Austrian youngsters take positives from training camps in pandemic times

Vienna, Austria. As many as four youth and junior Austrian national teams completed training camps that run from Friday of last week to this Wednesday. As they did three weeks ago, the U16 and U18 girls stayed at the VIVA Sports Centre in Steinbrunn, whereas the U17 and U19 boys completed their training camp for the first time at the JUFA sports facility in Fürstenfeld. 

Both sports facilities were exclusively available to the Austrian Volleyball Association (ÖVV). The ÖVV Volleyball and Beach Volleyball national teams (elite and age groups), like those competing in the first division of the national league, are subject to the elite sport regulation and are therefore exempt from the lockdown measures that apply to the majority of domestic athletes. This means that training camps can take place, but obviously in compliance with strict safety and health protocols. 

The prevention concept developed in the spring has already proven itself several times and the ÖVV decided to extend its application to the camps held in Steinbrunn and Fürstenfeld as well. It sees, among other things, in addition to regular COVID-19 tests, daily temperature checks and keeping a health diary.

“The top sport regulations are of course a great thing for us. The players have trained well at the regional bases over the past few weeks, and we were able to build on that. Everyone got along really well again. There was a lot of input in the field of physical preparation and ball technique. The highlight was an internal test match with video analysis, match reports and statistics. It was a new and interesting thing for many players to see what was going on around them as well as how you could deal with a game. That was an eye-opener, so to speak. We hope that at the end of December or beginning of January, we will be able to focus on the competition, play test matches and thus take the next step!” said U18 women’s head coach Roland Schwab. 

Tereza Soukup-Stribrna, who has been working with the U16 girls: “It was very important that this camp could take place so that the girls could train together. We worked a lot with a focus on reception and attack. We were able to carry out our programme well and I am already looking forward to being able to continue working with these players at the next such camp!” 

Markus Hirczy, head coach of the U19 men’s team: “The goals of this camp were clearly defined: this time the focus was on building up and coordinating the game between setter and spikers. We trained certain game situations, worked on defending the attack in a controlled manner and building it up quickly. Everything went well. We can be satisfied with the development of the group, and the members of the coaching staff could get to know the individual characters better and better. The cooperation is definitely going in the right direction and makes you want more of the same!”  

Nina Sawatzki, who is at the helm of the U17 men’s team: “We are of course happy that this camp was possible even in times of coronavirus pandemic. We used the five days very intensively to make both technical and tactical progress. Since the players had trained at their bases beforehand, we were able to get going from day one. I think the boys have made a very, very big progress. This is a squad with great potential. Many players came already very well trained and we have good options in all positions. How far the team can go, of course, this we will only be able to tell when we find ourselves in a competitive environment.”

CEV – European Volleyball
ÖVV – Volleyball Austria

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