Simon Loftus is a Scottish Volleyball Coach with international experience that includes Olympic Games that will coach IBB Polonia London Volleyball Club in the upcoming season. It’s Simon’s return to English League volleyball, time to meet the person to lead the ambitious London based club.
Editor: Who is Simon Loftus?
Simon Loftus: I am originally from Glasgow, Scotland, but live in England for 11 years. I came to build volleyball programme at Leeds Metropolitan University. I left after 5 years and actually beat Polonia in the English Cup Final in my last game for them in 2012. Later I coached in Sweden, USA and was an assistant coach at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Now I am the head coach of England’s Men National Team, teach at Kingston University and will coach IBB Polonia from now on.
Ed: What is your coaching philosophy?
SL: I think it is very important for player to express themselves and to create a show for people who are watching. We need to understand that current volleyball is an entertainment business. I like my players to play expressive, expansive volleyball, where they can take risks. I like Brazilian style: fast, technically good and with great passion.
Ed: What is your proudest coaching achievement?
SL: I was lucky to be able to contest championships with a number of teams. I think the time I spent in Sweden, when we did very well with an unexperienced team was particularly enjoyable, as I think I did a very good job developing these players. Also, being able to participate in the Olympics and work alongside the world best players is something I will never forget.
Ed: From the English Head Coach position perspective – what is the plan?
SL: When after the Olympics the whole funding was cut to the GB programme, a lot of players retired or got involved in other projects. So, it took us a while until we managed to send England to the European Championships – but when we did, I think we competed quite well and a lot of guys got quite excited about the prospect. So, for me the plan is to compete is as many European and World qualifications and in the new European League as England needs to compete at this level to grow and to give the sport presence it deserves.
Ed: IBB Polonia London is working hard on their image and get a lot of fans following – do you enjoy working in such environment?
SL: It is an amazing opportunity to play in front of the crowd – it’s great for players to be able to express themselves – and to be a part of something that’s revolutionising the game in England. To play in semi-pro, pro setup players had to travel abroad now they have an opportunity to do it in the UK and really be at the forefront of developing the sport in the UK. One thing we are lacking here are sport role-models that can inspire the younger generations – now we will have it here – so IBB Polonia with me as a leader can develop the game further.
Ed: What are your next steps within IBB Polonia?
SL: Now it’s time to identify old and new players, watch some videos and start to formulate the squad. Once this is done we will start planning the pre-season and then move onto the season that starts in Early October. I am really looking forward to the season and I am very grateful for the opportunity to get back to the league coaching after the 3 years.