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2016-05-04 13:46:00 CET

More than sports- the next generation

World Tour alumni are helping to develop the structures in beach volleyball

Rivo Vesik is in transition at the moment. For 13 years the Estonian played at the FIVB World Tour. With his partner Kristjan Kais, he has been one of the top-ten-teams in the world ranking several times between 2002 and 2009. In 2008 they also participated at the Olympics, but in September last year, Rivo achieved with Kristo Kollo a second place at the Continental Cup and gave Estonia a chance to obtain a spot for the Olympics at the Final in June.

As a player, Rivo is backtracking more and more, but that does not mean that he is saying goodbye to the FIVB World Tour. For the past two years he has been working with the young Russian team Artem Yarzutkin/Oleg Stoyanovskiy. At the moment he is preparing the two 19-year-olds for the Sochi Open. After that event the pair will go to the Under-21 World Championships in Lucerne between 11-16 May. “I like it to work as a coach,” says Rivo, who never had a coach during his career. Now he wants to pass on the experiences he collected as a player to the next generation. 

Carambula/Ranghieri here at Gstaad Major in 2015 are trained by Brazilian ex-pro beach volleyball athlete Paulo Moreira; Photo credit: Andreas LangreiterCarambula/Ranghieri here at Gstaad Major in 2015 are trained by Brazilian ex-pro beach volleyball athlete Paulo Moreira; Photo credit: Andreas Langreiter

Inspired by Mike Dodd

Many former World Tour players think like that. As pioneers of beach volleyball, the first players had to teach themselves like Mariano Baracetti did, who was World Champion in 2001 and FIVB Tour Champion in 2002. Now the 41-year-old is giving his knowledge to Argentina’s best women’s team Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug.

One man who has even more experience is Paulo Moreira, an iconic figure with seven FIVB Gold medals to his name between 1987 und 1997. The Italian Federation has employed the 47-year-old Brazilian to work with Adrian Carambula and Alex Ranghieri at the moment.

Before Paulao, Mike Dodd from the USA had been Italy’s head coach. The Olympic silver medalist of 1996 was the one who inspired Matteo Varnier. “He was my coach when I dislocated my shoulder in 2011 and had to quit,” says the Italian. Then Mike asked him to become his assistant. “That was a dream for me,” says the 39-year-old, who coaches his former partner Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo at the moment.

Matteo belongs to the second generation of former World Tour players who are trying to improve the organizational structure of beach volleyball. “I am very happy because I can see every year a little step forward,” he says. He believed having experience playing on the World Tour is helping a lot. “You know the athletes’ feelings during the season; all of the traveling, the emotions of winning and losing on one day – that is not easy to handle.” But Matteo is also sure that coaching courses should not be underestimated. “At the beginning I didn’t think that was important, but I knew after I did my certificate in Italy: Everybody should be educated.”

Daniele Lupo is one of the Italian players benefitting of the knowledge of the former beach volleyball pros; Photo credit: Andreas LangreiterDaniele Lupo is one of the Italian players benefitting of the knowledge of the former beach volleyball pros; Photo credit: Andreas Langreiter

Someone has to push it

Rivo also wants to do a course. “I have to learn a lot,” he says. But until now, he didn’t have the time. At the moment he is trying to help beach volleyball in Estonia. Young players are missing the opportunity to reach similar heights like Kais/Vesik did. “That was a clear mistake from our side,” explains Rivo. “We didn’t push the federation to create something for the young players.” Now they are raising their voices and Kristjan has started to coach six girls three times a week, while Rivo is planning to build three beach volleyball indoor courts in Tallinn. “Someone has to push it,” Rivo says. That’s what the former World Tour players do. 

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