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09/05/2016 21:51
Atomic Girls inspire next generation of Volleyball players
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Sopot, Poland, May 9, 2016. Apart from contesting plenty of important matches in the national league as well as in the 2016 edition of the elite CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League, PGE Atom Trefl SOPOT were busy also in setting up and carrying out about 20 projects in local schools throughout the season that just came to an end. This number of actions is maybe equally important for the club as the medals claimed by their senior and junior teams in domestic competitions.

Click here to see a video of the clinic involving the Atomic Girls and 80 kids from a local school

Whilst the senior players of PGE Atom Trefl were fighting for the best possible result in their national league and the younger Atomic Girls were trying to retain the crown they had claimed in the 2015 edition of their age-group national championship, all players on the roster were involved in an impressive number of actions promoted in local schools and organised also at their home hall, the iconic Ergo Arena. In fact, the current Polish vice-champions organised about 11 Volleyball clinics with kids, but it was not the only one type of activities that PGE Atom Trefl SOPOT were responsible for.

“We are not totally satisfied with these numbers, because our goal is to organise such clinics at least twice a month. However, sometimes it is not possible due to the tight schedule, and especially when our players have to play some away matches or there is very little time to prepare for the next matches. Anyway, the cooperation with our coach is simply perfect, he is always very open and ready to organise visits to schools, giving us the opportunity to organise clinics anytime this is possible,” says Katarzyna Wirkowska, PGE Atom Trefl press officer.

The club from Sopot is quite well-known also for some extra-Volleyball activities, like for instance workshops relating to road safety. Additionally, PGE Atom Trefl has been supporting the organisation of tournaments involving primary, secondary as well as high schools.  

The latest addition this year was that classes of students were invited to follow training sessions and matches from the stands. Once the Atomic Girls could entertain some 80 kids from a school situated about 60km away from Sopot. The loudspeaker was necessary to control and manage such large contingent of kids, who were divided into smaller groups, each one under the leadership of one of the Atomic Girls. The practice lasted for about two hours and was finished by the loudest-ever shout of “Atom Boom”, the team’s motto.

“I think that such actions are just essential for kids to encourage them to join physical education lessons in their schools or to inject passion for sport. On the other hand, it is also very helpful for us, players, because kids have a very different view and understanding of the game and so it turns out to be quite inspiring for us also. We can feel that our work has a deeper meaning,” explains Maja Tokarska, middle blocker of PGE Atom Trefl.

The two-hour-long practice was one of the longest that was held in the space of nine months. Most of the times, two or three players from the team and their coach have visited kids at their school spending one hour with them to share the ABC of Volleyball.

“Even if it only lasts for one hour, I think it’s very good to organise such kind of activities. The children get closer to the sport and also get to know the local heroes. So I think it is good to have clinics or practices like these ones to motivate other people, because kids always look up to what you do because you are older or bigger. So we are spotted as some kind of example and role model too. In the Netherlands each one of the players from the national team has to go to a school and to give a presentation about herself. Then we also have a practice that lasts for about one or one hour and a half together with the kids. It is good to have some contact with them, to talk about your life and how different it is from theirs. Maybe some of them will be willing to do the same one day,” adds Maret Balkestein-Grothues, the Dutch-born outside spiker of Atom Trefl SOPOT.

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