In 2013, Volleyball Australia reviewed its domestic beach volleyball eventing strategy and the architecture of High Performance for beach volleyball in Australia and announced the new Australian Beach Volleyball System in late 2013 after consultation with our stakeholders and approval at our National Stakeholders Meeting in October 2013.
In early 2014 work began on the Australian Beach Volleyball Ranking System (ABVRS) to integrate a National Calendar of activities aligned to three objectives of Performance, Participation and Profile for our sport. Volleyball Australia is pleased to launch for the 2014/2015 Australian Beach Volleyball Season the ABVRS in beta and to commence work on the Australian Beach Volleyball Network, a distributed architecture of high performance centres around Australia delivering an essential pathway to the National team.
In early 2014 Volleyball Australia also launched the Volleyroos, the relaunched brand for indoor and beach volleyball under one integrated high performance brand. The Beach Volleyroos Team was announced and the structure of the program launched together with enhanced funding committed by Volleyball Australia to support those members of the team not receiving full time support through the Australian Institute of Sport funding program, relaunched as Australia’s Winning Edge. This supported numerous athletes and also restructured the coaching group while funding the Volleyball Performance Analysis and Research Centre and its first 2 coaches for the international World Tour season, Simon Naismith and Josh Slack. This was a new era in beach volleyball funding with support being sourced from Volleyball Australia and outside the Australian Sports Commission funding parameters. This followed the transition of our national teams and funding structures from the Australian Sports Commission to Volleyball Australia ending the era of Team Australia Beach Volleyball as a separated unit from Volleyball Australia.
The results of this new distributed strategy of high performance are already evidenced in the performances of our Volleyroos including numerous top 5 results for our top men’s and women’s teams together with a bronze medal for the men in the “Wimbledon of World Beach Volleyball” (Klagenfurt). The development pathway has also delivered fantastic results including the gold medal and Under 23 World Champions for women.
The next phase of our Restructure is to embrace and directly involve the efforts, programs and events held around Australia in our rolling 12 month calendar of beach volleyball activities integrated into our ABVRS and the establishment of our distributed architecture of high performance centres in key locations around Australia to distribute our national high performance infrastructure while retaining the best of our centralised high performance hub in Adelaide at SASI.
Essential to our collective future is the retention of the culture of our sport, a commitment of high performance and the opportunity for all Australians to participate in what is a developing part of our Australian beach lifestyle, year round.
This is an ambitious period of change in our sport as we evolve through the Olympic heritage we have so successfully embraced, and return Australia to our place among the leading nations in our sport of beach volleyball. This ambition requires us to change and change takes time. How we look during this adolescent period of growth may not always appear ideal. But we are on the move, we are listening to our stakeholders and we are committed to providing the best opportunities in the world to our athletes and all our stakeholders to position Australia as a leading nation globally in our sport.
We believe what we have now established is a sustainable next step in our evolution and one from which we can move forward while clinging rightly to the great successes of our current and past athletes, coaches and stakeholders in our sport and the culture that is unique to beach volleyball.
Restructure of the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour
It’s quite appropriate that we relaunch the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour at the time of the anniversary of Australia’s beach volleyball Gold Medal at the Sydney Olympic Games.
Mathieu Meriaux, CEO of Volleyball Australia explains
“This is the result of an extensive consultation process with a number of stakeholders including states associations, members of the beach volleyball commission of Volleyball Australia and our funding partners.
We really wanted to step up the delivery of the Tour, so we decided to focus on hosting events that could be promoted nationally and internationally as leading events and concentrate our efforts to deliver a higher quality to all our stakeholders (including a two major events at each end of the summer season delivered by Volleyball Australia and at least one additional event in the middle) and engage promoters to host additional rounds to compliment the tour. This assures all our stakeholders that these events will be a major part of our development strategy and our high performance campaign domestically while creating a development pathway through event promoters, state associations and our many beach volleyball clubs and associations around Australia. We also recognise more support must be provided to these groups at the “sand face” delivering our sport and that is the purpose of the Australian Beach Volleyball Network.
This will give us a “Tour” with up to 8 major events with the 3 Grand Slams managed by Volleyball Australia together with up initially 5 State Championships/Opens within the priority campaign of events. As we grow our tour generated commercial revenue, we will look into adding additional Grand Slam events to the calendar and to invest in the Championships/Open events to create consistency for all players involved. As it stands we have structured the Grand Slam events to bookend the season start and finish with an additional event at Surfers in the middle to leave the summer open for the integrated state and national calendar to develop. It will take some time but the implementation of a sanctioning process was the first step in that direction.
This new framework is aligned with the implementation of the Australia Beach Volleyball Network (ABVN) where we develop capacity at state level to provide standardised experience and environment. That phase will commence in 2015.
The other new component this year is the implementation of an Australian Beach Ranking System (ABVRS). It will be a beta version this year with the aim to review and improve it next year.
We have been working closely with a number of members of the beach commission to turn this concept into reality. The plan is for a multi-year roll out so we can deliver something meaningful within our current capacity. It is very exciting. Players in AAA (ie State Tour/Series events often branded AA but representing the top tier circuit of events in each State) and national tour events will be part of the one national ranking system.
