The establishment of a new volleyball “Centre of Excellence” and the appointment of several high-level key personnel will form the cornerstone to Volleyball Australia’s Tokyo Olympic cycle.
Volleyball Australia has set a goal of qualifying both the men’s and women’s indoor teams, plus a men’s beach team, for Tokyo, and building on the quarter-final appearance of Australia’s top women’s beach team in Rio.
A detailed review of the beach volleyball and men’s and women’s indoor programs is already underway, and several other important decisions have already been made.
Volleyball Australia will be establishing a Centre of Excellence for the women’s indoor program at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, with doors expected to open early next year.
The men’s Centre of Excellence is already operating at the AIS, providing top level coaching, training and facilities for the next generation of helloworld travel Volleyroos.
The indoor centres will complement the beach volleyball Centre of Excellence in Adelaide.
“We anticipate the women’s Centre of Excellence will work with the men’s high performance program which is already running successfully at the AIS,” Volleyball Australia High Performance Manager, John Boultbee, said.
“It will be an exciting time for volleyball in Australia, with the two full-time indoor Centres of Excellence helping develop our next generation of helloworld travel Volleyroos, coupled with regular team camps utilising the helloworld travel Volleyroos training centres.
“It is expected that in the first year of this new program, some of the helloworld travel Volleyroos who are interested in playing volleyball professionally will seek to be part of this full time program.”
Expressions of interest have already been called from players of school leavers age and above to join the new Centre of Excellence, and applications are being sought for the important role as the Centre’s inaugural women’s coach.
“The coach will work closely with the men’s Centre of Excellence coach to optimise the provision of services and facilities for the two full time programs in Canberra, and with the head coach of the women helloworld travel Volleyroos, to ensure that the progression from the Centre of Excellence to the helloworld travel Volleyroos is seamless,” Mr Boultbee said.
He said he expected the new coach would be appointed within the next two months, and there will also be opportunities to appoint assistant coaches for both C of E programs.
Mr Boultbee also announced the appointment of experienced event organiser, Baz Wedmaier, to the newly created role of Head of Beach Volleyball Events.
“Baz has run several international beach volleyball events in Australia and overseas, including most recently the Continental Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament in Cairns in June,” Mr Boultbee said.
“We are very excited to appoint Baz to this role, where he will oversee the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour events, the creation of potential additional Australian beach events, and will also support Oceania and Asian Beach Volleyball activities.”
“VA will be hosting significant international beach volleyball events in the future, including the Volleyfest Tournament at Manly Beach next year and the following year, and this appointment will significantly enhance the capacity of VA as a major event organiser.”
Volleyball Australia is also looking to appoint a full time Pathways Director to enhance the development of athletes, coaches and officials, and to oversee both beach and indoor national junior programs and their connection with the Centres of Excellence.
Mr Boultbee stressed the importance of hitting the ground running following the Rio Olympics.
“We have set ourselves some tough but very achievable goals for Tokyo 2020, and the work towards that has to start now,” he said.
“We are currently undertaking in-depth reviews of both the indoor and beach high performance programs, to plan the culture, structure and activities of these programs for the coming Olympiad.
“Submissions have been sought from those associated with the programs over the period leading up to Rio, and the outcomes of the reviews will be made public.”
Australia has not qualified a men’s beach volleyball team for the Olympics since 2008, and has not had a women’s indoor team at a Games since Sydney 2000.
The men’s indoor team fell just short of qualifying for Rio, after competing in London in 2012.
For more information on the exciting programs ahead for Volleyball Australia, please contact High Performance Manager, John Boultbee, at firstname.lastname@example.org