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Junior League : Heads together for youngsters' future
Posted by Media Team on 2018/7/4 14:20:00 (201 reads)

LVA Junior volleyball managers
Meeting to plan development of junior volleyball
A meeting has been called by Head of Junior Development, Elsa Meserlian so she, the organisers of juniors' competitions and senior officers of the LVA can discuss how to build on the excellent results seen nationally by London's younger players. It will be held on Monday evening, 16th July.
If coaches and managers of junior teams not currently in the association's competitions would get in touch with Elsa before then if they are interested in joining next season, she would love to hear from them.

Currently there are three competitions, two for girls and one for boys. The boys seem to get the greater exposure as it's their league that appears on the web site under "Junior League" but there has been no growth in the small number of participants so our officers are keen to promote a revival.

The under 18 girls' league is in an even sadder state with its participants reduced in number from nine in 2016/17 to just six in the season just ending while the under 15 girls, although having an encouraging increase in teams entering, failed to complete many of its fixtures Elsa feeling that this resulted from time pressure on team managers. However, the positive attitude and energetic approach from the current participating clubs is very high despite the outcome and they would value the recruitment of more volunteers to deal with the administration.

There are signs of growth within London's clubs and in the past season IVA have started a girls session at the club and entered a team in the under 15s competition, Little Giants have begun a weekday and a weekend session for junior players and, as reported on this site, Wapping Wildcats begun a mini volleyball session on Sunday morning; this has now evolved into an after school club at the local primary school where many of the children attend.

The coaches tell us that there is no competition for under 18 boys because they feel there is adequate opportunity in the association's adult league but there are clear signs that there are administrative difficulties in relying on adult competition especially as it too is growing. Furthermore, the rapidly increasing numbers playing volleyball in the London School Games and the London Youth Games indicate that a much larger pool of players exists. While the resources of the volunteer run LVA would not stretch to organising a huge competition to cater for all of them, it could be that it needs one to give the better players greater opportunity to compete more often and at a higher level.

Despite all this, the performances of London's best young players on the national scene over the past season has been magnificent. London clubs have outperformed other regions nationally.
Richmond girls winning the National U18s, coming 2nd at the U16s championships.
Richmond boys winning both U18 and U16 national championships.
For the inter-regionals, All teams bar one coming home with medals with the following results:
U15 girls 1st place.
U15 boys 1st place.
U17 boys 3rd place.
The drop in league participation doesn't seem to be affecting development and performance

The meeting will have important decisions to make and comments and suggestions from anyone working with junior players posted (below, right) before 16th July would be most appreciated.

It seems likely that a request for more volunteers to make next year's report a much more exciting one will be going to the LVA Volunteer Support officer, Cormac Byrne. If anybody wants to get in first, they are free to contact him. Just imagine where London volleyball would be with a few extra hands to provide more opportunities for competitive play!

Contribution, Douglas Barr-Hamilton
Source Annual Report and additional material from Elsa Meserlian

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