Following on from our successful Junior Beach Performance Camp last summer, it was clear there was a demand for Junior beach volleyball out there. This summer Volleyball Ireland in partnership with the Olympic Federation of Ireland set about creating a new programme with junior player development at the forefront. Youth Development officer Conor Flood said “The focus for 2020 was to set up regionalised training days and blitz events to allow those younger players opportunities to engage more often with high level coaches but also to compete and sharpen their skills. Over the last few years, we have seen significant growth in youth volleyball players for indoor. We aim to transition these players and others across to the beach and keep their development progressing throughout the summer months”
In a summer of uncertainty and government restrictions the Junior tour managed to complete all events scheduled. The players got underway on Bettystown beach -Home to the Tokyo Olympic beach qualifier no less than 12 months prior. Under the expert tuition of national beach fitness instructor/coach Viera Hauriskova and national beach team coach Luciana Sombra the players got their summer underway. Across the next 6 weeks training would alternate to the western region and there would also be competition opportunities on both coastlines of the country for all players looking to take part.
The final competition stage that took place was combined with the women’s senior beach team training. This was an opportunity for the younger players to not only observe the training at times but also engage in a King and Queen of the court. All players had the chance to compete alongside and against the senior team, driving their development once more.
Ireland’s beach team coach Luciana Sombra had this to say on the final day.
“It’s great to see so many young and talented players taking to the beach and enjoying their volleyball. We are in the early stages of putting together a youth programme for the squads and aim to establish teams that will compete for Ireland on the European stage over the next number of years. From what I have seen over the summer we have a really good start”
As the Junior Beach Programme closes, we want to thank all 44 players, parents, coaches, our partners at the OFI, Meath and Clare LSP’s, county councils, staff, women’s senior team and everyone else that helped elevate junior volleyball this summer.
Congrats to our 2020 Champions!
U19 Boys Gareth Gilmartin & Cian Humphreys
U19 Girls Lara Nichols & Maria Jones
U15 Girls Emer Phelan & Laura Connolly
U15 Boys Conor O’Neill
We hope to see you all again on the beach next time!