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Vic Trials: National Junior Champs – a change

Posted by devo on February 5, 2009

Victoria have sent 3 teams in most age groups to represent the state at the National Junior Champs in recent years.

  • Blue – the age groups A Team
  • White – a development team – based on Melbourne and the East of the state
  • Gold – a development team based on country players in the west of the state

This year, instead of two trial sessions being held in Melbourne to choose the Blue and White teams, one of the selections will be held in Bendigo. As a country person, I am in favour of any move from the city to the country. The more exposure that volleyball gets in the country the better. And players trying to get into the Blue team from the west of the state will be very happy. I am not so sure that players from the east of the state will be so happy.

City players will scream. I don’t care. I have had country players and their parents turn up week after week for training for state teams. Always a smile, always happy for a chat after 2 or 3 hours in a car. Then training. Then 2 or 3 hours in their car. Sunday just completely disappears. (I won’t mention the one who flew down from Mildura) Let the city kids scream for one week. I assume that attendance will be compulsory at both sessions? ~ details @ Volleyball Victoria

32 Responses to “Vic Trials: National Junior Champs – a change”

  1. Volleyball Athlete said

    As in athlete eligible to tryout for these age groups and living in the metro area I think that what country people go through is very tough. I am not doubting that, and I hardly hear them complaining. However if the Blue and White teams are metro teams then I think they should stay in Melbourne. If someone is not wanting to travel to Melbourne every weekend, which is a big ask they can just play in the country team (Gold).

    On the other side, I guess VVI will never be able to keep everyone happy.

  2. Anon said

    Attendance is at both sessions is not compulsory, however, it is recommended, but will not negatively impact an athletes chances of selection if they are unable to make both trials. This is working version of whatever the VVI policy actually is.

  3. devo said

    @ volleyball Athlete
    Neither Blue or White are “metro” teams. The Blue team is the “A” team for the whole state.

    @ anon
    Any athlete that does not show up to both trials is doing themselves a dis-service. It’s hard enough to choose a team after 2 trials. You want that coach to see as much of you as possible.

  4. Anon said

    I agree entirely, just stating the directive from VVI. A kid from melbourne who gets up to bendigo for the first trial is giving the coaches twice as much chance to see them do their thing, for all those kids who might be on the bubble of a team or squad that’s a definite advantage.

  5. Bill McHoul said

    As a state coach I can tell you it is definately an advantage to attend both trials if you can, especially if you ‘fringe’ athlete or if you know the coaches of your age group have not seen you much before.

    I personally do not agree with the trial in Bendigo, the reasoning behind it is;
    1. Melbourne is central in Victoria and is the capital, where the majority of athletes are from (I think around 70%)
    2. A non central location (Bendigo)disadvantages the Gippsland athletes, I already know of athletes from Wonthaggi and Lakes Entrance that can’t come as they don’t have transport.
    3. The regional academies do a great job of organising group transport for their athletes to attend, this is not happening for the metro athletes, don’t know who’s responsibility that would be ?

    This is my personal view BUT all athletes should support the Bendigo trial this year as it will give you the best chance of getting selected.

  6. Sam said

    In previous years, Gold trails have started a week earlier so that country athletes could attend two weeks of trails in a country location and then come down for the last week of the metro based trials. Was there a problem with this?

  7. Big Ren said

    I agree with Bill, Melbourne is where the majority of the athletes will be coming out of. Yes the Blue team is the A team but the Gold team is the Regional team….. so if you are wanting to drag people into regional locations does that not defeat the purpose of accomodating this Gold philosophy.
    If they (regional players) want to come into Dandenong to trial with the majority then more power to them. But you have to think its 4 hours to Bendiog for ppl in Melbourne so those ppl in gippsland have it tough, athletes may have to pay for accomodation to stay the night… Sunday try out with it being most likely in the afternoon…. most parents wont be able to get the kids there and back if they have work the next day.

