Men’s National Team Xmas Camp – Level III Coaching Course

The Christmas Camp held at the Ravenscraig sport centre achieved different aims at the same time. While both senior men and junior national teams embraced this development opportunity to focus on specific areas of their performance the success was not only limited to the players. This Christmas camp provided an ideal opportunity for presenting the level 3 award to three motivated coaches who, like the players and the national team coaches, chose to spend three days of their holidays so they can improve their practice.

The level III award is designed to investigate and develop the coaching practice of the participants. .  The junior men national team provided a platform to put the theoretical part of the course into practice.  The improvement in the level of the juniors’ volleyball over the 3 days was clear and encouraging to see. Coaches, like the players, got better by actively participating, applying learning principles to a demanding and stressful coaching environment. 

The candidate coaches were extremely fortunate to have the excellent mentoring of Bill Stobie and Simon Coleman who patiently and unselfishly provided appropriate and specific feedback on their practice. I believe this was the key to the success of the course, the presence of ‘more significant others’ .By the end of the third day it felt that candidates understood better the importance of rhythm in training and how to provide short, punctuated and precise feedback without disrupting the flow of the training . As one of the candidates argued “I will look at limiting the interventions that I put into my sessions and try to evaluate the need for interventions vs the need to develop via participant learning.”

The solid science behind this course can hopefully help candidates to structure specific practice sessions, to reflect, and the relevant performance analysis discussed will help them in their future planning as another candidate explains “I believe the course was challenging for me in a good way – proved the strong points and pointed on weaknesses as well. It was extremely beneficial to work alongside with more experienced colleagues.

The course in my opinion aligned very well with the needs of the junior national team. It was evident that there was a change in performance. The differences can be small but they can lead to radically different consequences, like a railroad’s switch point; the coach trade consist in good part of being aware of these differences and foreseeing their effects.”

Gratitude is due to all the juniors for their tireless efforts and their enthusiasm during the camp. They demonstrated a calm stubborn courage and a capacity to sense their own development. Their passion and hard work paid off. It seemed to me that in 3 days they have won a small but decisive battle against the years that lay ahead. It is now time to try and give weight and shape to their volleyball dreams.

Ioannis Panayiotakis
SVA Coaching Manager