devo's volleyball – Australian volleyball: news and views

Should VTAM tour the regions?

Posted by devo on July 8, 2009

vtamThe Australian Men’s team, having finished a European tour, are preparing to head to Canada ahead of qualification matches for the World Championships which will be held in China.

The preparation tours have been far less hectic this year, compared to the hell tour in 2008. I’m sure that the guys have appreciated having more time in Australia; more time with relatives and friends.

Next year, rather than spending about $100,000 (?) to play against Sweden and Denmark, what if the national team went on a 2 or 3 week tour of regional centres? They would play internal scrimmages and be travelling. You could invite special guests to play in certain games if they are former national team members and come from the area.

With the money saved, you could even fly over Dan H and Keiry, to boost the strength. The downside would be that you can’t play the full ‘starters’ and hence get as much practice at that. You would still have the second (first?) tour to bring it all together.

The upside would be that us fans would get to see our National team players in action. The Argentine series is now ancient history. I would travel to any Victorian regional centre to see the guys in action. Clubs could be encouraged to run busses. The regional area could organise weekend packages – great for the local economy.

Would you support such an event? Hit the poll in the left side column and the comments tag and let us know what you think.

21 Responses to “Should VTAM tour the regions?”

  1. eldo737 said

    We have been trying to get the guys to the new Mt Lofty Centre.
    Either your suggestion or,
    International team fly into Adelaide
    Match Mt Lofty
    Volleyball SA
    Melbourne – Fly out.

  2. Jase said

    As we had the discussion on here previously,
    you could play them against an all-star team, could even choose it from the AVL season. Maybe the best 12 players from AVL (not from the AIS) get to go up there for a week of intensive training to show what they have, then bus around playing in this series. Regional centres get income, non-AIS athletes get to train there and show the coaches what they’ve got in games, the senior guys get to play in front of their home towns/families/friends and we all get to watch, everybody wins.

    • Robbo said

      I’m all for an “all-star match” at State League against a national team. It would be great for the locals as they can support volleyball in general, either the national team or local players that they know. The only issue would be the difficulty in throwing a team togather and hoping they gel…

      but i’m definitely up for lending a hand if its going to mean the chance of having these things happen.

  3. Big Ren said

    I think a regional tour is a good idea but i dont think it should replace an international tour. Players need to experience travel, living out of a suitcase, hostile crowds and the different styles of play. Playing a European team is going to be different than playing an Australian team, through tactics and game play. The Australian team honestly need to be playing tougher teams across the world if they are wanting to prepare.

  4. Shane Warne said

    Completely agree with Big Ren! Sure a regional tour would be great for the crowd that made the trip to come and see the game, but if we want to be blunt, no one can really believe that an “all star” team is going to be up to the same standard as playing teams in Europe. Despite how low quality people think teams like Sweden and Denmark may be, I would assume they are better quality than we can produce in Australia at this present time.

  5. stan said

    I would love to see the team tour regional areas but unfortunately that would just not provide the level of game practise that the team would need.
    Rather I think that the amount of travelling done in a tour prior to a tournament overseas should be limited and spread out with the team spending more time in one place instead of heaps of time in a plane. There’s less jet lag and less tiredness then.
    I’ve heard too many times that players are exhausted before they even arrive for a tournament. How can they be expected to play well when they are physically exhausted?!
    Perhaps when they have some down time (yeah I know that’s not often) they can do some local touring.

  6. Region Lover said

    I think the discussion has got off track a little.

    The original idea was for the National Team, rather than go overseas, do a regional trip. Many of the difficulties of an international tour will remain (constant travelling, unusual surrounds, etc).

    Right now the players only ever “experience travel, living out of a suitcase, hostile crowds and the different styles of play”. As soon as they go overseas to play this is just about all they learn. Playing a dozen games in regional centres won’t affect this at all, in fact it will provide a highly unusual set of experiences related to playing in Australia to be able to manage!

    As for an AVL All-Star team, this would be a complete waste of time and money for the National Team, please lets face facts (unless a huge amount of money was spent to get people from around the world, and this defeats one of the purposes of the trip (to save money)). However key players who would attract local crowds, and boost the standard would be worthwhile (ie: perhaps Lofty, Phill, Jarryd, Nigel?).

    If there is anyone out there who would be able to host, help, anything….now’s the time to act!

    • Matt said

      Some good points however:
      1. I think we are over estimating the strength of some of the teams that the national team plays in Denmark and Sweden and forgetting the reduced strength of our team at that time. We are often missing key players such as Ben Hardy ect from these tours. Surely with guys like Lofty, Phill, Zane, Coady and some of the other national team players we could replicate such a tour.

      2. As for mimicking international playing environments, I agree. We couldn’t get a few thousand drumming fans in to a stadium…but why do the guys need this. Anyone who is even close to getting a gig on the senior team is already spending most of the year away playing in front of crowds in weird stadiums. They have already had this experience for a number of months.

