THE Jamaica Volleyball Association (JaVA) officially began its National Under-13 training programme at five centres across the island on Saturday, fast on the heels of a visit by International Volleyball coach Reed Sunahara.
Training commenced at the Sports Development Commission (SDC) Multi-purpose facility in Springfield, Morant Bay; Mico Teachers' College, Kingston; Runaway Bay Primary, St Ann; Corinaldi Ave Primary, St James, and Mannings School, Westmoreland.
Sessions will continue fortnightly at each training centre from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm (except for Westmoreland, which will run from 7:00 to 10:00 am every Saturday).
Over 120 boys and girls from across the island were identified, mainly from the Primary/Prep School Competition, and invited to be a part of the national programme supervised by national head coach Steve Davis, who is supported by coaches and administrators in each parish.
Coaches include Lesta Bernard and Garth Russell (St Thomas), Damian Gooden and Diana Millwood (Kingston), Adrian Ramdeen and Richard Johnson (St Ann), Andre Neil and Ricardo Williams (St James) and Oral Channer and Errol Smith (Westmoreland).
Most of these persons were beneficiaries of the NORCECA Development Plan, funded by the FIVB Development Fund.
Bernard and Neil successfully completed the FIVB Level I Coaches Course hosted by Jamaica in November. Gooden and Ramdeen attended a Middle Players Seminar in St Lucia in September. Channer and Smith attended a Setters Seminar in Antigua in October.
Davis was accompanied by head coach of the senior female team, Gatasheu Bonner, for a two-week developmental training in Brazil in September supported in part by Brazil Volleyball Federation.
Davis commended JaVA for getting the programme off the ground.
"It is easy to talk about what we want to do but not near as easy to make it happen. I believe JaVA has taken a giant leap in just getting this effort started. It is by no means perfect but... we are heading in the right direction," he said.
"I know the association is struggling to find the financial support necessary to sustain the programme so I really hope the sporting agencies of the Government and corporate Jamaica can chip in to make our ultimate goal of being world beaters in volleyball a reality," he added.
JaVA president Major Warrenton Dixon said they wanted to start these training sessions from as early as June but were hampered by a number of things. He highlighted victories over Caribbean powerhouse Barbados in both male and female competitions this year as evidence the sport is headed in the right direction.