I am back in England now, having returned the other day from my August sojourn into the realm of professional volleyball in Germany.
First of all, I need to offer thanks to Ruben at TV Bühl and Alberto at SC Potsdam for being so open and hospitable in allowing me to spend time with them, their coaching staffs, and their teams during pre-season preparations for the 2014-15 campaign. Not only did they house me and allow me to observe, but they included me in the training sessions and evaluation aspects of things so the experience wasn’t just me sitting on the sidelines watching, but rather one of active participation.
I need to additionally thank Mark at BR Volleys, and At Home on the Court, for providing my first exposure to professional volleyball back in April, and for making the connections that enabled me spend the last few weeks getting a deeper perspective. And also for bringing me along for a day in Poland to take in my first ever major international competition matches at Men’s World Championships.
I had a conversation with Ruben near the end of my stay with him during which he expressed the hope that I saw some new stuff during my time with him and his staff. My honest response was that in this sort of situation it isn’t necessarily just about “new”. Sometimes it’s a question of being reminded of stuff you already learned along the way, seeing things from a different perspective, and/or having your own ideas validated. The latter is something I discussed last year when talking about my time with collegiate teams in Southern California and this time around in terms of warm-ups.
Of course, just getting to be involved with professional volleyball teams was a new set of experiences for me. The pro game gets very little exposure in the States, so my three weeks in Germany was as much about getting a better understanding of that aspect of the sport as anything else.
I’ve written three posts with my impressions of the difference and similarities between the NCAA Division I collegiate structure in the US and the European professional system on the basis of schedule, resources, and coaching careers. Hopefully you find them useful and/or interesting.