West Australian alumni, Luke Smith, who represented Australian at the 2012 Olympics in London, reveals to VWA some of his experiences in playing for the Czech Republic tean VK EuroSitex Pribram in the Men’s Extraliga Volleyball League.
How long is your contract?
I am on contract until May depending on how far we go in finals. I arrived here direct from Perth at the end of August so have been here for 3 months so far.
Are there other foreigners playing on your team?
Yes, myself and my Canadian roommate Max Burt (national team middle blocker). There are not a great deal of foreigners in this league as there is much depth and already a high level group of Czech players.
How do you cope with the language differences?
It can be difficult and frustrating at times, but there are teammates and people that can speak decent English and help us with translation. For example, our coach speaks to the team in Czech and we normally have to ask and get translations on the important things said..
Do you have any Big games or tournaments coming up?
We have yet to play a strong match as a team against the ‘top teams’.. As a result we are sitting mid table but on the rise as this new team comes together and seeks to improve through the season.
What position do you play?
I play pass-hitter (pos. 4) but have been used in emergency situations as an opposite (eg. injury to other players etc)
Have you made friends with your team mates?–
One of the things I love about professional volleyball is the connections and friends you meet along the way. My team is a bunch of really cool and nice guys that I get along with very well. Hopefully this will strengthen our on-court connection and team performances into the long season ahead.