A Week in the Life of the SWNTP – Volume 3

Things Happen for a reason

Team HuddleYou create a vision. You identify objectives. You put in place a plan to reach them. Everything runs smoothly and as a result the vision is realised. Job done!

So last weekend was simply the next step in the plan that would keep us on that trouble-free path to success. It was scheduled for Round 1 of the Net-Gain Series. For those who remember the ‘Power League’ it was a variation on a theme with some additional twists and added spice. It was all about raising the bar, but…

…it was cancelled!

This wasn’t in the plan. After all the attention paid to the detail this shouldn’t have happened. The plan is foolproof…guaranteed to succeed. No hiccups. But there were.

It was simply down to an organisational blip that I have to shoulder the responsibility for. A message handed out and a lesson for me to learn.

But things happen for a reason.

The team that wins on a Saturday is the one that handles adversity the best. It’s the one that is hit by problems but has the greatest capacity to overcome them. This situation was no different.

By Wednesday of last week the decision was taken to cancel Round 1 but we had to put something in its place…something that would be meaningful. We opted for a training match within the squad. Five sets of competitive volleyball and a chance for the players to demonstrate how much progress they had made even since our Ireland weekend. But with Round 1 of the Net-Gain Series being cancelled the question was how seriously would the players take the training match?

For the first time, since the day back in March when I began working with the Programme, we returned to the hall at Coltness High School. Quite a contrast from the buzz of The Peak –  just one man (the Janitor) and not a dog in sight!

If others had happened to drop into the hall they would have been pleasantly surprised by what they saw. Fourteen players performing at a level which back in March we could only talk about. Sure, there were mistakes and untidy phases of play but these were outweighed by some excellent pieces of high quality volleyball that clearly underlined the progress these players have made.

The players knew this was one of the last opportunities for them to impress in advance of selections for the 2012 Novotel Cup to be held in Luxembourg at the beginning of the New Year. The individual competitive stakes were high yet the team performance still shone through. At one point the game developed into a slug-out where one side out hit the other with sheer power. That was a real ‘eureka’ moment. Now we were really playing volleyball!

The set scores didn’t matter. Who won and who lost didn’t matter. But the level of performance did and the players left the hall at the end of the session knowing that they had stepped up.

The Net-Gain Series will still run as scheduled in late January and mid-February 2012. It will still help to serve the purpose that it is designed for. But if Round 1 had gone ahead as planned then we might not have seen what we did last Sunday.

So, you see…things do happen for a reason.

Craig Faill Head Coach
Senior Women’s National Team Programme