London continues to be in lockdown. Almost all sports organisations and school are closed. IBB Polonia London is not training and the season has been abandoned. Consequently the club is doing whatever is possible. The coaches are busy working with young students from the Pro Volley Academy coaching them online.
According to the likely timeline, students will return to school on the 8th March 2021. Until then all learning is done via the internet. This system is being employed by the players of the Pro Volley Academy recruited in September 2020 jointly by IBB Polonia London and Future Stars. From Monday to Friday the players and coaches meet up on an online platform to work on two modules. The first section is led by Dominik Żmuda (second assistant coach at IBB Polonia London and coach at Pro Volley Academy) and focusses on theoretical ideas and analysis of gameplay. The group watch matches of the highest level of European volleyball thanks to European Federations. The CEV has given free access to the platform Eurovolley.tv for the duration of lockdown.
“For the duration of this challenging period of our lives, we had to think creatively. We cannot meet on court, but it is an amazing opportunity to discuss many aspects of volleyball with our young talents. We watch matches during our online lessons and exchange ideas, discuss statistics and teach the athletes how to watch a match from an analytical point of view and how to understand what the teams are trying to do. Thanks to eurovolley.tv, we have the chance to watch so many European games. We also benefit from cameras of team statisticians that allow our players to learn strategy. We also follow blogs of top players such as Dustin Watten, as well as training manuals and our own personal years of experience. The students are fully engaged, ask pertinent questions, give opinions and share their observations. I aim to vary my approach to make it as interesting as possible for the players. I prepare quizzes and set them challenging homework. I am aiming to introduce some online discussions with some of the world’s top players that I have contacts with” said Dominik Żmuda.
The second section of the work is more physical and this is taken by Vangelis Koutouleas (Head Coach of IBB Polonia London and one of the coaches of the Pro Volley Academy). The lessons are based on VolleyFit, which is developed by Volleyball England. The aim is to develop the physical conditioning of the players as well as to prevent injuries once court time is re-established. Both coaches are running there sessions in as creative way as is possible, that will allow for individual development of the athletes.
„The lessons are very organised and interesting. We analyse video, and then for the remainder of the lesson, carry out training to help maintain our physical condition. I really enjoy the lessons, because the atmosphere is fun, are easy to follow and they really help me” said Olivia Braun, a student at Pro Volley Academy.
“We’ve hit some difficult times recently. But the team is joining online sessions, we are entering a rhythm, learning from great players like Dusitn Watten. Keeping physically in shape and mentally sharp” said Rokas Vaskys; a student at Pro Volley Academy.
The aims of the project have not changed, despite the methods of training having changed. Pro Volley wants to train the future volleyball stars and this is why the lessons are aimed at theoretical knowledge that is required of all elite volleyball players. The benefits of this will become evident when they return to court. Online lessons are an amazing way to work despite the lockdown that is in operation in the UK, but both coaches and players are very keen to return to the familiar surroundings of a volleyball court and to actual play once again.
The coaches have the freedom to totally immerse themselves in the evolution of the Academy, because the senior team are unable to play until the summer at the earliest.
The next phase of recruitment for 2021/22 will start imminently to Pro Volley Academy. Before that takes place, all interested parents and student athletes may ask their questions about any aspect of the project that links education with volleyball. The coaches will be able to respond to emails at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, or people can access much information on the following webpage: http://provolley.london/.