SWNTP: It’s Time To Turn Up The Gas!

The club season is reaching that tense and exciting period when Championships and National Cup Competitions will be decided. Players and Coaches will be working hard to make sure they are as best prepared as they can be to face the challenges that the crunch games will bring. Many of the players in the SWNTP will be involved in these key matches, all hoping to produce their best performances on the day. At the back of their minds will also be the knowledge that the CEV Small Countries Division Final 2015 is only a matter of sixty days away.

March and April are important months in the club calendar and as a result the SWNTP steps back in its intensity to allow the players to concentrate on club business. In many ways this intense period of club volleyball brings the best out of the players, as was evidenced with the performances in the recent clashes between the top three sides in the Women’s First Division. If the players can sustain this level of performance over the coming weeks then it will give our final preparations in the build up to the Final a significant boost.

Once the dust has settled on the Championships and Cup Finals we will be ready to turn up the gas as the SWNTP kicks into life once more. However, even before then the players will face up to three days of tough practice when they come together for a camp over the Easter weekend. The focus for this season has been on dealing with the ‘net battle’ and the camp presents us with a great opportunity to test all our earlier work in a more pressurised situation. At the same time it is our intention to set out our final plan in the lead in to the opening match on Friday 15 May in Liechtenstein. Through this season we have been fortunate to have received Sport Psychology support through Will McConn and he will be working with the players and staff to map out the various strategies that we will adopt as we gear up to the culmination of four years work.

The players will return to club duties for a few weeks after the camp as the season finally draws to a close with Finals Weekend on 18/19 April. Following that weekend it will be ‘all systems go’ with Saturday and Sunday sessions from the end of April onwards. This will be supplemented with midweek practice on Tuesday and Thursday evenings meaning that the players will be practising four times per week as we put the final pieces of our preparations in place. During this time the decision will be made as to which twelve players will make the journey out to Liechtenstein. This is the toughest part of coaching at National team level. Some will be elated at being selected while others will be very disappointed on missing out. What is important to emphasise is that each and every player has contributed to the progress that has been made this season. Indeed, each player that has featured in the SWNTP since March 2011 has helped to build the programme to where it is today.

There is still a lot of work to be done before we leave in less than sixty days time. However, no-one is shrinking from the challenge that lies ahead.

Craig Faill
Head Coach
Senior Women’s National Team Programme
16 March 2015