty good. They were ranked No. 1 at the time.

How long have you been playing volleyball, and what inspired you to start?

TD: I started in 2006. I’m from a little village of 1,000 people, and it was more like everyone my age started playing soccer. Then we moved over to play baseball, and then a little volleyball club opened and we went there. Because I was really tall, they decided I could try out at another club, and I went.

What is your favorite part about volleyball in the States?

TD: I think the games. You get fired up, and the games here at BYU reach a new level for me. In Germany, we would have like 400 fans, and that was the highest we’d ever get — it’s so different here. You don’t even have to do a lot to get fired up; it’s just the crowd.

Do you plan to have a volleyball career after college?

TD: I don’t plan a lot. We’ll see if I get an offer from a good club or if I want to travel around the world. If I get a good job, I’ll probably work. It depends what happens in the next four years.

What was the biggest change coming to the U.S.?

TD: The language (he laughs).

Beside the language?

TD: The food; everything is bigger here. If you don’t have a car it’s hard to get around — in Germany you can take the bus or train anywhere. I’m mostly on campus.

The 6-foot-10-inch German is hard to miss on campus. As a freshman, his time on the court has been limited this year, but Dobbert should be one of BYU’s key players in the seasons to come.

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