      3. With regard to excessive travel and the cost of this…all the guys and girls who have played state and aussie juniors know the cost associated with playing. I know that guys like Phill and Coady would pay the small cost for a flight to Adelaide…or just drive there! We could save costs for the national team by scheduling these games when the team is all back in Oz. It’s far less costly to get from Canberra to Adelaide, Melbourne ect. Plus a few extra nights at home for the senior players might just be the refresher they need to keep them going…player longevity is a whole other argument.

      Hope this happens!

  7. Steve said

    Ignorant on the facts here, hence the question…

    If the “real” senior team is largely professionals playing in Europe then is it really cheaper for the team to play a series in Australia than to play against European national teams? Are all of the guys ever back in Australia at the same time v. all being in Europe at the same time?

    Now on to the opinion piece of the post(!):

    I think I am reasonably representative of the broader Australian sporting public in that I am only really interested in seeing top flight sport. The Australian team playing without all of its players playing against a team made of AVL players holds no appeal to me. Give me a full strength Australian team v. a top ten international team and I am there, otherwise I would prefer to watch that same game on TV/Youtube than see a lower quality game in person.

  8. nathan said

    With all due respect I think that you will find a national team from Denmark or Sweden is a far stronger team than putting together an ‘all star’ team of guys from around Australia. The national team may of won the matches against those teams (as they were expected to do) But they also played some very strong volleyball to beat them in the fashion that they did. I think the comment about missing senior players such as Ben is becoming more irrelevant as time goes by. Benny is a great player but now the national team is nowhere near as week as it once was when missing a few big names due to the promising players coming through.
    I completely agree that playing more matches in Australia is a big priority in order to ‘popularize’ the sport and simply for volleyball fans to see their team. Maybe even internal matches between ‘green and gold’ Australian teams mixed with some non AIS players if needed is a good way to go. However our first goal should be to play our NT against foreign teams where possible.

  9. Jack said

    I think Nathan has hit the nail on the head. It sounds as if the people in here are trying to discredit the success of our national teams success in the past couple of months. I highly doubt that anyone in here is aware of the actual standard that the national team is playing at right now, it seems to be all assuming. For example Ben isnt playing etc etc. Obviously Ben is great, but we also have alot of younger players who have stepped up to the plate and are also playing great volleyball, but nobody seems to be recognising this outside of the actual national team. Once again with all due respect, putting a team together consisting of players such as “Lofty and Coady” just will not cut it. Its impossible for players like that who are no longer training full time, and havent done so for years and years, to compete with players who are training on a daily basis. As much as everyone loves to discredit Scandanavia, they do play good volleyball, and the national team had to play a very tight brand of volleyball to get the wins. It was not easy. It would be nice for some people to make some positive comments in regards to the national team once in a while, rather than trying to find things that they think are wrong.

    • devo said

      @ Jack
      It was not my intention to discredit the national team, or their successes. I have the highest regard for VTAM. It was a lack of coverage of their efforts that resulted in the beginnings of this blog. I know several of the players personally. I know the work and commitment that they put in day after day. I am always pleased to let people know how they are going.
      1: My orinal suggestion was for internal scrimmage
      2: One of the biggest problems we have in recognising how well the team is going is that we never get to see them play.
      3: Although the program has been cut back this year, the consistent travel and associated tiredness will always be a concern leading into tournaments that will make or break our program.
      4: Despite the protestations of many, some of the teams we played against on the last European tour are not the greatest in the world, no matter how well our young players played against them.
      5: Are you suggesting that any of the young players on the team are a replacement for an uninjured Ben? Please!

      • Jack said

        @ Devo
        I really dont believe that anyone, even on the last tour, would have been that “tired”. The coaches provide the athletes with a good amount of rest and recovery time, and at the end of the day they are elite athletes, im sure they can handle a bit of travel. How soft are we going to be here?

        Secondly I dont ever recall saying that the teams that were played against on the last European tour were the greatest in the world? Althouh but they are better than what can be produced within Australia if we want to be blunt about it.

        Finally I also didnt suggest at any point that anyone was replacing Ben, but as you said, he is injured so he has to be replaced, simple as that. It seems to me that what is actually being suggested here is that players like Coady and Lofty are going to replace any European national team. Please!

    • Region Lover said

      – no one is discrediting anything
      – participating in full time training does not automatically mean you are good. It is possible for someone who has been playing for 15 years to be better than a 15 year old in full time training
      – its possible to make positive comments AND try to find things that can be done better

      • Jack said

        Ok, who said anything about 15 year olds? The youngest guy in the national team is Aidan Zingel at 18 and is currently the best middle in the national team at the moment. I dont know when anything was ever said about being in full time training meaning you are good, ill tell you for a fact some of the guys up in canberra training full time are not up to scratch yet, but they are developing. Im just saying that guys who arent training anymore, ie lofty and coady who seem to be coming up alot, are not up to standard, its just a fact. Hypothetically, I would love for this “all star” team to travel overseas and see if they can get the results the national team have achieved. Not likely.

