01. 04. 2020

INTERVIEW: Emanuele Zanini - "The coronavirus will leave a huge impact, not only on the volleyball"

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It is hard to talk about volleyball when the whole world stopped because of the rapid spread of coronavirus pandemic, but here we are with a head coach of Croatia’s men national team, Emanuele Zanini.

 

Before the COVID-19 took a hard swing all around the world, a 54-year old Italian expert was newly appointed as a head coach of Polish club Asseco Resovia.

As an Italian born in the region hit the hardest by coronavirus in Italy, Lombardy, what is your outlook on the whole situation in Italy? When do you suppose the nation will start its healing process?

I am very sad and worried about the situation in the world, especially about my region Lombardy. I can only hope that soon we will “beat this enemy” by following the rules and staying home, as I can tell the number of infected people in Italy is slowly decreasing.”

How do you spend your days in quarantine? Did you manage to return to your family in Italy or have stayed in Poland?

Unfortunately, I am still in Resovia because there are no flights and the borders are closed. So I created a daily routine to keep me occupied. My routine consists of analyzing volleyball markets in search of young talented players, studying the French language, preparing my thesis for my next Master's Degree in Sport Management. Also, I read a lot of books, listen to music, watch movies in the evening and workout from home or along the riverside. Obviously my routine wouldn’t be complete without maintaining everyday contact with my family and friends.”

What impact will this situation have on the volleyball world, will it recover in time? All the leagues and international competitions have been canceled or postponed, even the Olympics were postponed for the next year.

The coronavirus spread will leave a huge impact, not only on the volleyball but on the whole world in general. Our health, freedom and habits have been compromised and we must prepare for the huge economic impact that it will have on all of us. In Poland, PlusLiga has been canceled as the leagues in several other countries, so I think the same will happen with the Italian national league. Postponing the Olympics was a correct decision, considering the difficulties we are facing.”

 

As your contract with Asseco Resovia is until the end of this season, does this mean your adventure in Poland is unfortunately over?

I came to Poland to manage the club for the final part of the season, but unfortunately after 25 days coronavirus stopped my work. They offered me the position for the next season, but I decided to honor my agreement with the Croatian Volleyball Federation. Despite that, I offered them my consulting services in regards to creating a roster for the next season, so I can only say that our relationship remained professional and fair.”

Busy summer was ahead for Croatias men national team, as you were supposed to lead them in Silver League and qualifications for EuroVolley 2021. In your opinion, is there a chance that European qualifications will still be held in August?

“Our plan for this summer was already in motion, but these unfortunate events postponed everything. I hope that the European qualifications will still be held in August, but we will have to wait for CEV’s decision.”

What is your advice for all the volleyball players on how to stay in shape, both physically and mentally?

Well, physically they must retain self-control and discipline by doing daily workout and taking care of their nutrition program. Technical aspects of the training will be very hard to reach because for that you need a court, net, teammates, etc. For mental preparation I would suggest watching past volleyball games, learning from their mistakes, keeping their focus and spirits up.”

Volleyball aside, what is the most important lesson you learned from this unfortunate situation in the world?

I am still learning a lot of things from this great lesson in life, so when it finishes I will let everyone know.”

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POL M: Young Australian coach Reynolds will command Jastrzębski next season

All this because volleyball is not e real professional sport and many clubs are managed with people with (almost) zero experience and knowledge in volleyball. And they manage money from state companies or government directly. Do not expect that that people will think differently. That is why volleyball will never move to another level and will always have some small “make up” in the future Reply

POL M: Young Australian coach Reynolds will command Jastrzębski next season

Many Strength and Conditioning Coaches/Scoutman are trying to get into coaching. Due to their lack of experience and knowledge, at first, they take a major pay cut in comparison to actual volleyball coaches. Currently, coaching jobs are paying very little, even in the top leagues, and some of the experienced coaches are not taking jobs for 25.000-40.000 EUR, knowing that demands are just as high as before when they were making double of this salary. Unfortunately, club leaderships see coaches as a disposable matter and therefore keep dropping salaries because there are candidates that will take these jobs. I am not here to judge, just to describe some of the dynamics around this profession. Reply

POL M: Young Australian coach Reynolds will command Jastrzębski next season

Interesting trend, that some coaches who specialised on physical training, some who never played volleyball on top level, became pretty successful volleyball coaches. It can be observed in some menś and women teams. It reflects a situation that volleyball has become a very physical sport. Even the world champion country, which in past had taught others, needs coaches from abroad who come into this category. Reply

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