|Volleyball Ireland have published their first quarterly report of 2020, which shows a significant increase in registered junior players compared to the same period of last year.|
As many as 227 under 18s have active player licenses compared with the end of March 2019, which is mainly due to the fantastic development work carried out in clubs across the country. The newly formed youth national leagues at U18 and U16 level for girls are driving participation as well.
Commenting on the data, General Manager Gary Stewart said, “The Q1 participation report shows that the investment in proper youth competitions is paying off. Not only that, there is clearly an improvement in the standard of youth players coming through which means that the average age of players in the adult national league competition is coming down. There are lots of elements that contribute to this, including quality school programmes, proactive clubs, a progressive youth national team programme and decent coach education courses and workshops.”
A chunk of the youth participation is related to a new Beginner Club Tour that the Volleyball Ireland Development team had planned for March in Limerick, which had almost 50 U13s registered. The week after, the first national boys’ competition also had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
With this in mind, Volleyball Ireland are hosting a webinar on youth section development this coming Thursday at 8pm (See http://www.volleyballireland.com/webinar-series.html#/).
It will be interesting to see what impact the coronavirus situation will have on the figures this time next year, Gary added. “For obvious reasons, we have not opened the beach registration yet which is skewing figures slightly. Also it is worth noting that the number of licensed referees has reduced, so this is an area we need to address quickly and the team working with the Education & Training Commission are planning some new initiatives ahead of the new season.”
Away from the court, the marketing and promotion of Volleyball is improving with a 37% increase in digital followers, mainly driven through additional creative content and an increase in the streaming of various events.
After chairing a meeting of the CEV Board of Administration late last week resulting in the approval of a ‘Marshall Plan’ for European Volleyball worth € 11.5 million, CEV President Aleksandar Boričić has taken the time to pen an open letter to all Volleyball fans. It encourages fans to stick together – just like members of the same Volleyball team – and to look after each other, while inviting them to come forward and share with the CEV their ideas and suggestions, as the Volleyball family works hard to overcome the coronavirus crisis and to support all stakeholders in the best possible way.
This is the full text of the letter:
Dear Volleyball Fans,
I very much hope that this message finds you and your loved ones in good health and high spirits.
We are going through an unprecedented crisis since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, which has brought competitive sport, among other things, to a complete standstill across the globe.
I acknowledge that we at the CEV share your very same feelings; we miss, as much as you do, competitive Volleyball, and I know that many of you cannot wait to join your friends and keep the ball flying again.
But for the time being we have to be patient and make the best use of what we have learned from our beloved sport: the sense of sticking together, working as team, while showing solidarity and compassion for one another. Therefore, I trust that you are using this time to look after your family and friends, supporting each other through these challenging times – as one team.
With much regret, we had to take tough decisions and to cancel various competitions due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, among others the much-anticipated Champions League Volley Super Finals in Berlin. Believe me, it has been a very difficult call for us, but the well-being and safety of players, coaches and all of you remain our priority.
Meanwhile, I can assure you that the CEV is working tirelessly together with all our stakeholders to manage the effects of the crisis, but also to make sure that we are ready to re-start the engine of our activities once conditions allow and it is safe for everyone to do so.
I hope that you have been enjoying the work we have done through social media in order to engage with you and to help you pass the time you are spending at home with some Volleyball and quite a bit of fun.
The CEV remains open for any comments, suggestion and proposal you may have, the CEV would be happy to receive your feedback.
As I share everyone’s hope that life comes back to normal as soon as possible, I would like to reassure you that there is no virus or adversity that can extinguish the fire of passion that makes our hearts beat for Volleyball!
Stay safe and healthy until we can meet again!
With my best personal regards,
In a time where many would normally be making the final tweaks to their domestic Beach Volleyball programme before it gets underway in May, the Scottish Volleyball Association (SVA) are instead using these days to reflect on what they have achieved as a sport with the help of the Team Scotland media team.
Over the last few weeks, Beach Volleyball has featured heavily in Team Scotland’s Sports Focus Spotlight. They have been looking back at everything from the first players in history to represent Team Scotland on the world stage at the Commonwealth Youth Games Bahamas 2017 to further history making with the senior team success in the sports debut at the Commonwealth Games, at the Gold Coast 2018.
