FIVB Volleyball Empowerment ignites Scotland’s beach volleyball dream

CEV-FIVB : Infos mar 4 juin 2024

The journey to the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships has begun in earnest for Scotland, according to Scottish Volleyball (SV) Head of Development Blair Pettigrew.

FIVB Volleyball Empowerment has so far allocated a total of CHF 294,000 to Scottish Volleyball, CHF 127,500 of which has been directed to the country’s beach volleyball programme through coach support, knowledge transfer projects and equipment.

Within this, SV recently announced the appointment of Sarah Jankowitz as the new High-Performance Beach Head Coach and Programme Manager on a two-year contract. The position is funded by coach support assistance from the FIVB Volleyball Empowerment programme.

“We are grateful to FIVB for their support because we now have an expert to lead and develop our beach volleyball programme. We are aware that success will not come overnight that’s why we’ve opted to take the long route,” said Pettigrew.

The main and immediate priority for Jankowitz is coaching, developing and supporting the high-performance beach athletes within the Scottish pathway.

“Although I’m still relatively new in the post, it’s been great to be working with the Scottish Volleyball National Teams. The support offered through FIVB Empowerment has allowed for achievements, otherwise impossible such as the World Tour and Junior European Championship successes. FIVB Empowerment is going to play a vital role as Scotland continues to grow and achieve on the Beach Volleyball world stage,” said Jankowitz.

Jankowitz is looking to introduce policy, procedures and pathways to ensure growth from grassroots to performance as SV builds towards more high-level European and world competitions, as well as the Commonwealth Games in 2026.

Sarah Jankowitz is the new Scotland High-Performance Beach Head Coach and Programme Manager (Photo credits: Scottish Volleyball)

The significance of the Commonwealth Games cannot be understated in the development of beach volleyball in Scotland. Pettigrew revealed that it is through the Commonwealth Games that beach volleyball has gained popularity in the country.

“The weather in Scotland is not conducive for beach volleyball since we don’t even get enough daylight. When it started, it was just a game that people played in order to relax but after our first appearance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, more people have embraced it,” he said.

Scotland’s Lauren Hislop defends the ball at the CEV Under-18 European Beach Championships 2022. (Photo credits: Scottish Volleyball)

While the Commonwealth Games has been identified as a clear goal for the Scottish side, Pettigrew contends that the long-term target is making their debut at the World Championship, a decade from now.

“If we combine these ranking points with those from our local circuit and UK Beach Tour then they will slowly climb up the ladder to Elite16 events. It’s a long process that will take at least two Olympic cycles but playing at this top level (Elite16) will take us closer to our dream of featuring in the World Championship or CEV EuroBeachVolley,” stated Pettigrew.

Pettigrew also spoke of his hopes for hosting future volleyball tournaments, stating; “we have made good progress over the last eight years and some of our players have featured in some Future events in the Beach Pro Tour. We hope to host one Futures event next year to help our players get more points in order to qualify for the Main Draw”.

Scotland men’s beach volleyball team. (Photo credits: Michael McConville)

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