Rachel Laybourne

YST Rachel Laybourne


Rachel started her sporting career at secondary school, where she tried her hand at all of the sports on offer but it wasn’t until she was in year 10 that volleyball entered her life. Despite never playing before she showed instant talent and began attending the local volleyball club, Sheffield Wednesday.

Her first taste of success came when she was selected for the England U18 Squad and she soon realised that it would not be an easy task to manage this alongside her school work. Although Rachel worked really hard at school she was not the most academically gifted student in the class and balancing tough training loads with three A-Levels was a real challenge.

But in 2000 the hard work paid off on both counts as she progressed to the England senior squad and at the same time enrolled at Loughborough University, where she would study Sports Science and participate in the Women’s High Performance Volleyball programme. 

When London won the right to host the 2012 Olympic Games in 2005, it kicked off an incredible journey of sporting highs for Rachel. She went on to represent Great Britain in more than 95 international matches, whilst playing professionally in France and Poland.

Her achievements on the court were recognised when she was inducted into the England Volleyball Hall of Fame and she ultimately competed in the 2012 London Olympics.

Unfortunately there were also a number of heart-breaking lows during this period which required Rachel to demonstrate an unbreakable resolve to achieve her goals, making her achievements all the more impressive.

Despite the fact Rachel has now retired from playing professional volleyball she is dedicated to inspiring the next generation so that they can find their sporting success regardless of what this may be.

Sporting Achievements:

  • Olympian
  • Volleyball England Hall of Fame.