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Young interest surrounds Vic State Volleyball Centre

Posted by devo on May 11, 2009

While traditional junior sports such as football are struggling for numbers in Dandenong, interest in volleyball has spiked. A surge of interest from youngsters aged 8 to 13 has prompted Volleyball Victoria‘s development officer Michael Brookens to form a club for Dandenong youngsters.

Brookens said the Dandenong Vikings would make their debut in the state junior league later this month. “We’ve had to form the club because of the increased calls from kids looking for clubs to play with. “There are no clubs that cater for kids that young. “We’ve also identified the need for an increase in skills development and competition in the 8-to-13 age group.”

Brookens, a coach at university and Olympic level in the US for 18 years, moved to Australia after marrying a Melbourne woman. He said he was stunned by the local volleyball talent. ‘There is so much talent in Dandenong and around Australia. I tell my university coaching friends in America that I have plenty of players to send them. “There’s quite a few Australians playing in America already.”

The new Vikings club will play in the modified Spikezone competition with smaller courts, lower net, a softer and lighter ball, and fewer players on court. Youngsters interested in playing for the Dandenong Vikings can contact Michael Brookens on 9794 0009. more@FairfaxDigital

4 Responses to “Young interest surrounds Vic State Volleyball Centre”

  1. Grace S said

    As a development officer, shouldn’t your focus be on “developing stratergies” to get systems/programs in place with either schools/clubs? Getting grass root established. Not building a club, even though it is junior focused. It’s admirable that you are doing this but I believe that if you are employed as development officer then you should be going to schools and exposing teachers/students to this game called volleyball.

    With junior state league, some of the problems with getting juniors to play on Saturday morning is that they are already committed to school events.

    • michael said

      What I do as development officer is I am responsable for filling requests from schools to conduct training for their students and teachers as well as run gala days and junior competitions, and support sporting expo’s put on by various school organizations. I am also responsable for trying to grow the sport among the young athletes in victoria. Expose them to the game and get them exctited about it. I currently am involved in Active after school projects at different schools every day of the week as well as running lunch time clinics at others. I run spike zone trainings and competitions on friday nights. I will travel to bendigo for a week prior to the country champs to conduct clinics in schools in bendigo in lead up to grow more interest, then gippsland the week after that, then geelong. So my job as developement officer is a 7 day a week job that includes all of victoria trying to promote, educate, and build excitement for the sport of volleyball for primary and secondary schools. I also have a derective to give support to community projects and local refugee/sudanese groups to get them involved as well. The Dandenong vikings gives the primary and early secondary school kids a place to go after I’ve gone to their school and built some interest as there is nothing provided for these age groups by local clubs. The Vikings club training will be run on Sudays from 5pm. The junior league competiton that I am trying to establish will also be run on Sundays from 4pm for schools and idividuals who want to continue to train and compete. As part of that program I will provide coaches for the schools that enter if needed so teachers do not have to give up weekends to be involved. I will also offer free entry into VIC schools cup for any school team that plays in the league. This is my project idea with the support from VVI for the kids of Victoria. So your right in a sense that my job is to get systems/programs in place but thats not all it’s about. It’s about getting the kids who are not already involved in the sport an opportunity as much as supporting those who already are.

      • Grace S said

        I now know a bit more of what is going on. Thanks. I was curious as to what is being done for the development as some of my old playing/team mates that now have pre/early teen kids of their own & living in outer regions (not close to Dandy), want to know where their kids can learn how to play volleyball properly, as some school teachers don’t know how or are not interested. So I will direct them to you in future.

  2. The Man said

    Brookens, keep up the good work. participation, Participation is what its about…. So many people quick to jump down your throat before the first ask the questions….

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