Volleyball WA shares its expertise across the globe

Volleyball is the second most popular sport in the world after round-ball football (soccer), with teams from the USA, Europe, and Asia proving strong in all major international competitions.

In 2020, an opportunity presented itself for a new partnership between Volleyball WA (VWA), KONI  JATIM (Indonesian National Sport Committee, East Java) and the East Java Men’s Volleyball team, with the support of Hallam Pereira, Associate Professor Adjunct at Edith Cowan University (ECU). The plan was to provide the team with expert coaching, and strength and conditioning support to increase their success in the fiercely competitive PON Games*  (Pekan Olahraga Nasional Games involves all 34 provinces of Indonesia). This was then to followed by the teams travelling to Perth for training and exhibition games against the WA Steel.

The WA project team consisted of VWA AVL Men’s Coach, Mitchell Collins and Dean White, owner of VWA’s official strength partner centre, Diamond Fitness. The globe was then shocked by the COVID-19 pandemic, which ceased international travel and competition and sent players into isolation. From there, the project was temporarily put on hold.

As countries adapted to the “new normal”, the project was reimagined and focus shifted to the East Java Women’s team. The team at Volleyball WA, which was extended to include VWA AVL Women’s Coach, Pauline Manser, swiftly adjusted to a digital program delivery with the help of local athletes who modelled the techniques and skills.

“The experience working on the East Java project has been a great way to build a relationship with one of our volleyball neighbours.” Said Manser.

“Finding the best way to communicate ideas and suggestions has been challenging, however it has provided an opportunity to further develop a clear and concise message around the AVL ethos. After many years competing against the distinct Asian style, my previous experience as the National Women’s Coach helped to inform the strategies we are using to adjust the team’s approach to find success in competition.”

“We used Zoom conferencing to communicate with coaches and players and video review to share weekly how the athletes were performing in practice. Then we used this to inform the development of strategies to implement in practice to continue the team’s progression. The long-term goal of this relationship is to create experiences for both WA and East Java athletes where we share our cultures and build lifelong friendships.” Manser added.

Diamond Fitness played another key role and worked closely with the VWA coaches and the KONI JATIM representatives to put together a volleyball specific strength and conditioning program for the East Java Women’s squad. Diamond Fitness owner, Dean White noted, “There have been many challenges in implementing the program. East Java was battling COVID-19 like many others and moved into a training bubble separating the team from some key staff.”

“We also worked our way through the language barrier and some philosophical differences. After many zoom meetings we have collectively solved these challenges, implemented, and completed the first phase of the strength and conditioning program. This phase focused on reducing the athlete loads, reducing athlete soreness and injury while allowing for more game speed training sessions to practice the new VWA tactics.”

“Phase 2 of the program provided some minor progression and targeted the specific weaknesses that were identified in Phase 1. The athletes and coaches really welcomed us with open arms and showed great commitment to the program. Most importantly the players were having fun, training with intent and focusing on improving on the court, where it counts!” White added.

VWA AVL Men’s Coach, Mitchell Collins had similar things to say about the experience and how the project has been both challenging and rewarding over the last 18 months.

“The impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic meant that East Java, KONI and Volleyball WA had to re-think the original project scope, which resulted in the opportunity to work with their Women’s program remotely.” Said Collins.

“Whilst working remotely had its difficulties, this provided opportunities on how we can deliver volleyball coaching through new technologies, using web conferencing, video feedback, and sharing resources. The project also provided Volleyball WA with an opportunity to experience and view a different training environment and gain an understanding of volleyball outside of Australia.”

Mitch’s hope is that we can continue and grow our relationship with East Java Volleyball and potentially build opportunities for both East Java and WA athletes to travel and play against each other or play within each other’s local leagues.

Volleyball WA see this project and others like it to follow as a great way for us to share our knowledge and specialist skills and contribute to the growth of the sport, here in WA and overseas.

Volleyball WA, CEO Robyn Kuhl said, “These sorts of international partnerships offer staff the opportunity for professional development and that the relationships built support the profile of our organisation as a leading State Sporting Organisation.”

We would like to acknowledge and thank the following individuals for their involvement in the East Java project:

Mr Satriagung Erlangga  (Chair, KONI JATIM)

Prof. Toho Cholik, KONI – Director of Sports Science

Dr Ibag Irmantara  (Deputy Chair, KONI JATIM)

Dr. Muhammad Muhyi, KONI – Sports Scientist (Assistant to Prof. Toho)

Dr. Mohammad Faruk, KONI – Sports Scientist (UNESA University)

Russ Mathanda, Consultant to KONI & Volleyball WA Contact in Surabaya

Hallam Pereira , Associate Professor Adjunct of Medical & Health Sciences – ECU

Pauline Manser, Australian Volleyball League – WA Women’s Head Coach

Mitchell Collins, Australian Volleyball League – WA Men’s Head Coach

Dean White, Diamond Fitness – Strength & Conditioning

Corban Wroe, Diamond Fitness – Strength & Conditioning

Jackie Tamburri, Volleyball WA State Teams & Events Coordinator

Robyn Kuhl, Volleyball WA Chief Executive Officer

*The East Java Women finished in second place at the PON games, being defeated by West Java in early October.   The task of assuming training of the underperforming East Java Women’s Team only commenced 5 months before the PON Games.

For more information on this project or elite Volleyball in our state, please contact State Teams on 9228 8522 or [email protected].