The Scottish Volleyball Association plans to take Standard grade and Higher grade teaching on to a new level by sending coaches into schools to work with teachers and pupils to develop the quality and ethos of volleyball in the PE curriculum, writes Roddy Mackenzie.
Commercial sponsorship from the MCA Group and funding from the Scottish Sports Council's Sportsmatch scheme has raised Pounds 8,000 to implement the initiative. Schools that take part qualify for financial awards to help buy equipment. At S grade (10 hours of teaching over two days), the award is Pounds 150. For H grade (two-day course at Inverclyde or suitable venue closer to school) the award is Pounds 350, and for S1S2 (10 hours) the award is again Pounds 150.
Rona Brodie, Team Sport Scotland co-ordinator for the game, explained: "It is all very well getting teachers to a venue like Inverclyde where they are playing with good equipment but then they have to return to their schools where the equipment is maybe not so good. There is no point in getting teachers excited about the game and finding that they are going back to their schools and playing with balls that are like bricks."
Targeting schools and youth groups is part of a drive to build stronger foundations. A schools festival in Inverness has taken the total up and down the country to 12, from primary 7 through to senior. There were just three festivals before the Team Sport project was set up five years ago.
A recent youth tournament at the Kelvin Hall under Glasgow development officer and British captain Iain Grubb attracted 60 teams and a new junior national league starts this month with nine boys' teams and nine girls' teams involved, some from clubs and some from schools.
The current three-year Team Sport deal is due to end in July and Miss Brodie wants it extended. "It is not that there are not others doing a lot of voluntary work but it is just a question of who co-ordinates the whole thing," she said. "I do not think governing bodies have the time to spend on it. It would be sad to raise expectations and then do not get the funding to see it through."