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Since hosting the men’s European Championships
in 1989 and winning the silver medal, Swedish
volleyball has failed to make an impression at
international level. But there are signs that is
about to change and, thanks to an initiative
called Kidsvolley, the future for Sweden might be
genuinely rosy.
Kidsvolley is a Swedish volleyball programme for kids
from six to nine years old inwhich every childwins a gold
medal. The players learn the basic skills of volleyball,
but the emphasis remains firmly on fun. It started in
2006
and, after a slow start, it has really caught on over
the past two years and Sweden has never known so
many young children starting to play volleyball.
Everybody loves Kidsvolley,” said the Swedish
Volleyball Federation’s Camilla Park who is responsible
for promoting Kidsvolley. “We’ve instructed 7,000
student sports teachers in Kidsvolley and showed them
the game is fun to play. We are proud of the results
of that, and also of all the efforts the clubs in Sweden
are making to encourage even more children to play
Kidsvolley.”
The Swedish Volleyball Federation received 100 nets
and 1,000 balls from the FIVB that were distributed
among schools throughout the country in order to
demonstrate all the fun of Kidsvolley. Habo Wolley, a
club in southern Sweden with no children under the
age of 10 two years ago, has about 80 children playing
Kidsvolley today.
Kidsvolley has provided us with the great combination
of more young kids playing and the opportunity to
recruit new leaders to the club,” said Jens Ottosson,
one of the Kidsvolley leaders at Habo Wolley. “I never
met a child who didn’t like Kidsvolley.”
Currently there are more young Swedes playing
professional volleyball in Europe than ever before, and
the country has also applied to host its first international
event since 1989, the FIVB Men’s World Championship
qualification tournament in May. Add Kidsvolley to the
mix and it becomes plain that the game in Sweden is
very much on the up and up.
I never met a child who
didn’t like Kidsvolley’