‘I first came in contact with sitting volleyball via Merijn Bruijne. He is the No. 5 for the Dutch Men’s Sitting Volleyball team and he is the son of a good friend of mine. His dad, Cor Bruijne, was the Team Manager of the Dutch men’s team and he asked me, together with the head coach at the time Joze Banfi, to help out and assist their training sessions. I was, and still am, a standing volleyball trainer but at the end of 2012 I took the opportunity and started by teaching their newest players the basic Volleyball skills. After some time I started to become more and more involved having learnt a lot from their Head Coach Joze Banfi.
It turned out that, the Dutch Women’s National team were looking for a new coach-trainer, and Joze had the idea that it would possibly be a good role for me to fulfill. So he started looking for some assistant coaches to assist the both of us. With the plan that Joze would become a supervisor over all coaches to help out where ever he could. Sadly Joze past away soon after I was appointed as head coach so this never happened.
It took me quite a while to understand the differences between Volleyball and Sitting Volleyball and I think that the biggest mistake standing Volleyball coaches can make is that it looks very similar to Volleyball and that they want to use the same principals in Sitting Volleyball.
I have tried to avoid this by listening to the Women’s national team players first and finding out what their view was before I involved my existing Volleyball trainer-coaching skills.
One thing that you have to really think about is that every player has limits on what is or what isn’t possible because of their disability.
Something that isn’t any different to any other regular sport, is that the management of the team processes are a very important factor to the success of the team.
Your individual players can be incredibly amazing, however if together they don’t create a team and are not willing to work hard for each other, you will never become a champion.
This aspect is what I like the most about my role as head coach. So my ‘tip’ to beginning as a trainer-coaches is to make sure that there is enjoyment and motivation with all players and to get everyone on the same page. Only then, you are able to work efficiently on the volleyball technical skills.’
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