Avital Sellinger: Volleyball in Poland is far ahead

29-03-2011

As we mentioned previously Dutch national team coach Avital Selinger visited Muszyna. A short stay in Poland was an opportunity to conduct an interview with coach. Dutchman tells about the differences in approach to volleyball in Holland and Poland. Explains why the Netherlands should take an example from the Polish side. He talks about his Polish roots and - finally - he reveals why coaches from Poland do not make a career abroad. Enjoy!

fot: cev.lu
(fot: cev.lu)

What is the main purpose of your visit in Poland?

I came to visit Debby and Caroline, to see how they deal at the club and discuss issues related to the upcoming season in national team. Not much time left.

It is normal that the coach of national team visits athletes in foreign countries?

I visit all my athletes. Last week I was in Italy, now I am in Poland. Next week Iim going to fly to Japan, where plays Chaine Stealens. In winter I try to visit at least once each player. We're talking I'm checking how they are doing at training and if everything is in order.

You just watched two workouts. On their basis it is difficult to assess the disposition of athletes ...

In fact, I came to see how they play. Unfortunately, the match was postponed and I was not able to change the plane tickets (match against Organika was originally scheduled on weekend). Usually I check the schedule and on this basis choose appointments in the clubs in the next contestants. Of course, I've seen all the matches in the CEV Champions League but this is not the same as watching live. This time, however, I have to settle for workouts.

So how would you assess the Bank BPS Fakro matches in CEV Champions League?

I believe that team from Muszyna presented very well. Defeating Villa Cortese is certainly a great result. Against Rabita  chances were even. It seems to me that decided some moments when Polish team lost one or two important points. Team from Baku, however, was probably stronger.

Please answer: What was your first thought when you found out that Debby and Caroline will play in Polish Club?

For me it is important that the athletes gain experience in matches for the highest goals. In Poland there are great conditions to play volleyball at a high level. There is volleyball tradition, both men and women. People are really interested in volleyball. You have money from media. This is why you can play volleyball professionally here. What I thought to myself? I was glad.

Polish volleyball is known mainly for national teams. You had previous contact with Polish league teams?

As a coach in club I had some opportunity to come to Poland. I remember matches in Bielsko-Biala and in Kalisz.

You didn't have a lot of time and opportunities for training analysis but can you indicate main diffrences between coaching in the Netherlands and Poland?

It's really hard. Probably when I'll have an opportunity to talk to Debby and Caroline I will notice diffrences. Now I saw only a brief of workout just before the league match.

Most of your national team players play abroad so differences in preparation of individual athletes is probably the norm for you?

You have to understand our system of training. All the Dutch athletes, even before they go to foreign leagues, train at least four years together in one club. From 2004 to 2008 we worked together in Holland in Amstelven. After those four years half of the athletes left country in order to gain experience abroad. I was left with a second younger half and then trained in Holland to form another group. In this way, half of the national team every day is under my care in country and the rest gains experience in clubs around the world.

While training in Holland this half does not play many game. Is it a problem?

Why should it be a problem? World Championship ended in November. Most athletes - no matter whether athletes, skaters or cyclists - can appear best only for for just two or three months a year. In turn football and volleyball players train and occur throughout the year. From a physiological point of view maintaining at high level in every moment of this season is impossible. That is why some of my athletes doeasn't wanto to play in foreign clubs. We're working to improve specific elements of training - whether it is jump or condition. Thanks to this I am sure that these volleyball players will be prepared one hundred percent for national team matches.

Enough about dutch national team. What is your general opinion about Polish volleyball?

You are a country with a rich volleyball tradition and you know a lot about this sport. It is not only recognized but also popular in Poland. Many clubs are specialized in volleyball. In contrast, in Holland, when I finish my training  basketball players start to work in same hall, then football and handball players. In Poland it is different, so I would like to enter your way of training volleyball in Holland and I'm working on it.

If I understand - you think that volleyball in Poland is a model for Holland?

Volleyball in Poland is far ahead. I do not think at this point about the strength of individual teams, but the organization and the position of discipline in your country.

Where those differences come from?

Tradition and culture. When Holland played an amateur Poland was already a professional in volleyball. In 1976 Wagner won the gold medal at the Olympics in Montreal. Our national team won the first gold medal in 1996.

Don't you think that the level of both countries has already equalized?

It makes no sense to exchange successes of Polish and Dutch volleyball. For confirmation of my words, I'll ask rhetorically: how do I know volleyball? From my father who comes from Poland. My whole family comes from Poland. Grandma was born in Sosnowiec, grandfather and father in Cracow. The second side of my family lived in Lviv from where they emigrated before World War II. I think my perception of volleyball has its roots in Eastern Europe. But not only me, many of recognized coaches are from the countries of Western Europe for example Russia, Bulgaria and areas of today's Czech Republic and Slovakia.

If Polish volleyball is at such a high level why polish coaches don't make any career abroad? 

It seems to me that you have at home a very good coaches. On the other hand I can't remember Poles who have trained fforeign teams also in other disciplines. The problem may lie in communication. Look at the Dutch - each coach speaks English, German and probably French. In Poland I have often problems with the normal communication so how can you imagine work with foreign players?

Did you ever think of working for Polish national team?

I'm not thinking about it, moreover, it is not up to me.

You're planning another visit in Poland?

Yes. I can even say that I plan to go for a very long time. I always wanted to visit Cracow. I know that Muszyna is not far away but I prefer to do it properly. I want to take my children and show them origins of our family. I'm talking about it with my father.

Interviewed by Dawid Litwin

D6concept

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