Eight hours per week of on-court training, plus video analysis as well as strength and conditioning work. This is the outline of the way that the London based Volleyball Academy called „Pro Volley Academy” will operate in the first year. On top of this, of course, comes academic work; the athletes will study BTEC Level 3 courses or A levels. These are the normal British systems. As a result, the athletes will be perfectly prepared to gain access to the most sought-after University places globally
„Following two years at the Pro Volley Academy, the graduating students will be in a good position to continue their education and sports careers in the USA, Great Britain or any other educational establishment worldwide. The strength of our programme is the way that we have integrated education and sport. I am sure that there have been many young people, especially volleyball players, in England, who have had to choose between sports and education over the years. From September 2020, these people will no longer have the dilemma of being forced to make this choice” said Vangelis Koutouleas, head coach of Pro Volley Academy.
The well-known Greek coach has been involved with British volleyball for many years; he has led IBB Polonia London to the National title of England three times and was responsible for the development of volleyball players, for three years, at the Leaf Academy in Bournemouth.
„Bournemouth was the centre of volleyball in England for several years. Now it is time for London: IBB Polonia, their sponsors, a school from West London, and also the Future Stars Foundation – who are responsible for the education component – form a unique mix of experts. We must make the most of this opportunity. Our graduates will be studying at the best establishments in a few years and will be leaders of their volleyball teams. So many young people have not had this chance; I think that this will be a very important year for the evolution of volleyball in England” continued the Coach.
The project starts in September 2020, but recruitment has already begun. In the first year of the programme, we are looking for 16 and 17-year-old boys. These must already be volleyball players of an advanced level; they must also have completed their GCSEs or BTEC level 2 qualifications (or their international equivalents). Training and education will take place at Northolt High School in West London.
„The programme is available to citizens of all countries who are interested in a good level of education and pursuing volleyball in England. Our first aim is to form a database of young people, and their parents, who are interested in free education as we have described. I am fully aware that not everyone will grasp what we are offering and what we are expecting; for this reason, I urge any interested people to contact me or the coaches. We will try to answer all of their questions and will explain how their volleyball careers will be developed” said Emma Chambers, from Future Stars Foundation, who is responsible for education at The Academy.
This year, fifteen boys will take their places at The Academy. The aim is to enter Youth u18 National and Student Cup Championships. Also, students will be able to continue their senior careers in a club of their choice.
„This is a top priority project. We are focussed on recruiting people with the correct mindset and talent in volleyball. We want the athletes to work with us, and at weekends be the leaders in their clubs. Raising the level of volleyball in English clubs is our goal. There are already some British athletes on scholarships in the USA or playing professionally in European second and third-tier leagues. We want to see more players doing this and playing at a higher standard. This is our aim: player development” concluded Koutouleas.