Team Scotland spoke to Emma Waldie and Jenny Lee, who represented Scotland at the Youth Games in 2017 (see Facebook video here) as well as to the senior Commonwealth Games athletes (Melissa Coutts, Lynne Beattie, Robin Miedzybrodzki and Seain Cook) about their experiences at the Gold Coast, what it meant to them and what their favourite memories are.
For Robin and Seain’s account of their Gold Coast experience, read the full article here.
To find out about what the Gold Coast meant to Lynne and Melissa, read the full article here.
Further to this international success, the SVA have been working closely with the British Volleyball Federation and the other home nations, to build a case for Beach Volleyball at the performance level going forward to Birmingham 2022 and beyond. This work is ongoing, and they hope it will only present further opportunities for future generations of Scottish athletes to follow in the footsteps of previous Commonwealth Games athletes.
It is important to recognise that the success the Scottish Beach Volleyball community has had is not only at the playing level. There has been great success with Jamie Salvin as well, completing his qualifications to become an international beach referee officiating at FIVB, CEV and Zonal competitions all over the world, with this also contributing heavily to putting Scotland on the international Beach Volleyball map.
It has been inspiring to look back at these insights and successes, but this is only the beginning. “What we have achieved so far will be used as a platform to launch our sport to the next level with Birmingham 2022 and other exciting opportunities on the horizon. This means working to develop, not only our performance pathways, but also our club and community engagement where we are steadily building demand and capacity in our sport for all levels and abilities,” says Lynne Beattie.
A great example of this is the inception of a brand new beach volleyball club in Ayrshire. West Coast Beach Volleyball (WCBV) have followed in the footsteps of Edinburgh Beach Volleyball club in the East of the country who have seen a massive surge in interest for Beach Volleyball at a community level, at their permanent hub in Portobello.
As a governing body, the Scottish Volleyball Association are also involved in some fantastic ‘Changing Lives’ project work in Edinburgh, aimed at breaking down the barriers that some communities face to sports participation, as well as using sport intentionally to support skills development opportunities for young people, encouraging positive destinations when they leave school.
Further to the coronavirus pandemic and to the extensive measures adopted by national authorities to curb the spread of the disease, the CEV and the respective organisers have agreed to postpone two Beach Volleyball events initially scheduled for early June.
This applies to the 2020 edition of #EuroBeachVolleyU22 due to take place in Vlissingen (NED) from June 3 to 7. The Dutch authorities have cancelled all public events up until May 31, meaning there would be no time and the necessary guarantees for the tournament to take place as per the original plans. The CEV and the Dutch Volleyball Federation A(Nevobo) together with the local Organising Committee have agreed to hold the competition from September 2 to 6, 2020 instead, with no changes to the original venue in the city of Vlissingen.
Moreover, the relevant parties have agreed to postpone the 1-Star World Tour event scheduled for June 12-14 in Ios Island, Greece and to do so until further notice. The event was the second such tournament to take place in Ios after last year’s successful premiere. The organisers are hopeful they could deliver the event later this year if conditions allow.
The CEV continues to monitor the development of the COVID-19 pandemic in close cooperation with all of its stakeholders, with the well-being and health of everyone associated with the sport as its primary concern.
On Monday, CEV President Aleksandar Boričić will attend the release of two new Faroese stamps with Volleyball motives to celebrate 125 years since the ‘invention’ of Volleyball in the USA by William G. Morgan. Mr Boričić is himself is a passionate philatelist and has won several gold medals from international stamp exhibitions.
“Volleyball is in my heart, but stamps are my hobby,” Mr Boričić told Faroese Radio FM1. “It is very exciting to attend any ceremony for the unveiling of new stamps, but even more when it is about Volleyball stamps.”
The CEV President will deliver a short address, as Mr Magnus Tausen, President of the Faroese Volleyball Association, will do as well.
The presentation is taking place at the shopping mall SMS in Tórshavn, the Faroese capital, and live streaming will be available here. The transmission will start at 16:00 local time – 17:00 CET, and the actual ceremony will get underway at 16:30 local time. During the event, a children’s volleyball tournament will take place at the very same venue as well.
