The executive of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Volleyball Association must tap themselves on the shoulder for their tenacity in seeing through the National Volleyball Championships.
Off the calendar for the past seven years, the championships returned this year, and one can say without hesitation, it was a resounding success.
This success though cannot be measured from the fact that it came to an end, and there were winners, prizes were presented, as there were some exponential growth and development in players’ skill levels as the championships wore on.
This immediately answers the need for them to play more and more, and do so consistently.
Another of the positives coming out of the championships was the number of females and female units that participated.
Volleyball, like other national sports, have been suffering from a lack of females willing to play, and more-so, avail themselves to be part of a competitive setting.
Such was the response, that there were eight female teams, as opposed to seven in the male first division and three in the male elite.
Additionally, and of great significance, the National Volleyball Championships provided an insight of the talent pool, especially with the females and the male first division.
These groupings added to the well established players who competed in the male elite division.
All round, the just concluded volleyball championships did a lot to rekindle interest as evident in the turn-out as some of the matches, and the atmosphere of banter that became part and parcel of matches, namely in the male elite division.
It was thus pleasing to the eyes last Saturday at the finals, to see some elderly folks show up to the Girls’ High School hard court venue to witness the finals, obviously on the invitation of person(s) close to the sport.
The ball therefore is literally and figuratively in the court of the persons who are on the executive of the SVG Volleyball Association, to build on what accrued from the 2019 National Volleyball Championships.
Future enhancement though must not be confined to activities, but the broadening of personnel.
Compliments the return of the national championships, players namely, got an opportunity to referee, which assists immensely in their own knowledge of the sport.
But ideally, one would prefer to see former players of volleyball, come to the fore and help in this regard.
On the to do list as well, is for persons to come forward and lend their expertise with the management of the teams, as evident in the last championships, that aspect rests on one or two persons.
In this regard, this column has the highest commendation to Del Ollivierre, who stepped in to fill a technical role with the powerful and highly skilled Country Roots male elite team.
Ollivierre, despite being a member of the Gremlins Club, put aside allegiance for the greater good of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ volleyball.
And, to exemplify Ollivierre’s input, before the intervention of Ollivierre, had lost their first two matches, but he turned things around in terms of leadership, and the script was completed with Country Roots taking the male elite division.
So with the National Volleyball Championships tucked away until 2020, more still has to be done by the small number of stakeholders, in getting more persons involved in volleyball.
Those clubs that competed in the championships, can take it upon themselves, in collaboration with the SVGVA’s executive, to embark on a drive to recruit younger players.
Presently, volleyball continues to have its main catchment areas being the North Central Windward area and the Belair/ Dauphine community, and the time is rife to break new ground, as well as revive the sport in communities like Layou, which at one time was a bastion.
The keepers of volleyball cannot remain contented that despite the absence of national championships for several years, St Vincent and the Grenadines continued to be a force at all levels within the Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association (ECVA) region.
The onus is on those persons in administration, to continue to develop volleyball as in the last eight years, it has brought St Vincent and the Grenadines some recognition, with the pouching of a few sub-regional titles.
Quietly, volleyball is carving out is own niche in its small corner, hence, it is only upwards should be the next movement.