Created in 2020, the London centre for volleyball excellence is starting its recruitment for the upcoming academic year. The „one of a kind” educational program has the aims of combining top level free academic education with professional volleyball coaching. Pro Volley Academy was formed by IBB Polonia London together with Future Stars and is aimed at sixteen year olds from England. The Academy is seeking young talented players, who in the future are aiming for overseas university volleyball scholarships or professional contracts with the top volleyball leagues in Europe.
The youngsters have just returned to school following the second national lockdown by the government. Pro Volley Academy has concluded its online lessons and from Monday, 8th March, has returned to the sportshall and volleyball. The coaches aim to play some friendly matches with other schools to determine the progress they have achieved.
The coaching staff will now focus on recruitment for the 2021/22 school year of sixteen year old boys and girls. The Pro Volley recruits will be attending lessons to prepare them for three A levels or BTEC. Apart from this, the players will spend a lot of time each week in volleyball related activities: these will be on court training, strength and conditioning as well as theoretical knowledge. These elements are planned to provide opportunities to apply to the best universities worldwide.
The program will restart in September 2021 and will last two years. Regardless how school looked in recent months due to lockdown, the new recruits to The Academy will receive well planned and adapted lessons to the conditions that prevail. The coaching staff proved that is possible to teach volleyball on-line.
There is a restricted number of places available at The Academy; a maximum of twenty places will allow effective and well-paced lessons to take place, allowing all students to find their place in the squad that will enter a number of local, international and national competitions, such as School and Youth Championships of England. This will also allow for the three way discussions between player-coach-parent/guardian to talk about progress and individual goals.
“The school year is still up and running, but even now we are able to say that Year One was a great success. We managed to provide effective coaching, even during lockdown. We chalked up our first competitive match victory, and we had our first England National Team call-ups! From the 8th March 2021, the Pro Volley students have been back in school and restoring their volleyball education. I am optimistic that the successes that we achieved in such a short length of time, will be a big draw for the youngsters that want to join the program. We await the next unpolished diamonds, and can’t wait to meet them and to start their journey towards their own personal dream” said CEO of IBB Polonia London, Bartek Luszcz.
“The first recruits joined us a year ago, and despite the challenging year that we have all had, we have shown that The Academy is achieving its mission of developing sport and education simultaneously. Out athletes, after only a few months of training, won their first match, and then in December 2020, some of them received the opportunity to try-out for the under 18 England National Team. This year we are, once again, looking for youngsters of the appropriate mindset and potential for volleyball. We are waiting for their applications and for them to join us on court!” said Academy coach and Head Coach of IBB Polonia London, Vangelis Koutouleas.
“The first year of our existence has proven that this is a well thought out and planned project, that from day one has been giving great results. The recruits of 2020 will have noticed the changes in themselves guided by the hard work of our coaches and teachers. The Pro Volley model is providing youngsters the chance of learning from the coaching staff of the top volleyball team in the UK. They have opened the door to professional volleyball for themselves. At the same time, they are receiving a high level of academic education as well. I am optimistic that this year, we will see the next cohort of talented volleyball youngsters joining The Academy. I have my fingers crossed for the new recruits and want to reassure their parents and carers that the successes of the athletes also feel like our own successes and consequently we will raise our bar even higher” said Jacek Ambrozy: majority shareholder of IBB Polonia London and IBB Builders Merchants.
Pro Volley Academy – the volleyball academy initiated by IBB Polonia London and Future Stars foundation, since September 2020. A unique system in England of education aimed at sixteen year olds. The recruits should currently be advanced level players and have passed their GCSE exams or their international equivalent. Training and lessons take place at Northolt High School in West London. The aim of The Academy is to prepare athletes for their A levels/BTECs and volleyball ability that will lead them to senior professional volleyball.
On court trainings are delivered by specialist coaching staff. Vangelis Koutouleas, from Greece, has vast experience at the senior level, but has also worked with youth teams at Leaf Academy in Bournemouth, which was one of the centres of excellence of volleyball a number of years ago. In addition, Dominik Zmuda coached juniors for many years at one of the world’s best clubs – ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle in Poland. This is regarded as the elite club for youth volleyball in the country, and the evidence is that his team reached the final of the junior championships on an annual basis. His players have gone on to become key individuals for some of the top clubs in the highest league in Poland (PlusLiga).