Furthermore, the Faroese Volleyball Association will be delivering an exhibition with Volleyball photos from past to present. The Faroese Volleyball Association was founded on April 1, 1980 and therefore it will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year. However, the first Faroese Volleyball national championship was held a way further back in 1969.
CEV President Aleksandar Boričić is currently paying a truly historic visit to the Gibraltar Volleyball Association. The CEV President arrived on the Rock on Monday afternoon following several productive discussions and meetings with Emma Labrador, President of the Gibraltar Volleyball Association.
Ms Labrador accompanied the CEV President during his stay, with the agenda including meetings with a number of high-level authorities, such as the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Mr Fabian Picardo (pictured above), the Minister of Sport, Culture, Heritage and Youth, Mr Steven Ernest Linares, and the CEO of the Gibraltar Leisure and Sports Activity (GSLA), Reagan Lima.
It is a matter of great prestige for Gibraltar to host the CEV President and FIVB 2nd Executive Vice-President, who during his stay visited the Volleyball and Beach Volleyball facilities available at the Rock. The visit of the CEV President is further testament to the attention that Gibraltar Volleyball is receiving following the successful organisation of last year’s Island Games, where Beach Volleyball was one of the most successful sports on the programme in terms of media coverage and attendance.
The Gibraltar Volleyball Association is a member of the Small Countries Association (SCA) and they joined the CEV back in 1984.
On Friday, CEV President Aleksandar Boričić had the pleasure of holding cordial talks with the newly elected President of the Malta Volleyball Association (MVA), Mr Edward Gatt and the MVA Vice-President, Mr Branko Vlahović, at the CEV President Office in Belgrade.
It was a truly precious opportunity to strengthen the cooperation with the highest authorities from the Mediterranean archipelago, in particular due to the problems Malta has experienced for a while, especially in terms of lack of Volleyball activities. With the help of their new leadership, the Malta Volleyball Association have drafted ambitious plans to initiate a number of projects and activities, especially the CEV School Project, with a focus on the further development of Volleyball in schools.
The MVA wish to work closely with younger coaches and physical education teachers, and the development of Beach Volleyball stands out as the most important part of their planned activities. This should also involve gradual involvement and participation in international events, while the organisation of some Beach Volleyball tournaments and age-group events is well under consideration too.
President Gatt expressed his gratitude for the meeting hosted by the CEV President, for the time spent in good and fruitful talks and said he very much looks forward to strengthening the cooperation with the CEV even further in the near future.
CEV and the Malta Volleyball Association wish to work together not only on the promotion of international cooperation, but also to make sure that the support provided by government, regional and local authorities can help grow Volleyball in Malta at a much faster pace than it has happened this far.
Many people still remember – and they do so fondly – February 29, 2016. It was a truly historic day for Volleyball when more than 49,000 people participated in #1DayMore4Volleyball playing as many as 4,500 matches across 551 cities all over Europe in 901 different venues! The 2020 edition will be taking the original concept to the next level, with the action due to take place in conjunction with the next leap day, i.e. February 29, 2020. The aim is to increase participation and to account for as much exposure and visibility as possible, to make it a viral theme on social media.
As the name suggests, it is all about ‘one day for Volleyball’, where our sport will be taking centre stage and inspire especially the younger ones to play the game and live a healthy lifestyle.
Back in 2016, this action involved 28 of the 56 CEV member federations with exhibition matches up to the symbolic mark of 29 points organised and played from the Russian Far East to Gibraltar, thereby involving schools, professional and amateur players, young and old, and even the national men’s Sitting Volleyball teams of Italy and Poland.
Poland and Serbia were the countries recording the highest number of participants, accounting for some 15,000 and 12,000, respectively. Even the staff working at the CEV headquarters in Luxembourg joined #1DayMore4Volleyball, playing one Volleyball and one Sitting Volleyball match against their colleagues of the Luxembourg Volleyball Federation!
Further information is available at the official website https://1daymore4volleyball.cev.eu where you can sign up and vie for one of the many valuable prizes at stake!