    Also will VVI be flipping the petrol prices for coaches making the trip up to Bendigo??????? I dont think so!!! And ppl may say ra ra ra Bendigo ppl do it all the time but they usually have mini buses from the acadamies or schools….. VII its a bad idea basically, you will pay more for hiring the venue than you will make in the 5 dollars you charge kids to trial

  8. devo said

    [sarcasm] I weep for the Melbourne people. I really do [/sarcasm]

    Country people do this all the the time. Melbourne is being asked to do it once.

    When I was still “doing” volleyball:
    Mon – 2 hrs to training, 2 hours home. Home midnight plus. Went to work next day.
    Thur – 2 hrs to training, 2 hours home. Home midnight plus. Went to work next day.
    Sat – 1.5 hrs to state league, 1.5 hours home
    Sun – 1.5 hours to state training, 1.5 hours home. Went to work next day.
    14 hours in the car, week in; week out. 1100 kms plus a week.

    One training session? Give me a break.

    Next time that country kid and their parents turn up to training, you’ll have more respect for their efforts. Make sure that you organise a cuppa for that parent.

  9. Dinosaur said

    I’m there with you Devo!

    One session every couple of years just shows respect to all the country athletes. Shows care to the top players from Country Vic who have plyed Aus senior or junior team in last 15 -20 years. Being an old dinosaur involved that long, I can think of at least 25-30 and that involves 10 senior guns (men and women)!

    I remember playing in a couple of junior state teams that were over 50% country players. We always had training sessioins/camps in the country and played country tournaments as warm ups. VV had junior development weekends run by a development officer 6-8 times a year in country locations. That all stopped 8-10 years ago so you current generation young players wouldn’t have seen that culture that was around back then.

    Some above are confused by Gold team Philosophy. It is not the team for all Country athletes. It is a development team for country athletes that might not necessarily make or be able to commit to the metro based state team. Any Gun player from the bush will make the A state team. This allows them best chance to get to National, overseas and AVL etc. Therefore the A team is not a Melbourne based team it is a STATE TEAM and should prepare and train right across thae state!
    And as far as paying coaches petrol….please. They should have no problem travelling, they could even consider doing extra visits to country centres looking at potential athletes to talk into crossing over to Volleyball. Good publicity in country Newspapers that “State coach is in Town for weekend”. That would make Back page of most country papers and be a great promotion for the local volleyball groups. This all seems a bit too organised and professional for Volleyball circles….Especially when we have people talking about a coach travelling 2hrs (Not 4hrs Big ren even from the hills!) to bendigo and nreeding his/hers $30 petrol money.

    Crap decision by VVI. They have only made 1/2 a decision. Either make it compulsory or don’t do it. Those starting six types who know they are going to get picked are not going to go. It looks like a decision to shut the country people up when they keep asking for a trial.

    Arguments from the people who say people from the other side of the state will have to travel twice as far just don’t stack up. WHEREVER you put the trial certain people will have to travel further. This trial is better for Bendigo, ballarat, Mildura etc….. But worse for gippsland, geelong etc… Taking 1 of the trials per year to a country location every 3 or so years would be a fantastic idea, supporting all hard working associations.


    From a metrocised Country Dinosaur

  10. Jason Pallant said

    I think it should be a really simple idea,

    when you cant please everyone you choose the option that will please the most people,
    having trials in melbourne does this as the majority of people who will be trailing are from there (70% according to Bill), and especially the eastern suburbs even further from Bendigo. So this move to trials in bendigo is inconveniencing 85% of the potential triallers to please the minority 15%. (I’m including in that 85% all those people from gippsland and other non-melbourne areas that are even further disadvantaged by having to go to bendigo)

    I understand that country athletes, parents and coaches have been dealing with long travel times for ages, and must say that it’s a great effort. However, as Ren said, many of these athletes travel on academy buses driven by state coaches. If VVI wanted to have trials in Bendigo they should have organised a number of buses to be driven from the SVC to the trials and back again. Then no one could complain about having to drive there themselves, the cost of petrol etc.

