Source: CEV. Austrian Volleyball superstar Alexander Berger has been training with the best Beach Volleyball players of his country, working at the ÖVV base in the MAXX Sports Centre in Vienna for two weeks. For the 31-year-old Berger, who spent the last five seasons in Italy, securing a national league title, two national cup crowns and reaching a Champions League final with Sir Safety PERUGIA, the sand is a rather unusual environment.
“Of course, I am grateful that this training was made possible and I could work with our top Beach Volleyball players. It was actually the only opportunity for me as an indoor player to get my hands on a ball. On the one hand, it is a lot of fun; on the other hand, I have to admit that I am a bloody beginner on the sand. But it gets better every time,” explains Berger.
For the national women’s and men’s Beach Volleyball teams, as for Berger, normal training sessions have been possible since the middle of last week – of course, while complying with certain hygiene standards – after all players have undergone COVID-19 tests. Since all tests were negative, training with attack, block and service is possible, even without respecting a minimum distance. “That was an important step towards normality. Before that, we could hardly train any forms of play,” said Alexander Horst, a Vice World Champion at Vienna 2017.
In the coming week, Berger will end his ‘excursion’ on sand and meet his national team colleagues in the regional sports centre VIVA Steinbrunn. The first summer training camp under newly appointed head coach Radovan Gacic is on the programme. After the COVID-19 tests for players and coaches and their evaluation, the actual camp begins on June 10 and will run until June 30.
Later this summer, Berger and Austria will be trying to secure their second straight EuroVolley appearance in a three-team pool comprising the likes of Israel and Volleyball powerhouse Bulgaria.