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LVA speaks to their coach, Jack Molyneux (or “Sir” to the boys), on why going to the championships means so much to the team.
How did the team get through to the International Schools Federation World Schools Championships?
In order to be invited to be England’s representative we had to win the national under 16 schools and clubs competition which we did last year in April at the Volleyball England national finals weekend. This has taken 5 years of really hard work and we needed to compete with all the major clubs and established volleyball academies in order to do this.
Why is it so important for the team to go to the tournament?
We would like to accept the invitation for many reasons. Firstly that it would be a great experience for us to compete at a higher level both in terms of enjoyment and progression. Secondly coaches and players will have the opportunity to learn from other teams in terms of game play, tactics and and training methods to enhance our level of play. It will also provide incentive as to the levels we should aspire to. Additionally it will be a great honour to represent our country at the world schools championships as we have earned the right to go.
We also caught up with David Amah, the team captain.
Is this the first time England has qualified for the World Schools Championships? Has a London team ever represented England before?
Every nation has the right to send their national champions to the world schools championship but I believe this is the first time that a school from London will be attending at least in recent years.
Tell us about your training in the run-up to qualification. How often did the team train?
In the run up to national championships we were training extremely hard; four times a week with balls and also doing a ‘SpeedAgilityQuickness’ session which included plyometric work once a week, so five times in total. We were also competing at least once a week in the London or National league along with junior tournaments.
How did you/the team balance training along with school commitments etc?
It is not easy to balance all school and volleyball commitments. We all had to plan ahead and try not to waste time on things that maybe some teenagers have the time to do, such as computer games and reality TV. We all know how important our education is and the most intelligent members of the team often help anyone on the team who is struggling in a certain subject. Sir [Molyneux] also makes us revise on the mini-bus during exam periods, revising together really helps.
What does attending the tournament mean to you/the team?
We will be really proud to represent our nation as national champions. In this case our hard-work really paid off and we really want to able to take up our nominated place. It means a lot to be able to test our skills against the best in the world. Hopefully we will learn a lot as individuals and as a team.
What are England’s chances of winning the tournament?
From my experience of international volleyball, the odds are stacked against us because many of the other countries’ teams have huge amounts of funding for training and playing. Additionally, many of the schools we will be competing against recruit the best players from all over their countries. Our players all started at the school in year seven and are a genuine school team. However we will work extremely hard to win as many matches as possible and will approach the tournament with positivism and determination to play at the highest level we possibly can.
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