Stirling University Reborn

Stirling University VCThen God said, “Let the Stirling students be gathered together in one place, and let them make a volleyball team” and it happened.
I am not sure about many things; I am not even sure how to spell my name in English. Is it Giannos? Yiannos or Janos? But I am sure of one thing: that I love volleyball.

In my point of view people are separated into two categories: those who play volleyball and those who don’t. I belong in the tribe of volleyball people, which is stronger than any other tribe. It is a great honour for me to work with people with such energy and such passion as the Stirling University students.

It is a greater honour to think that for the first time in so many years, the time can be right for Stirling to reclaim its place on the Scottish volleyball map. The dream is not only to participate to the University league but also to be strong enough to enter the national league soon. The University is backing our efforts by giving us plenty of hours to train. And we are training a lot: the girls have three technical and one physical session, the boys have 4 technical and one physical session, and we also play matches……..

My coaching philosophy in volleyball can be summarized in creating a team with the following shared values: enthusiasm, compassion, trust and passion. I believe in teamwork, communication and brotherhood while the game is played. Coach Phil Jackson once said ‘Good teams become great ones when the members trust each other enough to surrender the ‘me’ for ‘we’’ . Ideally everyone will learn that everyone will get support and everyone will approve of the efforts we all make as I have witrnessed in the top club matches here in Scotland.

One priority is to teach the fundamentals of volleyball to all participants but also to increase the ability to stay focussed under pressure. Dissociation, a mental skill where one demonstrates the ability to perform tasks while at the same time focussing on something else, will be developed  Ideally it will all evolve to a positive learning environment. Where everyone can help each other learn.

Here I need to express my appreciation to all the students for coming to train, for helping setting the net, for helping to keep up the morale. Although its early, we seem to be sharing common values; fighting spirit, enthusiasm and passion are not in shortage for both the women and men’s teams.
We are really looking forward to organizing tournaments so other clubs can come and play against us. We are committed and obliged to the Scottish Volleyball Federation for its help which is translated in so many different ways, from giving us money to buy balls to providing players opportunities for further development. Now we are working together with the SVA to involve a few schools in the local community to hopefully become feeder schools for our club. The future belongs to the youth.

Once again I want to thank Stirling University for appointing me as the coach (hopefully they wont regret it) and I promise them that we will give our best. Moreover I would like to thank all the students who are participating in this effort, either as players or organisers. Most importantly I want to thank them for reminding me of the true meaning of life, which is to be spontaneous and enthusiastic in every possible occasion.

Dedicated to Stirling volleyball players who are teaching me how to teach them volleyball.


Giannos Panayiotakis