The disappointment of our trip to Luxembourg at the beginning of the year is beginning to fade yet it acts as a timely reminder that we have a great deal of work to put in between now and the end of June. As the Schelde Sports National League programme moves ever closer to the final matches of the various championships and the Cup campaigns near their high point on Finals Weekend so the Senior Women’s Programme drives on towards to Malta. But there has been a slight, yet very welcome, twist to the tale.
Following discussions within the CEV around entries into the FIVB 2014 World Championship a decision has been made to recognise the Small Countries Final (for both Men and Women) as Round 1 of the FIVB 2014 World Championship. This means that whichever country wins the SCD Final will also progress to Round 2 of the World Championship. This news willundoubtedly spice up the Women’s SCD Final for all five countries (Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, San Marino and Scotland) and it will be interesting to see what this added incentive brings to the tournament.
Meanwhile, the Senior Women’s squad has already completed three practice sessions since coming back from Luxembourg with the focus firmly placed on being competitive. The physical component of each session has been increased with the players pushed in a number of areas. Moving forward this theme will continue over the coming sessions but with particular attention being paid to first phase side out.
A few players from the Junior/Young Senior Programme have been given the opportunity to work with the Senior players in order to expose them to a higher level and to aid their understanding of the performance environment. Nicola McKenzie (Dundee) and Catrin Sutherland (Caledonia) have both shown good progress since being involved and it is hoped they will continue to do so. Priya Gill (Su Ragazzi), Laura Beth Sproule and Katie Shaw (both City of Edinburgh) have also come along as developing setters following their involvement in the recent Fasttrack Programme. While these players will play an important role in the Junior/Young Senior Programme we will look to work with them through the Senior Programme with an eye to the future.
This time of year is always a difficult one in terms of player availability through illness and injury. A number of players have succumbed to colds and viruses and a few have picked up injuries which are preventing them from fully engaging in practice. It’s a busy time in the season with Clubs gearing themselves up for key matches and the demands made on players always increase at this time. From a coaching perspective it is critical that the players are managed effectively through this hectic phase of the season and for this reason we are monitoring players closely to try to ensure they are supported appropriately. At the same time we’re keeping a close eye on the players based abroad who may feature in the selection process for Malta in June. Each player’s circumstances are different and it is important for us to keep in touch with them as often as possible to find out how they are doing.
The reality is that we have fourteen practice sessions between now and the SCD Final/World Championship Round 1 on the final weekend in June. When you consider things in that way you quickly appreciate that there isn’t a huge amount of contact time with the players. More reason why we hope they remain fit and healthy over this period to maximise the opportunity to bring the players up to and beyond the level they will need to demonstrate in Malta.
When I took on the role of Head Coach almost two years ago I set out a vision through to 2021. It is very ambitious, as most visions tend to be, in that it sees Scotland Senior Women’s National Team competing in the CEV European Championship Round 2 by 2021. A series of five steps need to be taken if that vision is to be realised. The first of these steps is:
Having qualified by finishing second to Cyprus last June we have already achieved this first step. The second step in the vision is:
It would be easy for us to say we have another two years before we have to attempt to achieve Step 2 but we are ambitious and we have belief. Yes, our results in Luxembourg were not good by any manner of means but we understand where our errors were made both off and on the court.
The achievement of Step 2 this June is not beyond the bounds of possibility. In fact, we could stand the whole vision on its head now that the World Championship has come onto the horizon. Scotland Senior Women to reach Round 2 of the FIVB 2014 World Championship?
Now that’s raising the game!
The full SWNTP 20:21 Vision is:
Upcoming SWNTP Practice Schedule (March and April)
Sunday 17 March: The PEAK, Stirling, 10:00-15:00
Friday 29 March-Sunday 31 March: The PEAK, Stirling, 10:00-15:00
Sunday 21 April: The PEAK, Stirling, 10:00-15:00
Scotland Senior Women’s Programme
26 February 2013