Assistant national volleyball coach Ian Wills has said reinstating the sport into the school system as well as creating a strong developmental academy will help Guyana to perform better and be more successful in future overseas tournaments.
Wills spoke with Stabroek Sport on Friday following his return from Uruguay with the women’s team, which encountered difficulty during the recently concluded South American female tournament. “In another exposure of our weakness, the female national teams that wrapped up their campaign in the South American Beach Confederation Tournament were easily brushed aside by seasoned beach volleyball teams from Paraguay, Bolivia, Colombia and host Uruguay,” he said.
Wills said he believed a better feeder system should be put in place to help strengthen the active players. This, he said, will do wonders in creating future volleyball players. He explained that while Guyana has a decent system in place, he would like to see a wider horizon touched with regards to having the sport reintroduced in the school system, starting from the primary level.
Further, Wills said the system should recruit children to be a part of an academy-like structure from a young age, as he believes that with proper nurturing the academy can produce players who by around age 15 could stand up to the most experienced players.
“To shed some light on the vast difference in our level of preparedness and preparation between our Guyanese girls and our local federation to that of our South American compatriots,” Wills said, “in a discussion with players from Bolivia, the weakest team in this group apart from Guyana, they pointed out that after realising their deficiency in the beach aspect of the game, their federation made a conscious effort to focus and expose their players to beach volleyball some 30 years ago. Guyana on the other hand is now talking about constructing proper courts and playing facilities for beach volleyball.”
As he recollected the tournament, Wills said, “On the opening day of competition, both our teams started off very shakily and it was reflected in the scores as we lost all our games in straight sets and never even managed to score beyond 8 points in the sets that went to 21. Most difficult for our ladies was the transition to moving in the thick, loose sand used in proper beach courts, when all the exposure and training they had was on nothing compared to these conditions.”
Wills added that he hopes the federation will waste little or no time in launching a properly structured programme through engagement of the national coach Levi Nedd and other senior local coaches geared towards a long term development plan for local volleyball.