Men’s National Team Christmas Camp.
Four days, 39 players, 10 coaches, 2 managers – it was all going on at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility for the latest Men’s National Team Camp on 28,29, 30 December and 4 January.
Once again, the camp combined the Senior and YS (Junior) squads, and this was great as the seniors acted as role models and selected YS players were able to step into sessions at the higher level. The fantastic Ravenscraig two-court facility is a superb place to hold the camp – warm, dry (important given the weather!), meeting rooms, café on site and the players benefitted greatly from being in such a luxurious setting.
The aim of the camp this year was development for qualification (seniors) and finals (YS) for the CEV Small Countries Division Championships. The juniors are the current Men’s U20 holders, but will have a tough challenge in Cyprus at Easter, so it was crucial that the squad practise and improve so that there will be a good chance to retain their title. After last year’s senior finals, the squad needs to improve its consistency so that they can compete with Luxembourg and Cyprus for next year’s gold.
To this end, the camp was about developing blocking and defensive techniques and systems, and also dealt with hitting weight and power. Each day had two 2-hour practice sessions, where all the players worked extremely hard, and there were also lunchtime discussion sessions on such areas as team goals, strength and conditioning, sport psychology and time management.
At the same time, there was a Level 3 coaching course being run by Ioannis Panayiotakis, and the two candidates did some of their practical work with the YS squad, providing a very valuable addition to the usual complement of coaches. This also enabled the more experienced coaches to provide useful feedback to the candidates on their practical coaching and session management skills.
At the end of camp, the players had worked very hard and made good progress, but were pretty exhausted (as they should have been!). The coaching team agreed that they had seen considerable improvement in both squads, but there was still more to come. The four Power League fixtures in January and February will enable players and coaches to apply their improvements to match situations which should then bear fruit for the upcoming SCD competitions.
A great time was had by all concerned – here’s looking forward to Christmas Camp 2016!
Assistant Coach, Men’s NTP