Volleyball athletes benefit from high-level training

Young volleyball players train through the Volleyball Canada Centre of Excellence at the College of the Rockies.

Head men's coach Herb Tepper and VCCE administrator Steve Kamps set the lesson plan goals for the development group of athletes.

Head men's coach Herb Tepper and VCCE administrator Steve Kamps set the lesson plan goals for the development group of athletes.

In an effort to be more competitive globally in the sport of volleyball, Volleyball Canada established the Volleyball Canada Centre of Excellence, VCCE, in 2011 with the first few centres being piloted in B.C.

There are now almost 20 centres in Canada with new ones being added each year. In 2012, a VCCE Kootenay was established which is being administered by College of the Rockies head coach Steve Kamps.

The VCCE Kootenay has two head coaches – the men’s coach is Herb Tepper while the women’s coach is Agata Bendkowska.  The College of the Rockies Avalanche men’s and women’s teams were assistant coaches throughout the 8 month program.

For many years Canada has not competed well internationally, falling short in ranking among the top countries in the world and have participated in only 3 Olympic Games in modern history.

One of the identified reasons for Canada’s international status is the development of our youth athletes. Providing the appropriate amount of training, competition and recovery during the early stages of athlete development is critical to long term success.

Our young developing athletes spend more time in competition (playing games) than in training and development (practice). To add to this, practice time is typically spent on developing team systems in preparation for games.

While this produces short-term success on the court, the technical skills of our athletes are being left behind. Volleyball Canada follows the Long Term Athlete Development Plan, LTAD which provides ideal training ratios for athlete development. Typically our Canadian youth volleyball athletes are falling about 100 hours short per year in training.

At the end of the first year – VCCE Kootenay was a big success.

“The VCCE has raised the profile of volleyball in the region,” said administrator Steve Kamps.

“The athletes are at a critical time period for developing their foundational skills and we saw a vast improvement in the athletes in only one year of training.  We have been one of the most successful centers in Canada and this bodes well considering we are a smaller center.  The success can be attributed to the partnerships we have with COTR, School District #5 and EKVC as well as the dedicated athletes, parents and coaches.”

There are two programs, development for athletes in grades 7-9 and high performance which are for athletes in grades 10-12.

The results in the first year have been significant for the East Kootenays.  VCCE has helped the local club volleyball teams achieve strong results. Club results include 2 provincial championships and medal placements in many tournaments.

VCCE athletes Ben Smith and Blake Peebles will play for the COTR men’s team next year.

This season will see the VCCE Kootenay expand to two female cohorts in high performance due to the high number of athletes competing in club volleyball in the Kootenays.

There will be an early morning training group for the local female Cranbrook athletes, as well as a weekend training group for the Kootenay athletes.

Tryouts will take place June 10-13 at College of the Rockies gym. For more information – contact Steve Kamps at kamps@cotr.bc.ca