10 Nov 2023

Volleyball England outlines new Talent Pathway approach

Volleyball England outlines new Talent Pathway approach

A new approach to talent identification and development is being adopted by Volleyball England with the long-term aim of qualifying for future Olympic games and major championships across all age groups.

A comprehensive review of the current Talent structure was conducted by Hub staff over the summer, consulting coaches, club representatives, Region leaders, the Talent Working Group and the Volleyball for Life Sub-Group, as well as the Volleyball England Board.  

A number of key priorities have been identified, including: 

  • Expanding the coaching base throughout the country and upgrading their skills to provide players broader access to quality coaching in all settings (clubs, schools, etc.). 
  • Making sure players have the best competitive opportunities, both domestically and internationally. 
  • Proving holistic support to players on and off the court around education, wellbeing, strength and conditioning, physio and nutrition.  
  • Aligning the Talent structure on the Indoor side with European Championships, which encourages a new cohort structure (including the addition of U22s), and a new selection and training philosophy that moves towards longer camps focused more on preparation for competitive performance. 
  • Improved, more frequent communications on Talent Pathway developments and direction. 

Explaining the new approach, Volleyball England’s Strategic Manager (Talent), John Forman, said: “The Talent Programme has as its core mission the development of athletes capable of competing at the highest standard of international Volleyball. 

“To do so, we must identify those with the potential to reach that level, and see they have the structure – both directly through Volleyball England activities, and indirectly via clubs, Regions, etc. – to develop the technical, tactical, physical, mental, and other elements necessary. 

“After the summer review, the new plan is now ready to be put into action over the months and years ahead. We’re under no illusions that it will instantly see us qualify for the 2028 Olympics in Indoor (though we’re better positioned in Beach and Sitting), but the intention is to lay the foundations to do so. 

“We believe changes in structure, philosophy and selection – particularly Indoor – are vital if we are to become consistently more competitive on the international stage. Not only will it ensure we are better lined up with international tournament formats, and to allow for things like foreign training/playing opportunities, it will also ensure that players continually work on getting better. 

“Just as important are to get other elements right, such as good quality coaching, giving all-round support to players, communicating better what is happening and lightening the burden on athletes and families to finance participation. 

“Only by addressing all these things together can we make real progress on our overall objective.” 

The first Indoor England camps to run under the new plan are expected to take place at Easter. Initial Beach selections for the next season will be on a similar timeline. 

National selections for Sitting teams fall under the jurisdiction of the BVF, but Volleyball England is bidding to improve the domestic structure and Junior interest levels.

Any queries in the meantime should be addressed by email to talent@volleyballengland.org. 

You can view the Talent Pathway plan in full by clicking here.