  10. Freddy said

    I think it is a good idea to play some internal matches. I would put my hand up in a second to prepare and play with an all-star team against the senior team. I know the quality would’nt be up to standard for what the national team would like… but i think if it just replaced one stop off a tour it would be worth it. I am a big fan of games in australia and would love to be a part of it and support it. It would be tough for some guys too take say 2 weeks off work (1 week preparation… or just a weekend) and go to canberra and say melbourne but i would love to put the idea foward to the avf and just see what they say!

  11. Liam Mackin said

    get beardy down!

  12. edbinnie said

    Forget about playing some all stars from times gone by (or didn’t quite get there).

    right now, there are 30+ players listed on the VTAM website (from now on, in the absence of a decent name, I shall hence forth call Volleyball Team Australia Men the Emroos (pronounced EE M Roo)- a combination of the forward only, lean, lanky, fast and powerful members of our coat of arms, the Emu and Kangaroos).
    The Emroos have more than enough players to be calling on to play some very strong internal trialling and training. Sando, Wallace, NGR etc included too.

    Since I have been involved in volleyball (2001), I have seen the Emroos play live twice – in that ill fated Korean Air Jumbos series. They played a series in Melbourne. And there have been a solid number of games in Canberra, although most of us don’t have the luxury of up and leaving to go down there whenever a game is on – especially those involved in their own volleyball commitments.

    All we are asking for is a little bit of contact. Most volleyball fans in Oz have never seen Hardy play. nor Howard. nor Van Beest. Phil was the lanky little libero at the AIS (what 5 years ago?) playing in AVL. Carroll was an even lankier kid that didn’t know what a comb was. We can all read, and watch computer links of how amazing these guys were at the best. Howard, Van Beest, and de Salvo have all now retired from international volleyball. Many never saw them play.

    Even if its not regional (sorry devo) surely a small Australian tour wouldn’t hurt the volleyball public’s view of the team. Right now, that view is almost non-existent.

    Fri Sat Sun in Perth. Fri Sat Sun in Adelaide. Fri Sat Sun in Melbourne.
    Fri Sat Sun in Sydney. Fri Sat Sun in Brisbane.
    Let everyone see how great the Emroos are.
    I know how short the international window is, and getting preparation to qualify for World Champs and Olympics takes priority. But at some stage, it would be nice to see them play.

    Maybe this is too tough on the Emroo management. Right now, they care about results, and rightly too. In the past, they have never locked people out of watching the Emroos train in Canberra. And are more than happy to chat and talk volleyball at AVSC, or wherever else you can find them.

    But it would be awesome to see these guys play …

  13. nathan said

    I think it’s just very tough to plan, the national team i’m sure would love to both tour Australia and play quality matches overseas. However this is very tough due to time constraints. It’s been mentioned that this international season is less hectic. As a national team memeber I will spend approx 44 days in Australia in total if i head to my club fairly soon after World champs qualifiers (and then return from my club later for asians) Maybe 10 of those days are spent at home. (my only time at home for the year) Also the first 2 weeks after returnning from Europe we have a lot of guys who can’t train fully because they have been smashed by their club teams without receiving in some cases any treatment for 8 months. So as much as a lot of the guys would love to tour, they would also love to stay in one place and get in a routine, get some physio and train their arses off for at least some period of time. Rather than travelling around some more and getting more tired and injured. So to tour Australia it’s almost certain we will have to ditch an international tour. If there comes a year where we dont travel as much it is certainly a good idea to travel within Australia. However in the last 3 years especially it has not been possible due to the time constraints.

    • devo said

      I understand what you are saying. But there is another option. Use the money from one of the tours to get a team here to tour. You only need to look at the success of the Argentine tour to see that this would work. Give us the chance to support you guys.
      Who knows Nath, you may even get an extra night with the rels if the tour heads to the right city!

      • ScottL said

        Damn Devo… Beat me to it.

        I think remember reading on here one that Japan get (effectively) the USA second team out every year and play scrimmage matches with them all around Japan. The Japanese get time at home, yet still experience a tour. Win, win for them.

        Now, geographically, for Australians to get a European country out here, or a North American one would be quite hard, as the distances and costs increase, but there is still plenty of strenght in Asia (as far as I understand) [China, Japan, some of the better Middle-Eastern countries like Iran]. Or look again to South America. Argentina again, Cuba possibly, and so on…

        With a tour at home, you would probably be able to take a larger Australian squad, which could include younger members, which would benefit from game play with other VTAM members, and from the international competition.

        Does the AVF explore these options? And would the players prefer this? I have no idea… I am sure there are upsides, and down sides to every option, but I see more good than bad with other teams coming here.


        P.S. And it might help boost sport popularity here, and maybe we could get one match where the AJVC’s are being held that year…

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