Cayman’s junior national boys and girls volleyball teams will be on the court Sunday for the opening of the Philippine Volleyball Club League at Airport Park at 4-10pm.
The young players have been preparing for the start of competition with the help of Roger Southam, new junior national team high performance coach with the Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation. He has focussed on improving camaraderie and communication, as well as on how to deal with game-time pressure, especially when playing in an adult league.
“It is a pleasure to work with the junior national volleyball teams,” said Southam. “[They are] a dedicated, focussed set of young people who have the will to win. I am delighted to be working with them on building mental strength [so they can] play at their best and be able to get into the zone at will. Working with them as a team and individuals, it is good to be able to make them the best they can possibly be.”
The juniors are being led by technical director Javid Ali and coaches Mark Ray and Marcus Patterson.
“With several weeks of training winding down, we enter into the islands’ largest tournament,” said Patterson. “We are looking to see how well players have advanced in all aspects of the game, technically and tactically. The best young volleyball prospects on island will be featured on our youth team and this in itself is an accomplishment already.
“Youth ambassadorship will be on display, so we are looking to see these student athletes demonstrate the necessary conduct worthy of being called Cayman Islands’ volleyball future.”
Coaching partner Ray noted how the players have improved. “The junior teams are progressing well and their development from last year to this year has been good,” he said. “The combination of their training at junior national practice and with their clubs, in addition to participation in the various leagues, has been a positive developmental experience for them. We are excited at the prospects with our young players as it relates to the future of volleyball in Cayman.”
While the junior athletes will test themselves in the local adult leagues, they are also looking ahead to the Amateur Athletic Union Junior National Championships in Orlando, Florida, where they are hoping to play this June.
Throughout the year, the Volleyball Federation, in an effort to improve all aspects of the sport, is hosting a series of ‘Know the Game’ sessions. Federation president Kennedy McGowan explained the clinics are aimed at facilitating “the development of indoor and beach volleyball players, coaches, and referees with the aim of raising the profile of the game”.