World Championship: Cabin fever: Volleyball players yearn for World Cup debut

Will bei der WM dreckigen Volleyball sehen: Vital Heynen, Bundestrainer Frauen. Foto: Matthias Koch/dpa

Wants to see “dirty” volleyball at the World Cup: Vital Heinen, national coach for women. Photo: Matthias Koch / DPA


Volleyball players have prepared fiercely for the World Cup. Good mood, how can this happen to Coach Heenan. Before the start, the fingers of the players are itching.

Kianbaum – Seven weeks can be a long time. With the full focus on the sport the Olympic and Paralympic training center in Kienbaum allows, at some point German volleyball players and their coaches found peace and tranquility abound.

“It could certainly start slowly. Over the past few days, a little cabin fever has spread,” laughs outside attacker Jennifer Janiska, a few days before the start of the World Cup in the Netherlands and Poland.

Janiska praises team spirit and team spirit

National coach Vital Heinen also agrees with his player. “Seven weeks in Kienbaum was very long,” says the Belgian. “Five kilometres, then comes the first home where anything can be found.” Next Sunday, the team will play their first preliminary round match against Bulgaria (7pm / Sportdeutschland.tv) in Arnhem, Netherlands. Then it is against Kazakhstan, Serbia, USA and Canada. The top four teams in the group advance to Round Two.

Everyone praises the preparation and conditions, including diagonal attacker Lena Stigroot. The team found its rhythm and worked carefully. And apparently it didn’t spoil the atmosphere. “I must say I haven’t experienced such team spirit in a long time,” says Janiska. “Everyone wants the tournament to start now.” It is picked up from dealing with each other through a phrase. The 53-year-old coach and his players keep joking during the conversation. Proverbs go both ways.

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“It’s really an interesting mix we have,” Stigroot says. The mix of young and old players fits in well. Some players in particular, such as SC Potsdam’s Laura Emonts, who is back after a long break, would fit in very well with the team. “It is difficult for opponents to prepare for Germany,” Henen says. “We have 14 clowns.” The team is changeable, may play a more classic system, but also new ones with three experts up for approval.



Above all, Henen wants to see good performance

After long and successful years as a men’s coach, change continues for Heenan, who dared to make the leap to the women’s team at the start of the year. “Of course I learned a lot, but almost every day I still think: Wow, I didn’t think about that,” says the Belgian. It is a change of attitude that can do good to any person. Customization is a challenge and an enrichment at the same time. “We are like sponges absorbing their experience and their confidence in their teams,” Stigroot says.

The team is in an intermediate stage after exceptional player Louisa Lippmann moved to beach volleyball. In the Nations League in the summer, the team narrowly missed the final round. Regarding the World Cup target, Janiska says, “We definitely want to reach the early stages.” Above all, Heenen wants to see good performances. They have long term plans. “The team aims to be back at the Olympics in three years,” the Belgian says while watching the Games in Paris. This has not happened since 2004.

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Heenen has precise ideas for his team’s performance in the World Cup. “I want to watch dirty volleyball,” he says. “Nasty, but without mistakes,” Stigroot specifies with a laugh.

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