As we start the SVL season, we thought it would be good to share with you how our new Junior Boys program is going and the progress we have made since our last report in December 2013. We are proud to say we currently have 17 boys who have joined the program and are now junior members of the club. Originally we thought we would be scraping to make just one team this year, but after a little bit of marketing, use of social media and a lot of word-of-mouth amongst various groups, we have been able to come up with a roster of 2 teams in this year’s SVL competition. One team has a range of juniors with more experience, whilst the other is made up of school volleyball players, who are new to SVNSW volleyball. For this reason, we will have a Div 2 Men’s team for the more experienced junior players, and the other team will be entered in the U19 Junior Division of SVL. We also will be able to let some players move up and down as the teams need players, and to provide opportunities for the new players to experience senior volleyball. One of the big areas of focus for us as coaches, is to ensure all players can play in more than one position, and in particular we have been making an effort to get everyone to learn how to set the ball. You might be surprised to learn we have middles who can play libero, setters who can play outside hitters, liberos who can play as setters, and some of our middles can even do a great job as setters. This will allow the boys to play in different roles, depending on the team and will let them experience different skills, so they can decide at a later stage if they want to specialise in one role or continue with dual skills.
We train every Tuesday night at the UTS Multi Purpose Sports Hall Underground Stadium at Ultimo from 5.00 – 7.00pm. The venue is ideal for our junior boys as a lot of them travel via public transport after school, and its close proximity to Central Station makes it safe for the boys to travel. Each week we focus on different skills development and/or game play. We have been supported by various senior UTS coaches, namely Alberto Flamigni and Artem Ipatyev, who each brings their own unique style (and accent) as guest coaches from time to time. Keith Suckling has also provided specialist setting coaching to our up and coming setters. All of the boys really appreciate having different coaches come to our trainings and offer their words of wisdom.
The UTS Junior Boys played in 2 tournaments leading up to SVL. Firstly they played in the Manly Cup and last weekend the team boarded the UTS Minibus and headed down to Woollongong for the NSW State Cup 3. These tournaments were a great way for the boys to experience senior competition and coaches were able to test our different player/role combinations and develop the team in a real competitive environment. Thankyou to Artem, Alberto and Dan for offering their support during these tournaments and sparing the time to talk to the boys and give them some great advice. Special thanks to Clara for juggling her own playing commitments in the Womens Honours team, and still managing to get to court side to coach the team.
We have organised several practice matches to give our juniors valuable match experience as follows:
Match 1: UTS Juniors vs NSWU17s at NSW Junior Development Camp
Match 2: UTS Juniors vs NSWU17s at UTS Ultimo
Match 4: UTS Juniors vs UTS Intervarsity Team
Training prior to Match 3: UTS Juniors vs NSWU17s at SBHS. Tally is 1:2, so we hope to make it best of 5 matches 🙂
Match 4: UTS Juniors vs UST Div 1 Men at SBHS (Juniors pulled out a surprise win, 2:1)
It is important we provide all of the boys a development pathway, based on their experience and needs. For some, just to play SVL this year will be a big step. For others, playing in Div 2 against adults will be a new experience. We also hope that some time in the future, some of the more experienced boys will have an opportunity to train or perhaps play with some of our senior teams in higher divisions, and learn from other coaches and players. We also hope more of our juniors will be able to join State teams in the future and experience representing NSW at national competitions.
UTS Junior Boys Team from NSW State Cup 3 Illawarra
Thankyou to everyone at UTS for all of your support. Special thanks to Deb Chung, Nam Pham, Keith Suckling, Jo Kelly, James McRae, Gregor Salvin, Dan Gauci, Artem Ipatyev, and Alberto Flamigni for your continued support. Also, thanks to Jeff Horn for stepping in as team manager when we compete at tournaments and helping us organise the teams to compete.
Clara Loth & George Jigalin
Junior Boys Program Coaches