Cooperation with schools the way to grow Volleyball at the grassroots level

As many as 104 people followed Monday’s CEV School Project webinar run by Peter Morell, a man who has a huge wealth of experience in working with children and promoting Volleyball at school in countries such as Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland.

Morell started the webinar with giving a history of the Faroe Islands and their progress with Volleyball. Peter emphasised this is a true success story, since the participation for children aged 7-12 has exceeded 90%. KidsVolley is a great introduction to the best sport and game for children, as proven by the Faroe Islands through the CEV School Project, where Morell has been able to reach out to all schools of the archipelago.

The success in the Faroe Islands results primarily from the thoughtful preparation and strategy implemented from the start. The most important thing is first to prepare as best as possible. This includes developing a strategy on which schools to create synergy with, and knowing the school system structure.

Morell invited the attendees to ask themselves some questions like, is there a Volleyball club in the area to link with the school? Is there already a good relationship with the school management? What is the school environment? In addition to that, he mentioned several other points to consider when organising school Volleyball for children within a National Federation.

In the Faroe Islands, Morell introduced the students and teachers to Kidsvolley so that after 2-4 sessions, they were familiar enough with the game to later participate in a tournament, thus creating a positive experience for the kids as well as for the teachers/coaches involved.

Peter suggested making a small agreement/contract with the clubs in regards to the mutual growth and benefits included from the project. Conduct good training and supervision of the coaches involved in the school project is very important to give them the proper training so that new kids coming into the clubs will want to stay and continue playing this sport. Moreover, he invited to share any kind of promotional material of the project with the parents of the young club players.

Morell agreed and acknowledged that recruitment of schools is not as easy as it may sound. It takes a lot of follow up and persistence to get the schools involved, especially finding the schools that already incorporate gym time or physical education time for their children/students. Peter urged the attendees to find ways to integrate the teachers as much as possible, and share any resourceful materials with them.

Finally, the most important concept of Kidsvolley is to keep it simple, i.e.:
–    Kids must learn the game from a reduced speed/level of the normal game
–    The court should be smaller and with shorter dimensions for children – you can use a badminton court as an example
–    The game should consist of throwing, catching and rotating – the true “volley” is too difficult to start with

Moreover, Morell emphasised the importance of organising successful school tournaments: this is where all the fun comes together and you truly see the love of the game – and there you could experiment by mixing the groups of kids as well.

The Q&A session included questions about how to adjust the activities with COVID-19, what the best way is to train the teachers/coaches being involved in the project if they are not already familiar with basic Volleyball technique, and many more.  

The third series of webinars run by the CEV Technical and Development Department will end on Thursday with the last session hosted by Olympic and European champion, former Serbian Volleyball star Andrija Geric. Make sure you sign up here if you have not already done so!

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