Vangelis Koutouleas beach volleyball clinic at St Andrews: teaching the fundamentals

Vangelis introduced a very clear and simple technical and tactical model for controlling the ball. The aim of this model is maximise attacking options and to enable attackers to have access to their power shots and to have a variety of others. . This model is used by many teams at the very elite level so it was good for our coaches to scribble some notes.

His coaching philosophy is ball control and emphasis on tactical decision-making, which implies that his players have trained a lot physically and mentally . In his own words:

 “I like my players to think during the game so they can solve problems and to stress them mentally. When training is hard the games are easy. In volleyball you get what you deserve, and what you paid for. And the currency for this payment is the effort you put in to training…”

He also added that beach volleyball and indoor can complement each other and kindly offered his help for future coaching education opportunities. He was generous in his comments about Scottish players “They have the talent, the motivation and the perseverance required, the only thing that they don’t have is an indoor beach court”.

In St Andrews the weather did not allow us to start outdoors, which led us to our plan B. Thanks to Callum Moir and his club University of St Andrews, we were able to use the indoor facility for the first part of the session. This change of plans proved actually useful as Vangelis got the chance to clarify his own model of play without any disruptions from the bad weather. His calmness and expertise quickly captivated the 16 candidates who put a lot of effort in and really listened to him.

Later on in the afternoon the weather improved and we headed to the West Sands beach. The theme of the day was ball control with complicated drills that demanded the player’s full attention, using two and even three balls on the same drill. Players had to focus their attention to the limit, the wind made their lives even more difficult but they responded. After training finished at around 4pm (an hour extra delivery that what was promised) Vangelis carried on an extra hour and coached players who will be representing Scotland at the continental cup. This was an excellent opportunity for our beach coaches to see how elite performance training should be and get some new ideas on how to stretch player’s capacity.

Vangelis couldn’t help noticing how warm and passionate people are about the game here in Scotland. He particularly expressed a high opinion for people like Colin and Shelly Paterson who with their hard work kept the game alive then game for the past 10 years. I could only add that the warmth of the people here contemplates the cold weather.

The next day at Wallace high school new sand pit .Vangelis provided two excellent introductory courses one for children and one for teachers there. The teachers were delighted from Vangelis expertise and from the fact that Lynne Beattie was there to share her own story of volleyball success and to tell kids and grown ups that they are allowed to make volleyball dreams. The teachers even sacrificed their lunch break to play on which was a clear sign that they enjoyed the sessions

Assisting Vangelis for two days and seeing his expertise being delivered to our coaches and athletes made me feel reassured about the future. Scotland is part of a greater picture we have the connections and the people to allow us to constantly update our knowledge and to be aware of recent trends of the game

We have been lucky to have had the services of the professional beach coach Vangelis Koutouleas last Sunday at St Andrews. Special thanks to his company side out, who allowed him to offer his expertise, and to everyone who participated making this day a success.

On the 9th August 2014, a Scottish beach coach, Morph Bowes, currently part of the Dutch National coaching team, will also be coming to share his knowledge and proficiency to our coaches and players. As Scotland’s first official involvement in senior European Beach Volleyball competitions is in two weeks, it is safe to say that the game is becoming stronger, despite the many difficulties. In the wise words of William Blake; “If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise”

Ioannis Panayiotakis
Coaching Manager