The recipe for volleyball success is difficult to explain, but it is probably a mixture of good work with young people, some Balkan mentality, and above all great professionalism, says Tomi Šmuc. “You won’t find them drinking anywhere in the evening.”
Poland stands today on the way to the fourth final of the European Championships for the Slovenian volleyball players. As a former national team member, assistant selector, coach and today the sports director of Calcit said for this episode of Ob Osmoh on the First Program of our radio Tomi Šmucthe championship is really just getting started with today’s match. “If we are purely objective, the Slovenian national team won a slightly easier group with its rating in the first part. However, this does not reduce the success that the national team came in first place with practically only one set and secured a slightly easier job in the round of 16 and quarterfinal. On the other hand, we played the role of favorite and that is significantly more difficult.”
Slovenia has already beaten Poland twice in the semi-finals, but it is an extremely strong national team, emphasizes Šmuc. “If we compare, for example, the Italians would be more unfavorable for us in terms of playing, but we still have to know that Poland invests enormous resources in its drive and practically has its second national team on the bench. They have no weak points and beating the Poles will be a great success.”
The recipe for volleyball success is hard to explain Despite the fact that the most successful volleyball countries in Europe, such as Italy, Poland, Serbia, France, have a much longer tradition and much more resources, Slovenia has remained a volleyball superpower for years now. As Šmuc says, it is difficult to explain. He sees the foundations for success in the long-term planning work of Slovenian clubs, especially with young people, where, according to him, the breakthrough happened 20 years ago, when ACH assembled a strong team for the first time; other bigger and smaller clubs are also doing a great job. With fellow experts, including foreign ones, the conversation about Slovenian success is often concluded as follows: “Thinking that the foundation is probably our work with young people, the location of Slovenia itself helps something, something of this Balkan mentality. After all, volleyball is not the only sport, we are top in other sports as well.” Foreign selectors also brought Slovenian volleyball players an insight into the top sport, but the fact is that the Slovenian national team also plays a prominent role in their foreign clubs, emphasizes Šmuc.
There is great professionalism in the national team, there is no alcoholThe entire Slovenian national team, including colleagues, is directed towards the same goal. “For the boys, I know that they won’t go out in the evening, you won’t find them drinking anywhere. There is no alcohol anywhere. I know that the physiotherapist works with the boys past midnight, the focus is on training. The specialty of these boys is that they realize that they can only achieve a top result by giving up 100% – even all their holidays to play for Slovenia. I know that apart from the prizes they earn, there are no financial incentives behind it or anything like that. So it’s a really huge sacrifice, strict professionalism and everything together is certainly also the reason for the top results.”The chosen species has been playing together for a long time, and young people are getting involved in the established system. “We have to know that the volleyball association enabled them to have optimal preparations, an optimal coach, the best possible physiotherapists, the best possible preparatory matches, and it is very difficult to reach this level. With the young people who are coming, we have nothing to fear. Among the first 8 of the Slovenian national team, I I see another X years.”
You can listen to the entire conversation in the Ob Osmih podcast.