    On that topic, having spent so much money on building the new ‘State Volleyball Centre’, the centre of volleyball in our state, why then are they having the trials for the state team not at the states centre for that sport? Doesnt make sense to me.

    I will be interested to see how many athletes that arent from bendigo actually attend the bendigo leg of the trials. I already know of an abundance of players who have been in the starting six of the blue team every year they have played who won’t be going to these trials. Without the best players from the state at these trials, it makes it harder to judge those that are at the trials, without the benchmark to compare them against.

    Once again I think this is an example of VVI producing a knee-jerk solution to complaints raised to them by select parties without considering other options or the opinions of the rest of the volleyball community. In addition to this, when approached to enquire as to the reasoning behind the decision to move the trials no better reply is given than “because thats what we decided”. If VVI had come out and said the trails are in bendigo because this and this and this then they wouldn’t have a problem, but once again they provide no reasoning, which makes me only think that yet again they have none. It is typical of VVI to make a decision and then to get aggressive if anyone questions them (ala the whole GMVA v EIV thing, but thats another topic).

    Having said all this, I hope I am wrong and that the trials are a success and attended by the biggest record yet. It has been too long since Victoria held aloft the President’s Cup, and hopefully these Bendigo trials unearth the athletes that will bring us the results we desire.

    I just wish VVI would keep their members better informed regarding their decisions and the reasons behind them.

  11. Baron Von Marlon said

    Not being from Victoria, I have no idea how widespread the fires are, but I read today that a stadium was burnt down in Bendigo. Does anyone know if its the one that the trials are meant to be in?

  12. devo said

    @ Baron Von
    I did a quick Google. It appears that the road that the stadium is on was under a lot of fire pressure. But the stadium survived. Check out these pictures on the ABC site. Perhaps someone in Bendigo can confirm?

  13. devo said

    @ Jase
    when you can’t please everyone you choose the option that will please the most people

    It’s going to be a great team you have this year Jase. 50 kids travelling to Queensland! I hope you get court time.

    Much of the rest of your argument is morally currupt – might is not always right. Sometimes you do have to do what is right, even when the majority don’t agree.

  14. Jason Pallant said

    @ devo

    if only i was still young enough to play :-p

  15. Alexis said

    used to do it all the time – 3 hour bus ride there and back for practice – LOVED IT! I was a kid – it was an adventure.

  16. jimmy winzar said

    I am from bendigo and luckily, no the stadium didnt burn down!
    On the day of the fires i heard rumour after rumour that it had burnt down and was worried for a sec cos thats where i play local volleyball. But fortunately she still stands, as much as that may annoy people from melbourne who dont wanna drive to bendigo. :(

    And on that matter, this is the first tryout or session i’ve ever had in bendigo ever since ive been in the state program. But just because theres one in bendigo doesnt mean i wont be going to the one in melbourne. People in melbourne shouldnt not go to the tryout in bendigo because there is one in melbourne. If anyone wants a place to stay on saturday night my doors are open.. :P

