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Scotland Men's Programme Update

With Thomas Dowens choosing to continue his coaching career with the YS programme,
this season will definitely feel a little strange without his regular input. However, the hard work continues…

The returning staff of John Swan (Team Manager), Kenny Watt (Physio), Ally Jack and Kevin Chisholm (Coaches) are joined by the familiar face of Ally Galloway who makes the transition from player to coach.  Tom Smale (strength and conditioning) has also joined the team with the players currently finishing phase 1 of their new programme.  Archie Breckenridge (Sports Scientist) is also working behind the scenes in conjunction with Kenny Watt and Tom Smale to improve our fitness and health monitoring as part of the injury prevention process.

As the number of players in the NT programme who are playing outside Scotland increases, some of the players moving through the YS programme have already begun
to make the step up with Cameron Hook (NUVOC), David Mexson (South Ayrshire)and
Harris Ritchie (City of Edinburgh) already attending sessions on a regular basis.

All the staff and players have been busy in preparation for competing in the CEV Small Countries Association tournament in 2019.  There have been several get togethers looking at improving the speed of our offence with a scrimmage match against Team Northumbria already under our belts.

December in particular was a busy time.  The month began with Tom taking the players through phase 1 of their new programme at Edinburgh College.  This was closely followed by the SVA’s certificated Physical Education event at the Michael Wood Sports Centre in Glenrothes.  National team players chatted with pupils and staff from various schools throughout the morning and assisted with some of the workshops. Marc McLaughlan discussed hand signals as a form of communication with the teachers, whilst Darren Martin demonstrated how to use the Vertec to measure spike reach.  The afternoon session included an exhibition match between two NT programme sides which allowed the spectating pupils to observe a high level match. As always the discussion between all involved in the programme pointed out some signs of improvement and some weaknesses that we wish to improve on.

They say that better never stops and that was certainly the case with the NT programme in December.  With the mid-season break during the holidays, most players, coaches and officials were probably still recovering from festive season eating habits on the 27th December as the NT headed south for a 3 day training camp with the England Men’s side.  Despite the early start and long drive, the players were straight on court for the start of their 5 hours per day practice and match time.  The players responded well to the increased work load and made steady progress throughout the camp.  They were able to continue to develop speed of attack whilst making some tactical and systematic adjustments in defence.  One or two of the England players offered a chance to focus on the effectiveness of our block defence against a higher spike contact point but the best part of the camp was undoubtedly the players improving the speed of their decision making and showing more consistency and aggressive out of system.

The players undoubtedly earned a few days rest after the camp but some had to do some travelling back to their club sides for an early start in the new year, however, it will not be long before some of the squad meet up again. A scrimmage match against Team Northumbria is taking place on Sunday 20th January on home soil (details to follow) and a return trip has already been agreed for 16th February in Newcastle.

“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet” – Bobby Unser.