SWNTP take on newly crowned European Champions

SWNTPOver the Easter weekend the Senior Women’s National Team had a training camp from Friday to Sunday at The Peak in Stirling.  It was a chance for the team to train in back to back sessions and an opportunity to build as a team as we enter our final phase of preparation for the CEV Small Countries Qualifiers in June.

Recent training has been going well but this camp was a valuable opportunity for us to replicate what the weekend will be like in June at the Qualifiers.  At Perth, we will face 3 days of match play, with 2 matches on the second day.  At the camp we had 2 or 3 sessions a day with inter-squad scrimmage matches on the Friday and Sunday. 

On the Saturday we took on the Young Senior Men’s Team. They had just returned buoyant from their CEV European Finals as Champions so we knew they would be full of confidence and difficult to beat.  We played 5 sets, allowing Craig to get everyone on court for an opportunity to show what we can do.  Not used to hitting over such a high block, we were forced to weather a storm very early on in the match….not to mention playing over a net just slightly lower than men’s height! However, this opportunity was not about the outcome of the match, it was about how well we could solve the problems presented to us and our ability to work as a team to adapt to different challenges that we faced and this is something we did very well. 

Despite the YS men winning all 5 sets (25-15, 25-13, 25-18, 25-20, 25-20), we definitely competed with them and learned not only how to solve the problems they presented to us, but also how to cause them problems.  We asked questions of them and made it more difficult for them to play how they wanted to play, so for us that was a massive step forward.  We know we probably won’t have to face the same challenges of block and serve in June but it was definitely a worthwhile experience for us taking on different challenges.  The game also highlighted our weaknesses in which we can now work on and take forward to the next game.

The camp was very positive in terms of our volleyball performance and team dynamics.  If we are to be successful going forward, we must perform as a team and this was one of the highlights of the weekend.  We looked like a team, acted like a team, and most importantly played as a team…  This will make us very difficult to beat.

A big thank you to all the coaches and support staff that made the camp so successful.  Training is now coming thick and fast as the tournament approaches. We now have weekly Wednesday training sessions at Calderhead High School and training every weekend leading up to the Qualifiers.  Our next match in preparation for June is on the 4th May against a Division One Select Men’s Team, so get along to The Peak, Stirling, for some top level volleyball. 

The countdown is now on… with 6 weeks to go, we have a lot of work to do, but the progress we have made on and off the court over the last few months has been amazing and we are all looking forward to a very intense and exciting time ahead.

SWNTP Captain – Jen Thom

Photos courtesy of Ross Dowens