In an effort to bolster both beach and indoor volleyball in The Bahamas, the local governing body for the sport has brought in an international specialist with a focus on training and development.
FIVB (International Volleyball Federation) certified instructor Dr. Trevor Theroulde is in The Bahamas, ready to lend his expertise and help develop local Bahamian talent. He said that the beach aspect, in particular, has tremendous potential in the islands, capable of reaching the Olympic level. Already, a quartet of young Bahamian men currently play on the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Tour.
Here at home, about 50 young girls between the ages of 10-17 are working out on a daily basis from 6-9 p.m., trying to improve their skills in beach volleyball. Theroulde is a FIVB Level III coaching instructor for the NORCECA (North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation) region. He served as the Head Coach of the Trinidad and Tobago Senior Women’s National Volleyball Team from 1995-2002, and was also an executive in the Trinidad and Tobago Volleyball Federation. Theroulde became the youngest coach ever to be awarded the Caribbean Volleyball Coach of the Year Award. He achieved that accolade in 1997 after leading Trinidad and Tobago to its first Senior Women’s Caribbean Volleyball Championship, and the country’s highest world ranking in women’s volleyball.
“I’ve been traveling to different countries to help in the technical development of volleyball through the FIVB coaching and training project – give young athletes opportunities to participate at the highest level,” said Theroulde. “The main objective is for regional participation – we also want sustainable growth. We want to provide opportunities for the young players to grow, then we could create a capacity for those players to play at the highest level, and probably obtain scholarships to the United States.
“The Bahamas Volleyball Federation (BVF) has a vision of what they’re trying to accomplish. We are working together to provide an avenue for the young athletes in particular – to bring The Bahamas back to the level where it once was. We want to generate that sort of interest again. At the same time, we want to aid in the development process of coaches so that the coaches in turn could develop players. The goal is to make it to the Olympics. We have to start from now to develop the correct habits and techniques. Our region is very tough to come out of, so we are trying to create the experience here for our teams to compete at a very high level.”
BVF President Joe Smith said that they in the federation believe that their efforts will grow volleyball in the country and help improve the position of The Bahamas’ teams in the region beyond expectations.
“The main objective is for him to assist in the overall development of the sport here in The Bahamas,” said Smith. “He is going to work with the BVF to develop grassroots volleyball – identify elite athletes for high performances, training, and provide technical assistance in all facets of volleyball development. We want to elevate beach and indoor volleyball to a preferred sport in The Bahamas. Coach Trevor is a former NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division I coach for 13 years. We’re in the process of preparing youth and junior teams to travel this year. We are currently developing athletes in New Providence, and we have plans for Grand Bahama, Abaco, Andros and the rest of The Bahamas as well. We want to intensify training for the development of our national teams, and improve as much as possible to gain entry into continental championships.”
Smith said that the long-term goal is to qualify for the world championships and the Olympics in beach and indoor volleyball, but the short-term focus is to prepare teams for the Under-18 CAZOVA (Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association) Championships in Kingston, Jamaica, this summer; and the Under-21 CAZOVA Championships in Fort-de-France, Martinique, later this year.
“We want these kids to look at volleyball as an alternative,” said Theroulde. “We must bring that interest back in volleyball and allow the Bahamas Volleyball Federation to accomplish its goals. We have to get to the point where they are participating at the highest level again.”
In beach volleyball, Smith said that it is the intention of the federation to stage NORCECA Beach Volleyball Tour matches here in The Bahamas. He said that NORCECA President Cristóbal Marte Hoffiz has already expressed an interest in bringing the tour to The Bahamas, and it’s just up to the local powers that be to make it happen.
“We have one of the best facilities for beach volleyball in the NORCECA region here in The Bahamas,” he said. “The tour ends in Jamaica in November, but we have players out there accumulating points and that’s important because they can qualify for the world championships and the Olympics. Even if they don’t qualify for the world championships, they can still try to get in via a wildcard and from there we could see a team from The Bahamas qualify for the Olympics. Also, they are trying to put together a CAZOVA beach volleyball circuit because in the NORCECA region, it is difficult for our athletes who have to come home to their jobs to compete with professional players.”
Currently on the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Tour for The Bahamas are Jon Isaacs, Kyle Wilson, Donavan Wilmott and Muller Petit.
The 12th edition of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships will be held from June 28 to July 7 at the Am Rothenbaum Stadium in Hamburg, Germany.