This month it’s “back to school time” and time to sort out your extra-curricular activities. The junior section of IBB Polonia London are restarting their activities. It’s now the third season that the current Champions of England are to offer junior coaching clinics. Let’s find out from the coach Gregorz Niski, all about it.
How does the Academy look? What age groups do you have?
Grzegorz Niski: Currently we have one group of boys and girls ranging from 9-15. They train two times each week. We will try to enter the London Junior League. This will mean additional match days.
Do the successes of the men’s team help encourage children to the trainings?
G.N.: Of course, for some of them it is an inspiration and motivation that maybe one day they will be able to join the “grown up team” and hope to play at the best possible level. Then parents hear about the men’s team results and start enquiring about how to join the sessions. Thanks to the results of IBB Polonia London, the popularity of volleyball is growing. The evidence of this is that we have children coming from far and wide to be part of this club.
What level are the children that come training? Are they all the same standard?
G.N.: We currently have no differentiation by ability. Once the level becomes wider, we will be able to form more groups which we will be able to match to the age group and ability. Every eager child is welcome to come and take part. We want them to have fun and to enter the world of sport.
Are trainings more about playing or do you try to model more professional methods?
G.N.: We aim to teach through play, but I will try to split the group into beginners and more advanced. The aim is for them to enjoy themselves. There is plenty of time to decide about playing professional volleyball. We have some real gems in our group who have the potential to play at a good level. Currently the mission is to make this happen through trainings which must be engaging and fun. I think if we continue like this we will continue to discover more hidden talents!
Do the trainings use the current World Champions’-Poland’s know-how?
G.N.: Yes, I try to use my experience and incorporate it into materials I have from the Polish Volleyball Federation. I’m glad that I can put these things into good use in England seeing as though Polish coaching of children is widely regarded as the best in the world.
What are the benefits to the children?
G.N.: I can’t possibly name them all! A sporting upbringing is vital to the development of a young person. The development of good habits through training and having an active life is a great way to grow and develop. Teamwork and being part of a team that is the top level in England is an amazing opportunity. The children come to the matches and can be ballboys or ballgirls. They end up actually on court during matches and have a front row seat for the entire game. They become part of the senior men’s team that has a history of success. Of course the children make new friends and this brings its own benefits and opportunities. The parents make new contacts and establish friendships too. In the summer we play in the park and put a volleyball net up. So it seems that volleyball develops into quite a social event.
We can conclude that the atmosphere at training is positive and joyful, but is there competition between the participating children?
G.N.: Naturally. The parents frequently say how their children can’t wait for the next session and they never need reminding about when they are. The kids have such fun, laugh and joke and the atmosphere is fabulous. The kids enjoy coming and take part together. They help each other out which is great to see. Of course there is competition, but only in a sporting context. They have started to show a competitive spirit and this is such a positive trait to have in life.
I’m sure the children can’t wait for the season to start. When do their trainings start? Do you have space for any newcomers?
G.N.: Trainings start in the second half of September, and this is the signing-up period. Anyone keen is able to sign up right now and join us. For more details, please check out the IBB Polonia London website or give me a call on 07799068707. I will gladly answer any questions.