The course ran from May 17th to May 21st with 38 candidates taking part at Wingate Institute a sports training facility located south of Netanya, Israel. Named after Orde Wingate a senior British Army officer, the facility serves as the host facility for numerous Israeli national teams as well as a military training base.
The course participants were made up predominantly of various Israeli National Team coaches and players as well as Constantinos Hatzididamianou, part of the Cypriot Beach volleyball coaching team, and Gustavo Vega a candidate from Mexico who is coaching succesfully in Norway. Leading us through the course was the familiar face of a true legend of coaching education, Athanasios Papageorgiou, who had recently visited Scotland to present to the SVA Coaching conference, and the FIVB Instructor Avelino Azevedo. The wealth of experience they both brought to the course was priceless, welcoming questioning and creating a good learning environment.
The weather in Israel was just fantastic, which made all the practical sessions for teaching the fundamentals a lot easier. There were also lot of interesting presentations for the pedagogy of beach volleyball. We were strongly advised to take a game-like sequence that is to start off with greatly simplified basic patterns of play (e.g. throwing the ball over the string). Game-like sequences have to correspond structurally to the intended pattern of play as well as copy the real life game experience. The cooperation with the ball, like reception, setting, offence also demands a high level of continues concentration and coordination. There was a very interesting presentation from Dr Mark Wertheim called New tendencies in coordination training for Beach Volleyball which explained how great coordination is related to muscle-memory, but it has even more to do with the player’s brain, and its connection to the muscles.
We are also taught that in training is essential to get the players to think tactically, in order to do that we should first teach them the technique to be able to control the ball consistently. One of the most exciting questions from Athanasios to the candidate was which is the biggest benefit of an indoor player playing beach volleyball? Our predictable answers were partly correct however nobody really thought the obvious answer of mental training. In beach volleyball there is nowhere to hide if you are having a bad game. By day three we progressed into specific Principles of Beach Volleyball Training with Block and Defence structures and on day four we focused on offensive tactics and the recent trends of the modern game tactics. The fifth day of the course included a small tournament and all that need to be considered when and a review of the course.
The growing evidence available suggests that coaches ‘feel’ that more learning is taking place in the ‘informal’ setting, and the residential element of the course welcomed and celebrated this notion. Formal educational situations cannot encompass all of the experiential learning required to ‘embed’ learning and some of the most valuable conversations had taken place at lunch or dinner or even better at the courts of Gordon beach after the official part of the course had finished.
A strong component of the Federation’s strategy is to educate up-and to improve the knowledge and competence of coaches and teachers so that they may gain recognition as FIVB coaches. This was a demanding course, with many interested participants from different areas, who wanted to know more about the game and who now need to spread the knowledge. I have been presented with ideas to develop the existing beach volleyball coaching education. An internal method of qualifying coaches and teachers within Scotland can help the game grow on solid foundations. I was also very happy and surprised to see that the course tutors included our own SVA coaching award in the candidates’ USB at the end of the course
I would like to thank Israeli Volleyball federation for the hospitality extended to me during my visit there, and to Athanasios and Avelino for their excellent delivery. Special thanks to all the candidates who I was fortunate to meet, they made Israel feel like home and hopefully we can meet again in the future.
Scottish Volleyball Association