  17. Hass said

    Interesting reading! The current trial problem is the tip of the ice berg as far as the State Junior Team Program is concerned. As VVI have no structure for this program (I have requested that VVI send me a copy of it’s aims and objectives, how these are to be achieved, measured etc but they seem not to exist), they make decisions based on a whim not on any planned structure. According to VVI the program is evolving! Well if it is it is along the lines of natural selection rather than intelligent design! Since the inception of the gold program, problems with the trial structure have existed. The following proposal was put to VVI for consideration (after the 2007 and 2008 championships) remembering that part of the basis for the gold program being set up was to take into consideration where players lived the idea being that players would access the program that best suited their location. There should be 3 trials – Week 1 – Trial one (Blue & White) in Melbourne for metro and gippsland based athlete. The blue coach to short list athletes for the blue squad. Week 2 – Trial Two (Blue & Gold) in Horsham (or Bendigo) for country athletes in the west & central regions. The blue coach to short list athletes for the blue squad. Week 3 – Blue Trial (in Melbourne) Blue coach with all short listed athletes. White trial (in Melbourne) for athletes who want to access the white team. Gold Trial (in Horsham/Bendigo) for athletes who want to access the gold team. The blue coach then selects a team and notifies the white and gold coaches about the players that will come back to their squads and also the emergencies (by position). The white and gold coaches can then pick their squads knowing who maybe likely to be called up to the blue team and can therefore select their emergencies accordingly. VVI have not explained why they do not want to adopt this structure and instead this year proposed to run 2 trials in Melbourne. It was only after pressure from the country that they belatedly shifted a trial to Bendigo. Not much thought has really gone into this (as with the 2 trials in Melbourne idea). As many have picked up, without all the kids there it will be difficult to make valid selections. Nobody has explained how the trials will work, how players will be identified etc. There could be up to 100 athletes at the U/17 boys and/or girls trials!
    I have requested that VVI do a review of the entire program to give it some direction. It is a major selling tool for the sport and (with the advent of the gold program) has contributed greatly to the sports recent development ion country areas. Yes it has been too long since we held up the presidents cup. We are not going to get it back by letting this evolve. A program of this stature needs a plan. We have the infrastructure on which to base the plan but lack the leadership to anything about it!

  18. McCracken said

    Some interesting debate. A few things stick out for further comment, Bill said that Melbourne was central for all of Victoria, this may be partially true but Dandenong is definitely not. Bendigo is far more central to ALL Victorins. The athlete from Lakes Entrance that isn’t going to attend Bendigo would have to spend a minimum of 16 hours in a vehicle if they were to attend both days, where as athletes from Mildura will have a minimum of 20 Hours travel for the same venues, don’t get me wrong were used to traveling vast distances for sometimes little gain, but we do it to support our children.

    Ren made comment about athletes taking Academy buses and going to training venues en masse, but what he didn’t mention was the 3 to 6 hour drives crammed into usually non air-conditioned vehicles with your knees up around your ears for the taller boys (190+ cm) then having to get out and perform to impress, often with a minimum of preparation time, all the while in the knowledge that whose who didn’t travel anywhere near as far will have an advantage.

    Some debate has been made over the make up of the trials and why the changes but one common denominator is the perception that this is a retrograde step.

    The Presidents cup, or the lack of it, has raised a few comments. Might I suggest that both Dinosaur and Jason have hit the nail on the head whether they realize it or not. “the starting 6 won’t/don’t have to turn up to Bendigo”, this makes me think that they are guarranteed a position, earn’t or otherwise, this can only be supported by the coaches not holding players to account and once this starts, complacency kicks in. Obviously some players have a lack of commitment and the short 2 hour drive from Dandenong to Bendigo is of to great a hurdle to jump over, or crawl under, whatever the case may be.

    To everyone trailing over the next two weeks, good luck and do yourselves and your coaches proud.

  19. Fringe dweller said

    I choose to live in Mildura (which is 7.5hrs drive away from Dandenong and 5.5hrs drive from Bendigo!) and as such the tyranny of distance is someting we have to live with. We do not complain and are usually the first to arrive and the last to leave.

    I have attended Melbourne based trials for the past 4 years and have not whinged once about the 7.5 hrs one way trip I need to do to make the trial. You do the math, 15 hrs of travel to attend a 2 hour trial. Sometimes I need to book accommodation for a night (another expense). I do this because I am a proud Victorian hungry for a position in our State rep team. Oh, by the way, for the past 4 years of my State representation I have not missed one day of school/work.

    Please forgive me if I sound fed up with people whinging about travelling between 1.5 hrs and 4 hrs to Bendigo for 1 day! Granted Lakes Entrance (6hrs), Orbost (7hrs) and Bairnsdale (5.5hrs) will be affected but they choose to live where they are as well. The main point is it is only for 1 day.

    I am astounded that Bill and Big Ren make reference to the Regional Academies supplying mini buses for the regional athletes and as such their travel is not an argument. I know for a fact that the Sunraysia (Mildura)Academy organise mini buses out of neccesity with the cost of the bus hire and petrol coming directly from the athletes. I think the other Vic athletes need to learn to network and organise their own mini bus transport (not a difficult task). And again my argument is it is only for 1 day!

