Team Lanarkshire “Meet me at the Net”

Meet me at the net this week was done on a Sunday, rather than the traditional Saturday, which meant it was a visit to a Junior National League fixture.

Team LanarkshireThere is something about the Junior National League which gives a warm glow.  The Junior National League was introduced in the mid to late nineties and has benefited from the huge efforts of many people during this period.  There are too many to mention, but these people have put in literally hundreds of hours to provide a high level competitive outlet for their young players, coaching, organising travelling to matches, dealing with defeats and encouraging young sportspeople to choose volleyball as their number one sport.

Over the last two years a volleyball revolution has been taking place in Lanarkshire, in particular Carluke and Greg Coburn is the driving force behind it.  It was an U16 girls JNL match day with Team Lanarkshire entertaining Marr A and C and South Ayrshire and Greg was my host for the day.

Greg CoburnGreg started playing volleyball at Holytown Primary School and Brannock High School and enjoyed a National League career with Blantyre Brannock initially and then moving on to play with Su Ragazzi.  During this period he started the process of becoming a Coach and undertook a variety of SVA Coach Education courses, culminating in completing the SVA Teachers Award Part III.  It was however when Greg took up the post of Physical Education Teacher at Carluke High School that the wheels really began to turn in creating a volleyball dynasty in Lanarkshire.  The International Children’s Games in Lanarkshire was the initial focus for Greg to establish junior teams that would compete with some of the best young players in the world.  From this small acorn………………..

Team Lanarkshire now have 3 teams competing in the JNL.  An U16 boy’s team coached by Cameron Galloway (Su Ragazzi), an U19 boys team coached by Greg and an U16 girls team coached by Greg’s sister Lindsay.  The teams train at Carluke High School on a Wednesday night and have developed links with a number of schools including Stonelaw and Dalziel.  Greg’s club creates many opportunities for young players through participation and performance.  The boys U19 team travelled to England last year to play against teams from the North of England, Yorkshire and Middlesbrough and also had a trip to Whitby where they played 14 sets of indoor volleyball on the Saturday and played beach volleyball on the Sunday before travelling home.   There are also lunchtime sessions every day and an after school session on a Friday run by Greg for his school teams.  Greg has also been very successful in making sure the work involved in running a growing club is shared around and has established a committee of parents to carry out all the administration tasks that are essential for the smooth running of the club.  The club also received a donation from UK Steel Enterprises of £1000.00 which received sportsmatch funding to allow 8 feeder primary’s to continue to receive volleyball coaching with a view to establish an after schools club in the near future.  This is being staffed by two former pupils, Andrew Coutts and Scott Mackenzie who have undertaken UKCC Qualifications.  Greg has also been very successful in receiving SVA Development Grants which have helped buy new equipment for various projects.  Greg however is prepared to work even harder to help the development of volleyball in Scotland.  Over and above all the work he does in Lanarkshire, Greg also undertakes a variety of different roles to create opportunities for young players throughout Scotland.  These include:

  • Organiser of SVA National School Festivals for all age groups from P6 to S6 in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Wishaw and Grangemouth.
  • Organises and Administers the SVA Scottish Schools Cup for all age groups including the new Plate Competition.
  • Assistant Coach to the SVA Young Senior Men
  • Acted as both assistant coach and head coach to the UKSG Scotland East and West teams
  • Member of the SVA Youth and Schools Commission

Greg’s passion for volleyball has definitely been passed on to his players.  The goal for Greg’s newly established young girl’s team was to win one of their games and much to everyone’s delight they won their very last match.   On Sunday I watched some great volleyball being played by all of these young teams.  There was commitment, talent and a lot of smiles on show.

Kim Cruikshank & Blair GilliesName ; Kim Cruikshank
DOB 30-8-1998

Q  What is the best thing about playing for Team Lanarkshire?
A  The encouragement, enthusiasm and quality of coaching at Team          Lanarkshire is excellent! It makes it a fun and enjoyable experience. The facilities and equipment are top class and we get plenty of training days.

Q  What has been the best moment/match of your volleyball career?
A  My best moment at Team Lanarkshire would be our first match as the atmosphere and excitement was thrilling and everybody was ready for a fun day of volleyball. We also bonded and came together as a team!

Q  Who is your sporting hero?
A  Kelly Holmes

Q  What is your ambition in volleyball?
A  My ambition in volleyball is to train hard to improve my skills. I would like to stay with volleyball as long as I can and possibly get to international level. One day I hope to coach other people to help to expand volleyball as a sport.

Name; Blair Gillies
DOB; 11-11-1998

Q  What is the best thing about playing for Team Lanarkshire?     
A  The best thing about playing for team Lanarkshire Is being able to    play amazing volleyball with good people

Q  What has been the best moment/match of your volleyball career?      
A  The best match I have ever played is probably against Hungry in the ICG because it was the first match I had ever played against another team from a different country and the most enjoyable

Q  Who is your sporting hero?

A  My sporting is rafael nadal who got me interested in tennis then more sports like Badminton and volleyball

Q  What is your ambition in volleyball?       
A  My ambition in volleyball is to play for a club and travel the world with good people

Group PhotoThere are a huge number of highly committed and dedicated volunteers working tirelessly to develop Scottish Volleyball and we are sometimes not forward enough in celebrating their work and announcing it to the world.  On the evidence of what I saw on Sunday, Greg Coburn can be added to that long list of exceptional people working for Scottish Volleyball.

I would like to thank Greg Coburn, Lindsay Coburn and Team Lanarkshire for their hospitality on Sunday. I very much enjoyed my day at Carluke High School and look forward to seeing more Junior National League action in the Playoff finals at Wishaw Sports Centre on Sunday 11th March.

Sandra Grubb