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Castro, Mol & Nausch net coach of the year honours

2019 coaching recognition awards were presented Monday to Reis Castro (second from left), Kare Mol (center) and Simon Nausch (second from right). The trio is flanked by 2018 recipients Robert Nowotny (left) and Jürgen Wagner.
Hamburg, Germany, July 3, 2019 - In most sports, the coaches of teams are highly visible, and in some cases even more prominent then the players themselves. In beach volleyball, coaches are behind the scenes as they cannot be on the field of play, but they are still critical to the success of a team.

The International Beach Volleyball Coaches Association (IBVCA) established a Coach of the Year award for men and women in 2018 and the group added Most Outstanding Improvement of the Year awards in both genders.

The 2019 honourees were named here Monday evening with the Coach of the Years going to Kare Mol of Norway for men and Simon Nausch from the Czech Republic the women. Mol was also recognized as the Most Outstanding Improvement of the Year for men and Brazil’s Reis Castro for women.

Mol is the coach of the top-seeded Norwegian team of Anders Mol and Christian Sorum. It is not just a coincidence that the coach and player have the same name as Kare is the father of Anders. In addition to coaching Anders his entire life, he also coached Christian in high school.

“This team we started four years ago,” Kare Mol explained. “We started with six players, we tested the different combinations and Anders and Christian came out as the first team and have now played almost three years together. I think we have done something new, and that is from experience from earlier years where we only had one team, two players.  And that is risky business just to have two players.”

The tactic is obviously working, as Mol and Sorum have won seven golds and one silver in their previous 10 tournaments coming into the 2019 FIVB World Championships.

“My proudest moment as a coach is not actually that we are winning the tournaments but that the boys are good ambassadors to our sport,” Mol said. “We have a beautiful sport, and I am really proud that they are good persons, they are good ambassadors. You need this your whole life.  Nobody asks how many medals you have; they ask you who are you and what are your values, and that is most important to me.”

Nausch is the coach for the Czech Republic’s duo of Marketa Slukova and Barbora Hermannova, but an injury to Slukova forced the team to withdraw from the 2019 FIVB World Championships.

Simon Nausch (center) with Marketa Slukova (left) and Barbora Hermannova

“It was very difficult knowing how hard Marketa worked to get to the World Championships first in seed points (second seed due to home country Germans being awarded that slot) and having a shot to medal if she plays good,” said Nausch.  “So, I knew how bad it was for her especially, but for me as a coach it was not so difficult because I have in mind the rest of the season plus the Olympic qualification. So, for me it was a call of do we risk it?”

Like Mol, Nausch must look at his team with two different perspectives, as he has been married to Slukova since 2016. And like Mol, he finds some of his greatest joys of coaching from things that happen off the court.  

“One of my happiest moments in coaching was the golden set to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games,” Nausch reflected.  “They really stood up tough and played a great short set. Also winning in Vienna last year as I am from Vienna, and this was a great tournament. Last year there was a moment that a Czech player came by and he said congrats because we looked happy and okay, but we had just lost to go into the semifinals.  What I told the girls was I want to come out of the wins and losses the same, it’s not the end of the world. To be honest a player walked by and didn’t see from our body language that we lost, so this makes me very happy.”

Castro coaches Ana Patricia Silva and Rebecca Cavalcanti after spending 13 years coaching the FIVB’s all-time winningest women’s duo, Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca. He continued to coach Larissa when she joined forces with Talita Antunes from 2014 through the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Rebecca Cavalcanti (left) and Reis Castro

“The Olympic medal and winning the World Championships were some of the top coaching accomplishments for me, and they were magical,” Castro said. “But I am actually prouder of some of the other stuff we do.  I’ve had some younger guys who were on the wrong side of life, and I have brought them with training and now they have jobs, so that makes me really proud.”

Ana Patricia states that "Reis is an excellent coach, but the biggest thing is he makes me believe that I can really be an Olympic athlete or even play in a tournament like this because I was so young, and this was just a dream. He made me think it was possible.”

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