  20. Eldo said

    Our heartfelt good wishes to all Victorians in light of the recent bushfire disasters. I remember well Ash Wednesday in 83 in the Adelaide Hills and thought that nothing could ever be worse than that. The fact that the Vic fires were in fact far worse, horrifies us and we feel deeply for you all. The fact that your trials are in the country near some of the fires is in hindsight a fantastic blessing for you all and, will give you a chance to help support somebody in the country in their time of need. Heathfield High School will be raising money for your bush fire appeal on Friday.

    We look forward to seeing the nightly news again in the future without tears in our eyes.

  21. TwoBob said

    With regards to McCracken’s comment about guaranteed positions for ‘starters’ which hasn’t been earned – I have to admit I’ve never bought this argument. If part of the selection criteria is you MUST attend BOTH trials, then it is clear that you have to omit players who don’t attend. To have this rule and not enforce it makes a mockery of the rule (which is would definitely deserve but that is not the point). Having said that – if it is NOT compulsory (which apparently it isn’t), then whether or not someone doesn’t attend the trial in Bendigo (or visa versa) makes little or no difference.

    The reality is that the only thing that ‘guarantees’ positions for starters is that they are clearly good enough to be in the team. Some players are like this – if you’re trying to win a national championship it is no longer a participation/fairness issue. As a generalisation they are also training more and at a higher level than others trying to get the other positions in the 12 (or 24 or 36 depending on how many teams you have). Disregarding whether this affects team harmony (and if you have a good coach it will not), if you’re good enough and fulfil the criteria, then what’s the issue?

  22. Sam said

    I can’t see the sense in why volleyball victoria would move the majority of trialing players to a distant location, but really, its not that much of an issue. It’s just one day. (good argument about volleyball victoria having a brand new home in dandenong tho)

    While the debate is touching on other subjects…I think that there is more to consider than how good a player in securing a position in the state team. A good attitude to all aspects of volleyball is an important aspect of a good player. Who can argue with that? Attending both trials is showing a good attitude and commitment to the team and their state. Some players in recent times dont see playing for and representing their state as a big deal. Some don’t turn up or turn up drunk and get away with it because they have the ability. (known by coaches) These players don’t show any respect for being able to represent their state, they certainly don’t show any respect for the rest of the team. Would that kind of behaviour be accepted in the Australian team?

    In relation to the three vic teams…the white team is viewed as being higher as the gold. Not to say it is. The first year that the gold team was introduced, the u19 mens gold team beat the u19 mens white. Training with the white team is better than the gold…there are trainings every weekend (as opposed to three weekends) and there are other teams to train against. There have been players since the gold introduction that live in the country yet have decided to play with white instead of gold, maybe for those reasons.

    A couple of questions…
    Does anyone know why VVI changed the location?
    Does the fact that there has been fires impact travel?
    what was wrong with the previous method of trialing?

    Lastly, Did VVI update the original trial plans by moving the trials foward a week as well as changing them to bendigo? I seem to remember that the first one was on the 22nd? Personally i find that more frustrating, especially done so close.

  23. dmack said

    I am with the country people!!! Having been a city slicker all my short volleyball career ive only ever had to travel a good 45min to trails and training even less when it moved to Dandenong.
    I understand the commitment and passion that drives a person to want to get up and drive (a lot 4,5,6 hours) to trials and then week in and week out to trainings. However it is that same passion and drive which seems to be missing with this ‘gold’ system. When I first herd about this team ‘gold’ I was excited. The first thing that came to mind was finally some competition at the championships, Victoria are not putting all their eggs in one basket for a win. I thought that like all good country teams mainly football and cricket that volleyball could join the ranks with a good tight knit group of kids than not only have the benefit of school play but also social comps and just general knowledge of knowing each other better. But instead to my surprise (and shock) some of the best country players up and went to join the ‘blue’ team.
    Now I understand in the context of things that “the blue team is to be considered the top team and Victoria’s best chance at gold medal” but why, who said so? Out in the country there are some excellent facilities and some extremely talented couches (some of the best I believe) and the most dedicated sports people, parents and athletes I have ever seen, and yet look at the state of the gold teams. WHY? You continually bow down to the powers that be? If you want change you need to do it yourself.

