Following almost a month of travelling through Europe with Volleyball Australia’s integrated European Tour, WA’s tour members have started to return home.
WA athletes Caleb Lampard, Lewis Peach, Sarah Burton and senior beach coach Jayson Fox have returned to Perth with a wealth of volleyball insights and cultural experiences, while Ky Landers and Tessa Browne are still overseas completing the last leg of the tour.
Led by Volleyball Australia Centre of Excellence Head Coach Margo Wiltens, the national junior development tour stopped in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Germany, Italy and Austria. Incorporating a range of training sessions, competitions and cultural experiences, Wiltens was excited the athletes could experience what it’s like to live like a beach volleyball athlete on tour.
“Bringing beach volleyball to those athletes in the ’tour life’ format was an amazing experience. They saw the senior athletes while in Gstaad, who they saw just a couple of days before on television playing at the [2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships] in Hamburg.” said Wiltons.
“We also had Damien Schumann from the Australian Helloworld Travel Beach Volleyroo’s sit down with the athletes to share his insights and experiences as an athlete which was an outstanding moment worth mentioning.”
With opportunities to train multiple times a day at locations such as the Swiss National Team training venue in Bern and World Tour venue in Gstaad, the athletes got a glimpse into what their future could look like.
WA coach Jayson Fox added that “the tour was a once in a lifetime opportunity for these athletes” to give them an understanding of what it’s like being an Australian athlete on the international circuit.
“The tour provided the athletes with a lot of learning opportunities. Life as an athlete on tour might look glamorous, but there is also a great deal of organisation, patience and hard work attached to it, so there were great lessons that were learned.” Fox said.
Reflecting on the lessons learnt and the overall experience, 18 year-old WA rising star Tessa Browne embraced the opportunity to learn new volleyball skills from different cultures.
“We were very fortunate to get to train with some players from Switzerland. We learnt a lot from them and received awesome coaching from the Swiss coaches. It was great to play against different styles of volleyball and challenge ourselves to step outside of our comfort zone,” said Browne.
The Integrated European Tour is the beginning of Volleyball Australia’s new direction for its high performance programs. Implementing an integrated approach at the Centre of Excellence, Volleyball Australia will focus on developing athletes for both codes of the sport and realigning its high performance pathway. Volleyball WA is excited to partner with Volleyball Australia and work towards new opportunities that support this united vision.