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18/06/2020 16:30
Volleyball a sport for everyone!
News from the CEV

Luxembourg, June 18, 2020. Volleyball truly is a sport for everyone! This is the main message shared on Thursday afternoon by Nicolas Sauerbrey in the third of four webinars addressed to coaches and physical education teachers working with young children at the entry level of the game. With this session, the CEV Technical and Development Department continued their extensive work and efforts to share knowledge with those involved in the implementation of the School Project at the grassroots level.   

Nicolas Sauerbrey is a former Volleyball player, who returned to the sport as a trainer, eventually becoming a renowned coach and Technical Director at the French Volleyball Federation.

As he addressed 24 attendees from a variety of countries, he highlighted that beginners are making the same errors, regardless of their age. Therefore, to be a good coach for children, it is important to focus on what the player is doing before he/she is touching the ball. For all players, whatever level, they need to learn just like any others.

Everywhere there are popular adaptations to the game, including shortening the size of the court, lowering the net, and decreasing the number of players on the court. However, this is not always the right approach, Nicolas emphasised, because this often produces an exercise with no rallies (and only aces and direct faults instead). Furthermore, such variations result in no game and no movement due to poor activity, which leads to no motivation.

When planning a training or exercise for kids, the coach or teacher should always remember that children focus on activity but also on socialisation. Moreover, they sometimes have a short attention span and a lot of energy at the same time.

Sauerbrey showed seven videos to illustrate the different levels of difficulty for an exercise, also categorised by colour to understand the skills required to perform it (white level, purple, orange, etc.). The progression led from a simple 1vs1 exercise where catching, throwing, and movement were the focus until the final 7th level of normal 2vs2 Volleyball across the net.

Nicolas finished his inspirational presentation discussing an example of how to modify a tournament competition for the younger age groups. This involves teams of six players divided by colour level beforehand, who enter the tournament playing a game of that level. The winning groups move up and have the opportunity to collect stickers and/or wristbands of different colours as a motivation to change levels. Through such a modification to the competition, the motor skills and technical skills of the participants improved, and the entire tournament attendance increased from 45 kids to more than 100 at the end!

The webinar included a Q&A session, with the attendees asking Nicolas to define the best age to start playing Volleyball, and if the net height should be lowered for lower age groups, or stay the same. Other questions focussed on how to keep the children encouraged and motivated as they may struggle after moving to a higher level - and much more.

“I am really enjoying these coaching sessions – and I am looking forward to getting back to work with my players to try out these new ideas!” said Jack Neylon from Ireland, where the CEV School Project has already helped mobilise children and increase participation in the sport.

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