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22/02/2015 19:38
NANTES VB pleased with their home-grown players
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Nantes, France, February 22, 2015. The debut of NANTES VB in the elite CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Women this season coincided also with the opening of the club’s development centre.

This includes as many as six players all aged from 17 to 21. They train for 12 to 14 hours a week and each receive an individual, tailor-made programme. Two of these players already perform with the first team, whilst all others compete in the second division of the national league. They all are still attending high school or have enrolled in a university programme.   

The director of this programme, Françoise Denis, explains: “This training centre reflects the philosophy of our club. We want to provide players with an opportunity to work on their technical, physical, tactical and psychological skills in a disciplined but still family-like environment so that one day they will be able to play at the highest level. Our development centre is therefore the place where to develop and grow young Volleyball players who one day will join our first team or some other teams elsewhere in France.”

Denis insists that the programme is aimed at combining sport and education so that once they will complete their studies and/or stop playing these ladies will have an opportunity to find a job that is in line with their skills and educational background. “We want to inject some good, core values and work on their awareness so as to lay the foundations for their future personal and professional life,” she says.

Opposite Victoria Foucher is one of two players from this group who have already performed alongside NANTES VB first team. “To be able to attend classes and play matches of the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League I had to find a way to juggle from my academic duties and my personal commitment to the sport I like,” she says. “There is also one good thing from the extensive travelling we have in the European Cups. Sometimes it takes hours by plane to reach our destination and this is an opportunity to catch up on some homework that still needs to be done even though sometimes the fatigue gets the upper hand.” Victoria can communicate by e-mail with her teachers and this way she can easily ask questions to her teachers if she has missed some of her classes.

“The matches in the European Cups are much more demanding as there is a lot more to organise behind the scenes,” Foucher explains. “We also play in a different hall than the one we use for our home matches in the national league. There are a lot of rules to stick to and the matches take place on weekdays whilst we usually perform on weekends in the French league. As a player, this is a huge experience and an opportunity to watch closely some of the big names in this sport and to scout what other Volleyball nations are doing. However, in both cases, in the European Cups and in the national league, the goal is the same: to win.”

NANTES VB head coach Sylvain Quinquis acknowledges the advantages from having this development centre: “Our young players can realise via the Champions League what elite Volleyball really is. Secondly, this way you also have some back-up options which are highly necessary in times like we had in January where we were plagued by injuries. When needed, our students from the training centre can join the ranks of our first team. We were able to rely on their help especially with the two liberos we lined up for the match with Azeryol BAKU. They regularly join our trainings and so this way they know what we expect from them and this way they are ready to help in the best and quickest way.”

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