Volleyball New Zealand has seen teams go from strength to strength

Women’s and men’s national beach volleyball pairs in New Zealand have been given a boost by FIVB support equipment and coaching over the past four years.

The support has included 12 months of beach volleyball coaching support in 2018 and 2021, with support also approved for 2022. In addition, in 2017 and 2019, the FIVB supplied Volleyball New Zealand with equipment including 100 beach volleyballs and several nets and net systems.

Through this support, Volleyball New Zealand has been able to improve the level of its national teams by focusing on a strong selection process, achieving greater success at an international level and elevating the quality and depth of its beach volleyball teams.

In particular, the 12 months of coaching support has enabled Coach Jason Lochhead to raise the technical, tactical, physical and psychological level of national team pairs which include Shaunna Polley and Alice Zeimann, Sam O’Dea and Ben O’Dea, and Thomas Hartles and Alani Nicklin.

This year, Polley and Zeimann became the first New Zealand women’s duo to win a FIVB World Tour event as they emerged victorious at a 1-star event in Cortegaca, Portugal. The duo is currently ranked 47th in the world.

FIVB President Dr Ary S. Graça F° said:

“The FIVB is committed to supporting the development of beach volleyball across the globe by reinvesting the money that comes from the sport back into the sport. New Zealand is a great example of a country which has become more competitive at an international level and started to unlocked its true potential by utilising FIVB support. I have been impressed by Volleyball New Zealand’s commitment to growing the game and I am excited to see the future development of the sport in the country.”

Volleyball New Zealand’s project goals include a gold medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games beach volleyball competition, a podium finish at future Olympic Games and a top 15 World Ranking for one or more of its pairs.

Volleyball New Zealand President Claire Stewart said:

“FIVB development support benefits New Zealand by providing investment into a full-time, high-performance coach working on the sand with our athletes. In the past we have had talented athletes who have just lacked a coach to enable them to take the next step. With the FIVB’s support, Jason is able to lead our athletes in all aspects of beach volleyball. Volleyball New Zealand appreciates the recognition and support that the FIVB has given to National Federation to further develop high performance beach volleyball.”

Coach Jason Lochhead is based on Mount Maunganui Beach in the Bay of Plenty, three hours south east of Auckland. Many athletes have relocated to Mount Maunganui to train with Coach Jason and Volleyball New Zealand plan to increase training and development as summer arrives. The New Zealand Beach Tour is set to begin in the new year and will provide even more opportunities for top athletes to train and play in a competitive environment.

Volleyball New Zealand Director of Coaching, Jason Lochhead, said:

“I am delighted to be able to relocate to my homeland of New Zealand. FIVB development support allows me to work for Volleyball New Zealand and train our high-performance athletes towards international success. We know that there are great athletes with amazing talent in New Zealand, but they just haven’t had access to a high-performance coach. I am hoping that I can have a significant impact on their progress.”

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