Volleyball’s time for constructive development

6844989-volleyball-wallpaperOver the past two months the local volleyball fraternity has been beneficiaries of an extended programme provided to the national federation by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Olympic Committee (SVGOC) called, Development of a National Sport Structure (DNSS).
Olympic Solidarity funds the DNSS. The financial allocation is between $25,000 – $30,000 US being made available to cover all related expenses.
The SVGOC has been accessing the DNSS programme for several years and most of the Olympic sports practised in the country has benefitted from it. Unfortunately it is not available to non-Olympic sports.
Olympic Solidarity is the development arm of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and it has a slew of programmes that NOCs around the world can access, regardless of their size.
The DNSS programme addresses the fact that in several countries national federations that are members of the country’s NOC often lack an appropriate structure both at the administrative and coaching levels. Olympic Solidarity notes…The main objective of this programme is therefore to allow National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to develop their national sports and coaching structure by implementing a mid- to long-term action plan for a specific sport on the Olympic programme.
Each NOC around the world can access one of the DNSS programme annually during any given quadrennial.
The SVGOC is responsible for accessing the DNSS. The process that is followed is based on the assessment of the needs of the different national federations that are members of the SVGOC.
For example, when swimming was getting off the ground with the pool at Shrewsbury, the SVGOC immediately availed a DNSS that saw an expert assigned to the organisation over a six-month period in 2012. That was an appropriate way of addressing the perceived needs of the swimming association at the time. Happily the organisation has made significant progress since then.
Once selected for the DNSS the national federation must engage in a detailed analysis of itself re its development status. Thereafter the organisation must work with the NOC in the development of an action plan that includes:

  • A detailed, mid- to long-term development plan, which should be coherent and realistic;
  • Training of local coaches and/or persons likely to continue the work initiated by the expert once the project has ended;
  • Improving the different training programmes for elite sport, if necessary;
  • Initiating projects for Sport for All and/or school sport;
  • Putting in place talent identification programmes.

The national federation should identify an expert – local, regional or international – agreed to by the respective international Federation (IF), to conduct the DNSS Programme. At the same time the national body is expected to identify a local coordinator to work along with the expert to ensure success of the DNSS.
A comprehensive budget is then prepared and the final document submitted by the SVGOC to Olympic Solidarity at least three months prior to the expected start date. This time frame allows Olympic Solidarity to dialogue with the IF and agree on the expert and the action plan.
Once approved a contract is signed by the SVGOC, the expert and Olympic Solidarity.
During the conduct of the DNSS the NOC expects to receive monthly reports on the progress being made in order to ensure that the action plan is adequately followed and yields the desired outcomes.
At the conclusion of the DNSS comprehensive reports have to be submitted. This includes an administrative report and a financial report by the SVGOC and a report from the expert. These are submitted for approval to Olympic Solidarity.
Volleyball 2014/5
The St Vincent and the Grenadines volleyball fraternity is currently enjoying its second DNSS programme. The first, undertaken some years ago, experienced numerous difficulties largely because of the commitment of the expert to both Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines on different assignments at the same time.
This time around the expert, Sean McKay, of Canada, is solely committed to St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The reports thus far indicates that several critical issues are being addressed and proposals are already on the table relative to ways in which there can be a much more structured approach to the development and sustainability of the programme.
There may well be reason to believe that should the proposed structure be introduced and the coaches rise to the challenges that are being placed before them the development pathway can not only be sustained but yield immense success.
Volleyball, like so many other sports practised in St Vincent and the Grenadines, is plagued with infrastructure issues.
Promises from government of an Indoor Sports Complex that would include Volleyball, really and indoor sport, have gone awry.
The current political administration had once given assurances that the National Lotteries Authority (NLA) would facilitate the transformation of the building that once housed the Glove Factory in Kingstown, into an Indoor Sports Complex.
After waiting several years without seeing any progress the indoor sports – basketball, boxing, netball, table tennis, taekwondo and volleyball, were all very disappointed when they learnt that the project was cancelled.
Of course there were no discussions with the national federations of the aforementioned sports in respect of their specific infrastructure needs so they really should never have gotten a sense of expectation relative to the realisation of the project in the first place.
The Volleyball fraternity has benefitted from two outdoor courts. The first has been placed at the Girls’ High School (GHS) while the other, seemingly earmarked for Belair, has not yet been installed. The international and continental federations for the sport, FIVB and NORCECA respectively, do not relish having provided affiliates with courts that spend an unduly period of time in Customs or stored where they are not being used after receipt in the country.
Hopefully the matter of the installation of the second court will be resolved some time soon.
While the GHS court is considered central to many of the adherents of the sport of Volleyball, Belair is not and one wonders about the decision to locate the second court in this particular location as opposed to perhaps South Rivers, considered by many as the home of ever-burgeoning generations of volleyballers.
Beach Volleyball
There are many who would argue that beach volleyball has tremendous potential.
Experts of the sport know that players must first learn to play general volleyball before venturing out into the beach variety.
St Vincent and the Grenadines started playing beach volleyball some time ago but it was in the lead up to the Youth Olympic Games of 2014 that it received special attention.
Participation in beach volleyball was good and the players readily took to the niceties of the game. Not surprisingly the female junior beach volleyball team went to the Youth Olympics qualifiers as favourites. Unfortunately for the girls, it was the boys team that emerged victorious in their category and earned the right to participate in the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China.
But the beach volleyball development is just as readily stymied by the lack of infrastructure facilities as the indoor variant of the game.
Here again the promise of a facility at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex has not yet materialised.
There may well be reason to believe that given that beach volleyball involves just two players per team there is a greater chance of success at the regional and international levels than the more technically dynamic indoor variety.
Grassroots Volleyball
During the period 18 – 28 April 2015 the Volleyball fraternity had a new experience. It came in the form of an introduction to Grassroots Volleyball.
Scott Schutz of Kelowna, British Colombia, Canada, conducted a 10-day clinic across St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Schutz’s visit was a result of a collaborative undertaking by the Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association and the continental body of the FIVB, NORCECA.
The programme addressed three goals:

  • Introduction of a program to the SVG Volleyball Association that could be a catalyst to jumpstart the Grassroots Sector for ages 7-13.
  • Introduce modified volleyball games that would:
  1. a) Help teach volleyball movements and game-specific skills.
  2. b) Be the start of competition for ages 7-13.
  • Introduce a continuity plan to help Grassroots Programming continue after the 10-day clinics were complete.

Vance Andrews of South Rivers, was assigned to Schutz for the period and was trained to take on the responsibility of Grassroots Coordinator for the sport in St Vincent and the Grenadines. This is by way of ensuring continuity and sustainability of what has been started.
Clearly, Volleyball appears to be a bit late in seeking to develop programmes aimed at introducing the sport to children at an early age.
Some would say, better late than never. The fact is that it is now here and Vance Andrews must rise up to the challenge he has been given. Once the Volleyball fraternity supports Andrews in his work they can together facilitate a tremendous transformation of the sport in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Literally, the ball is in their hands.
Pic re Grassroots Volleyball Clinic