    If you ask me, if all you country kids stayed and played for the gold team it would be a team that could contend for medals. No longer will it be seen as a third string team just to please the parents but one to content at the championships. There is a really good crop of athletes in and coming through the system at the moment so now is the time to act. That idea for me spreads to the coaches as well. Why do country coaches continually put their hands up for metro teams when clearly country teams need their support? Here’s an idea stay up in the country and help develop country volleyball, why turn on the development of your kids and the future of your volleyball?

    Personally I hope to see the day that the top state team picked, which has the most athlete representatives for either country or metro, be given the title of best Victorian team (i.e the draw of the top state side not just the heading) and the home training advantages that come with it. And if any metro/country player wants to play for the top side in Victoria he or she would have to travel, making it a completely fair system for all. Now wouldn’t that be a nice thought?

  24. Hass said

    Whatever Terry!

  25. Sam said

    Bendigo results. 4 people showed up to the under 21 trial, 2 from bendigo, 2 from melbourne. How do you run drills with that?

  26. Volleyball Athlete said

    Who were these dedicated few? Since Terry said the first trial was not compulsory does this mean that if more people show up to the 2nd trial, these 4 athletes will be back on level playing field?

    In the U/19 department, there was a high amount of Eastern Melbourne athletes there (Eltham, Monbulk et cetera). All up around 38 for U/19 boys which isn’t that bad.

  27. Big Ren said

    Four People………….. wow im sure VVI have cracked open the bubbley and are celebrating that turn out! U/19 Boys are going to have 38 kids no matter where you host it one of the most committed age group for sure.

  28. Vballer said

    I did hear a reason why there was a bad turnout for 21s apart from the fact it was in bendigo.
    Not naming names, but many have said it is somethin to do with the head coach. Thats all i’ll say.
    As for Big Ren, dont know what you have to argue about, your not even here, it doesnt worry you, so stop complaining about things that dont even involve you. Turnout was great for 19s and some good kids rocked up that would not have made it to the melbourne trial.
    I think people over estimate the time it takes to get to bendigo.
    Its hardly anything. Ren said that academies organise buses and stuff for bendigo people but they have to, and have, organised it privately every year. With a substantial cost to them.
    You wouldnt know the half of it.
    So people who are complaining thats just wrong.

  29. Fringe dweller said

    When making a Statement please clear up your points Sam!
    The Under 21 girls had 13 trial, the Under 21 boys were the ones that didn’t bother to turn up.
    The Under 19 boys had approx 38 trial, the Under 19 girls had about 36. The Under 17 boys had about 34 attend and the Under 17 girls had 36 turn up. Wonthaggi, Gippsland & Mildura had to travel the furtherest and they supported the Bendigo trial the most.

    Here is hoping next Sunday has more athletes! I know we’ll be there.

  30. Big Ren said

    Im not complaining Vballer i believe i said the U/19s were committed and that VVI wouldnt be celebrating the 4 person turn out for U21 Men….. i just didnt say it in a flat and boring way.

    Even though im not there i can still have a vested interest in the volleyball community :)

  31. Bob said

    Another great decision from our great VVI leader, this doesn’t surprise me!

  32. Sam said

    Fringe Dweller – Clear up my points? What does that mean?

    In my opinion older age group teams are basically chosen before the trials even happen. Athletes are alreday known from playing other years, and as long as they are willing to play it doesnt really matter if they trial. So volleyball athlete i wouldn’t say that it mattered much that even those 4 athletes showed up.

    Vballer – I really don’t think that the head coach played a significant role in the decision to come to bendigo.

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