Finally, this year, we have also secured the Oceania Championships and the Oceania Continental Cup that will be played the week prior to the first event in Manly.
A very exciting season ahead on the beach.”
More information from Volleyball Australia:
The ABVRS will enable athletes to be ranked across a national program to ensure continuity for national as well as state events. In year 1 the ABVRS will focus on the events encompassed in the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour, the open events and the state operated AAA events (or equivalent), with the view to expanding the scope to include more local events in year 2 and beyond.
National Beach Volleyball Calendar
Australian Beach Volleyball Tour Grand Slams in NSW, QLD and WA. These events will be managed by VA and will be the premier events of the season. They will run at the beginning middle and end of the season to tie the entire Australian Tour together. More events may be added during the summer subject to funding.
The Grand Slam events in 2014/15 will be held at:
- Manly Beach, 21-23 November 2014
- Surfers Paradise, 24-26 January 2015
- Scarborough Beach, 27-29 March 2015
Volleyball Australia is pleased to announce that, subject to final documentation with Manly Council, after 2 years of discussions, we will return to Manly Beach for our Australian Beach Volleyball Tour and that we hope to shortly announce a 3 year deal setting our calendar for the next 3 years with an event at Manly Beach.
Volleyball Australia will release entry and participation qualification information for the Grand Slams but substantially these events this season will follow the program adopted last season (subject to review of the format of play). The beta ABVRS will not be used this season as a seeding mechanism but will be beta tested, communicated to players and available for the volleyball community to see and comment on.
Volleyball Australia is pleased to announce a player prize pool of a minimum of $10,000 for each Grand Slam ($5000 per gender) and has committed to funding a Bonus Pool of not less than an additional $10,000 for the opening event at Manly Beach. This brings the total prize pool for the Manly event (across both genders) to $20,000 returning the sport to its record levels of prize money.
The distribution and management of the event will be addressed in the Handbook being prepared and finalised and we hope all players agree this is returning the sport to a commitment of event quality, player engagement and high performance opportunity that meets our commitments made over the past 2 years since our disruptive start in 2012/2013 and our commitment to constant improvement and evolution communicated to athletes throughout.
Open Events (venues TBC). These events will be managed by the state associations/private promoters who will be guided through the newly developed Australian Beach Volleyball Tour sanctioning process. These events are essentially the State Championships or State Opens in each State. They are managed by the sanctioned partner of Volleyball Australia through our key stakeholders the State Sporting Organisations affiliated to Volleyball Australia in each State. We trust that the direct inclusion of these activities in our National Calendar, ABVRS and sanction campaign of events will engage all stakeholders in our sport (including private promoters and indoor centres) in a model that can embrace and leverage the very best opportunities on offer in our sport for competition and development.
The full season calendar (inclusive of the open events) for the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour will be released in November subject to final dates from our partners. We will then build up an annual calendar of activity that rolls forward.
Australian Beach Volleyball Event Sanctioning Process
The objective behind this process is to create a consistent expectation for the athletes, administrators, officials, coaches and referees of beach volleyball events being managed across the country. This will be done by creating a synergy and balance among the events portfolio.
VA appreciates that each state/territory is at a different level in their capacity to deliver events. For this reason the rollout of the standardisation of these events will not be finalised in year one. The objective is to continue to support the implementation of the national accreditation scheme. This sanctioning process in its infancy will be flexible, and VA will work with promoters and associations to help improve standards of consistency and the opportunities in event production.
In 2014 the FIVB and Asian Volleyball Confederation have also approved Volleyball Australia to host the Oceania Championships and the Oceania Continental Cup. These will be held in conjunction with the first Grand Slam event of the Australian Tour to create a festival of volleyball at Manly Beach.
The 2014 Volleyfest will see the following:
- Oceania Championships – 14-16 November 2014
- Oceania Continental Cup – 17-20 November 2014 (Olympic qualifier for Oceania excluding AUS/NZ)
- Round 1 Australian Beach Volleyball Tour – 21-23 November 2014
This will be the first of hopefully many international beach volleyball events to come to Australia in the coming years and we encourage everyone to come out and support. Our team is re engaging with international hosting as we have done in Volleyball with the World League and World Championship Qualifications and these skills translate on to the beach. No doubt we will be able to improve on what we achieve this year as we hope we will have improved on last year. Our commitment to all stakeholders is our ongoing pursuit of constant improvement.
Finally, at the national stakeholders meeting in May 2014, Volleyball Australia also decided to review the Australian Junior Beach Volleyball Championships and its relevance in the FTEM pathway. This review has led to a restructure of the date for the event, as well as a change in the format of the divisions to align with the World Junior Championships held biennially.
The 2014/15 event will be held at Glenelg Beach, SA on 9-12 April 2015 with the following age groups:
- 2000 & younger (3-a-side)
We appreciate the delays in distributing this information has caused concern in the community. We hope this goes some way to explain the efforts being undertaken and the heavy responsibility everyone in the Volleyball Australia office and on its board accepts during our custodianship of the sport. Likewise we trust in your continued support, understanding and appreciation of the considerable efforts being made by all in our sport to improve and achieve our potential.