After a busy introduction to my new role as regional development officer, I am really looking forward to working with the Scottish Volleyball Association during what is a very exciting time for our sport. Summer 2014 has been an incredible time for Scottish Sport, but for Scottish Volleyball in particular, making history with some memorable results in international competition and two fantastic opportunities for us to showcase our amazing sport and put ourselves on the world map as hosts of both international indoor and beach volleyball competition.
As a nation we have witnessed just how powerful sport can be and now is the time to capitalise on this. The passion that the association has to drive our sport forward is infectious and parallels my own passion for the sport and its future in Scotland.
Going forward, I would like to report back on some of the exciting things that I am involved with as part of my role as RDO. After just a few months in post, I have already experienced some amazing things and a common theme has emerged from most of these; there is no magic to making things happen, just hard work.
I would like to begin my RDO report on a club that I believe is the epitome of the above statement and who have recently received some good news as a result.
City of Edinburgh VC:
Not long in post, I was invited to the City of Edinburgh Volleyball Club Summer Junior Development Camps. It was the last week of the school holidays and a group of our junior volleyball players from City of Edinburgh filled the sports hall at Queensferry High School. Refreshed from a few weeks holiday, and excited about the new season ahead, the camps were a chance for players to further develop their skills with the new season approaching and an opportunity for additional training for those travelling to the Manchester Sainsbury’s School Games in September.
As a new member of staff at the SVA, I was keen to go along to both the boys and girls camp to meet the players and staff that make it happen at the junior club level. The chance to get to know the players and for them to get to know me is something I was keen to do as soon as possible. First up was the boys; I attended on the last day of a 3 day camp, led by Ian Brownlee, assisted by Doug Crockhart and Danny Traylor, and received a very warm welcome from both players and staff. I could immediately feel a sense of hunger and desire to learn radiate around the hall the second the session began. There was a level of focus that, if I’m honest, surprised me from a group of junior players. There was an open-ness about the players, willing to take on information in order to improve and there was a really impressive performance level at first impression.
Next up was the girls; led by Nick Moody and assisted by Juliana Facanha and Jennifer Thom. Nick was one of my first coaches at junior level and it was great to see him have the same positive impact on this group of girls as he had on me all those years ago.
This opportunity to work with the players and staff at the club was extremely valuable. The players are making the most of the opportunity to work in a great learning environment where they have the crucial support from parents and coaches at a good facility. It was great to see the results of an organised programme of training and competition and I am really looking forward to working with the club in my role as RDO (East).
More recently, the club have just received the fantastic news that they are to receive £1700 funding for their new U13 Project. This funding was applied for through the Big Lotteries 2014 Communities Fund and after months of waiting, were given the good news just this month. This funding will enable to club to employ a head coach to deliver the U13 programme, purchase new balls and cover costs such as player membership to the SVA.
As RDO, I have been invited to be a part of the U13 project in a supportive role and acting as a mentor for a group of young coaches who will be a huge asset to the project going forward. These young coaches have shown a passion to coach and have recently completed their UKCC Level One award, looking to fast track to level 2 within the next few months. All 6 of these coaches are an integral part of the City of Edinburgh Volleyball Club and have progressed through the pathway from junior to senior level themselves and are now wanting to give something back to the club.
I think this is an amazing opportunity for the City of Edinburgh VC and one that I am honoured to be a part of. The announcement is a reward for a lot of hard work that has been going on to develop the club and the performance pathway from primary age all the way through to senior international representation.
This is just one of the many great things that are going on in my region. I am delighted to work in such a great sport and look forward to reporting back on my next few months in post.