Volleyball school at the root of Polish successful youth programme
2016 CEV U20 Volleyball Europaean Championship - Men
Plovdiv, Bulgaria, September 7, 2016. Last week, as the coaches of the teams participating in the 2016 CEV U20 Volleyball European Championship – Men gathered in Plovdiv for a press conference, Poland were almost unanimously singled out as the main favourites to take the gold medal and so far they have been living up to the expectations, with four wins in as many matches. Poland are also the reigning European and world U19 champions.
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What is the reason behind this success story? Actually, 11 of the 12 players on the roster currently attend the same Volleyball school, some 100 km south of Warsaw. The only exception is Szymon Jakubiszak.
Team Manager Leon Bartman – whose illustrious son Zbigniew is a 2009 European champion, 2012 World League gold medal winner and silver medallist from the 2011 FIVB World Cup – has also been the director of this Volleyball school for five years. He explains that the school recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and is being supported by the Polish Volleyball Federation within a scheme involving the country’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of Sport.
The school is being attended by 39 students divided into three classes, 13 in the first year, 15 in the second and another 11 in the third year. The school’s teams have been playing in the Polish national league – and more specifically in Division I and II – for a number of years already. The guys currently playing in Plovdiv have reached the 1/8 finals of the national cup and ended up in second place their national league campaign after losing a five-match championship series.
“Seven of the players on the team have graduated and will now continue their education outside the Volleyball school, while four others are a bit younger and they still have one more year to go before finishing the school,” Bartman said.
The players attending the school are first and foremost students; the focus is on their education where they follow the compulsory programme as students do at any other high school in the country.
“Besides that, they have a mandatory Volleyball training schedule. Every evening they have training and on some other days, like on Tuesday mornings, there is power training in the gym. On weekends they play matches, and all students are getting the chance to play,” Bartman added.
Polish star player Jakub Ziobrowski, who was born in New York but moved at young age back to Poland with his parents, sees the school as a great opportunity. “It is a very good school where we as students can focus on our studies and on Volleyball at the same time. It is the perfect place to improve your Volleyball skills and the best place to be if your goal is to become one of the best Volleyball players in the world.”
“It helps so much for the team that we are almost all from the same school. We eat, study and train all together and that creates a special bond among us, fuelling our team spirit,” Ziobrowski continued. “Sometimes the programme and the schedule are very hard, especially when you have training before the classes; but our teachers and coaches help us find the motivation, so if you like studying and Volleyball, the school is a great way to improve.”
Ziobrowski who just finished the school will now continue his career as a professional player for Cerrad Czarni RADOM, thus making his debut in the elite and highly competitive Polish PlusLiga.