4 weeks in Brazil, 3 FIVB tournaments 👍
After a four-week stay in Brazil and two canceled return flights we finally arrived back home at the end of March. Needless to say it felt really good to be back
In Brazil, we participated in three FIVB World Tour Tournaments – two Opens: Maceio and Vitoria and one Grand Slam in Rio. All three tournaments had top teams, so the competition quality was about as good as it gets. Before the start of the FIVB World Tour in Brazil, we started the year 2016 with a pre-season camp in Cape Town. After the pre-season camp in Cape Town we stayed in Prague only two days, which is not enough to even get warm in Prague (literally), but we still managed to have our first pre-season press conference as a new team. And just like that after two days at home we were off to Brazil, headed towards new team experiences and hoping to collect some ranking points.
Team vision is the most important thing in a team, especially in a new team. Simon was the first one, who had such a vision for our team. And because Simon is a great coach, he really made sure that over the past few months the team vision would be in our heads. When a team vision exists and all the members of a team are clear on what the vision is, the next step is to start working towards the vision and every once in a while measure the progress against other teams. To start testing our vision in Brazil seemed ideal and at the end it really was:
We played total of 14 difficult matches AND:
- We have advanced from the qualification rounds at a Grand Slam for the first time together as a new team and Bara got to play again in a Main Draw after well over a year
- We beat several top ranked teams: Netherlands, Spain, Russia, Brazil, America
- We were happy that even the matches we have lost were not a blow out matches but we were right there in the game and were able to hold our own with those teams
- We won 8 matches of the 14 total played and we played 7 tiebreaks
- We play well in the first but tend to fall asleep in the second J
- At both of the Open tournaments we advance to the play off rounds from the 2nd place in the pool play and not from the 1st (the team that advances from the 1st place in pool play skips the first round of play-off rounds and advances automatically to the 2nd round) we missed the key 1st place in pool play only by few pints (calculations are based on a ration of played points between teams across the whole pool)
- If we would have had advanced from the 1st place in the group to the play offs we would have been already ranked 9th regardless of further results and that 9th would look much better on paper
- but… “if we would have had” did not happen… so we had to always play the 1st round of the play offs and unfortunately that was where the tournaments ended for us. What was even more maddening is that it seemed that this 1st round play off match was always our weakest match of the tournament and that is quite unfortunate because the play-off rounds are …well… K.O. system
So after a four-week stay in Brazil we came back with three 17th place finishes. We may be little bit disappointed with the results recorded in the books but we are very nicely surprised by our game.
We have a long road ahead of us but we are looking forward to be on it.
“Focus on the journey, not the destination”