One year ago, Lynus Wong & Dion Thompson were a new developing beach pair selected to represent NSW in the u17 Australian Junior Beach Volleyball Championships (AJBVC). They decided to join our 2014 UTS Junior Indoor Program and by attending weekly training at RMSH, quickly adapted their beach skills to the indoor game. Lynus & Dion travelled to Adelaide in January 2014 for their first appearance at a national championship in blistering heat conditions. They were part of the UTS Junior squad for the remainder of 2014 and played in SVL and numerous tournaments including Canberra Good Neighbour. Over the 2014/2015 Summer, Lynus & Dion focused on their beach training and played in various local beach tournaments. Their hard work paid off in early 2015, when they were selected to again represent NSW in the u19 Beach Squad. After months of preparations on the sand, they returned to Adelaide in April 2015 for their 2nd appearance at the AJBVC. Here is their story…
AJBVC Adelaide 2015 (by Lynus & Dion)
DAY ONE: After we had all settled in and had a hit at the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) the day before, we were well rested and mentally prepared for the exciting day ahead of us. There was no more time to prepare; all we could do is play our very best and hope that the efforts of our training would show. 06:30 was the planned breakfast time for everyone; we ended up being awoken early because Marcos still had his watch on Sydney time (half an hour later than Adelaide time). Begrudgingly, we all awoke to eat so we would have our strength for the big day. We left in three separate vans and made our way to the beach for an 08:30 start for some teams. Once our feet had begun to warm up to the cold, soft sand of Glenelg beach we were already getting our serving arms ready on empty courts. Unfortunately, Lynus and I were getting prepared and getting in the zone for our games ahead so we did not get to spend a lot of time seeing what the other teams were getting up to. Our first game was at 09:50 and we wanted to start out strong as it would be the first game for our opponents, so we planned to bring to the court what they wouldn’t have: intensity. Our excitement was soon dampened however as the WA team we were going to play against forfeited due to one of them feeling sick. With one ‘win’ under our belts we reluctantly did the duty we were scheduled for and decided to keep our thoughts on ‘bringing the fire’ to the next game. We were then up against another WA team, this one however, was familiar from last year. Lewington and Hunt were our opponents and were played hard but in the end it was a win for WA. After some much needed lunch, we headed out to play our next game against QLD. This was an interesting game as we had never seen this team play up until now. So we had to be on our toes when it came to analysing their game technique. We didn’t have enough time to combat their style and we went home that day with 1 win technically, but we felt a little disheartened. After a cool down session with Roger, we switched off to get ready for our games against SA and VIC, two tough teams.
DAY TWO: As our first game was at 11:10 we got to have a slight sleep in and have breakfast at 07:00. After we filled our stomachs our morning was spent scouting the strengths and weaknesses of the teams we would be up against later and supporting the other NSW teams. Our game came around soon enough and we played our hardest but SA took the win due to their experience and height. But Lynus and I came away with a lot of great tips from our dedicated coach; Roger Jones. We knew what small things we needed to tweak and what things were just out of our control. We took these tips to our next game, and although we felt a little disheartened as we prepared to play against our hardest team yet. This VIC team had one thing that we didn’t and that was height. Lynus still valiantly did the best blocking he could on such as a big team. He managed to read that they liked rolling line and peeled off to pick-up some great balls. Even though we lost, we felt that we played well. We then had another cool down session with Roger and that was it for day 2.
DAY THREE & FOUR: The pool play was over and gladly all the NSW teams had made it to the next round. However there was still a challenge to go as the first game we were to face Queensland’s top seed Ferguson and Poland which eventually won the U19 category. The first game on day 3 ended with a loss to Queensland 21-15, 21-10. Game 2 of day 3 was unfortunately also a loss to WA’s Chamberlain and Haddress in a tight match of 21-15, 22-20. Coming an overall equal 13th out of 18, we worked hard and played well although we didn’t achieve the result we wanted however it was a magnificent experience to return to Adelaide for a national tournament. The return was like a test to find out how much we improved in a years’ time and the results were very satisfying to find the improvement was quite drastic. A year before me and Dion had only played beach volleyball and we began to play at UTS last season and through many weekly trainings our skills became more evident. A lot of things we learn in indoor we cannot learn as fast in beach. Just a lot a variables we can control in indoor that we can’t in beach like wind, sets, sun, and most importantly rain. Having the best court to train (RMSH) and coaches in UTS (and the fact that it was the closest access to school and home) meant that we had the best possible and efficient trainings.
Thankyou to the UTS Volleyball Club, our Beach Coaches, Roger Jones and our NSW Head Coach Nam Pham.