This time around, the action will get started with the help of star players from all three disciplines – Volleyball, Beach Volleyball and Snow Volleyball – who have taken on a truly unique and entertaining #VolleySkillChallenge. The challenge emphasises one of the truly unique features of Volleyball – since you can play the ball by using your entire body, from your feet to the knees all the way up to the final hit, as you can see here:
We invite all Volleyball lovers to join us and make February 29, 2020 a real, unprecedented ‘Volleyball party’!
There have been a couple of very exciting days for Volleyball Ireland and especially for local young players and coaches in Dublin. On Thursday, Kristof De Loose, who has a wealth of experience working with youngsters back home in his native Belgium, delivered a Volleyball masterclass at Sutton Park in Dublin with players aged 12-13. This action represents the next step in the implementation of the CEV Schools Project by Volleyball Ireland, which has already helped involve hundreds of kids and inspired them to play the game at their school as well as at local clubs.
Kristof De Loose was one of the lecturers at this year’s historic CEV Coaches Convention held in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, which representatives of Volleyball Ireland attended as well in order to learn from some of the top coaches in Europe to find further sources of inspiration for their work at the grassroots level.
On Thursday afternoon, De Loose and CEV Education and Referee Coordinator François Watthez attended the 2019 edition of the Senior Schools Cup Finals (boys and girls) held at University College Dublin (UCD). Later in the evening, De Loose delivered a second masterclass, this time lasting for some two hours and addressed to 20 club coaches, which included both a theoretical and a practical session.
Grainne Culliton, President of Volleyball Ireland, was obviously delighted with the outcome: “I loved the way the drills gradually built slowly but yet were carried out with pace. It is one of the hardest things to keep children engaged in a 1-to-2 hour session, but Kristof’s approach to coaching is a great way to do this. Fitness and health for children is very high in priorities nowadays, so if we can make sure children have a whole lot of fun when training, they will want to return again and again.”
Volleyball Ireland Development Officer Conor Flood: “I have been fortunate enough to see Kristof in action twice now. Tonight’s masterclass differed from the last session I took part in earlier this year; however, he still stuck to his three core values of Fun, Movement and Learning. By the end of the 1-hour practical session, I was exhausted, smiling and full of new exciting ideas to take back to my own club. This kind of approach to learning takes just a little creativity from any coach and will undoubtedly reap rewards for kids enjoying Volleyball.”
Volleyball Ireland hosted this past weekend its first International Youth event in Gormanston College. The ‘Friendship Tournament’ featured the Danish club Farum og Halte, teams representing East and West Ireland, as well as representative sides from the Northern Ireland Volleyball Association. In total, over 180 players descended on County Meath for a weekend of five-set matches, training and coach knowledge transfer. The aim of the event is to help young players learn, grow and develop in a supportive and positive international environment.
The action began on Friday evening with team training, followed by competitive games on the Saturday, social entertainment during the evening and on Sunday morning a chance to play Sitting Volleyball and enjoy coaching by leaders from other teams – this gave coaches a great chance to share ideas, concepts and philosophies. For the Danish team, the Friday included a sightseeing trip in Dublin City, and of course a visit to the Viking Splash Tour!
Conor Flood, Volleyball Ireland’s Development Officer who led the project said, “It was a fantastic weekend of Volleyball with a great energy and buzz. We really wanted to give young players a taste of a weekend competition – what it is like to play against international teams. The feedback has been excellent and we will grow the concept next year opening up entries to other club teams from across Europe. The friendly nature of the event meant coaches were sharing ideas and philosophies and hopefully will be taking this back to their clubs to help improve Volleyball for everyone – that’s what it’s all about.”
All players and coaches stayed in on-site accommodation for two nights, helping them become familiar with a standard setup for international tournaments. General Manager of Volleyball Ireland Gary Stewart added, “One of the learnings from our entry in the U16 European qualifier earlier this year was that our players need more experience before they play internationally, as for a teenager it can be quite daunting. The idea behind this is to help them become familiar with a trip away.”
Volleyball Ireland would like to thank Farum og Halte Volleyball Club and Irish native Dave Colgan for their support getting the event off the ground. Details on the 2020 event will be announced shortly.
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