FIVB - Volleyball World League

Press release

Japan prepares to host Finland in first home game

Finland' coach Tuomas Sammelvuo and Japan coach Gary Sato

Komaki, Japan, June 14, 2013 - Leading up to Men’s World League 2013 Pool C action, home team Japan is getting ready to host Finland in the first of two weekend matches on Saturday. These games mark two special occasions for the two coaches. For Finland’s Tuomas Sammelvuo it marks a return to Aichi Prefecture where he once played, and for Gary Sato, this will be his first two home games as coach of the Japan national team.

“First of all I’m really glad to be here. I played here in 2005 and 2006 I hope to see my old teammates from Toyoda Gosei,” said Finland coach Tuomas Sammelvuo. “Concerning my team, we want to play better than last weekend, and we have to improve technically and tactically. These two games will be tough with Japan playing at home. I’m preparing my team for a tough competition – preparing them physically, mentally, and I think they are in good condition. I think we are ready.”

“Japan and Asian teams always have good defense. I think Sato has brought in a system of blocking and defense, and they are improving game by game, and we have to be ready for this. And we have to do the same for our blocking and defense, because we need to improve that too.”

Gary Sato, the first foreign born coach of the Japan men’s team, congratulated Finland on the victories in the competitions. “Our team is healthy, and we’ve been working hard to improve. In volleyball speak we always say technically, tactically, and emotionally – and it has taken time to implement all the systems and mindsets we’d like to employ,” he went onto say. “I think we’re making pretty good progress. I have assistant coach David Hunt from the USA, from Pepperdine University. I’m getting used to my staff, and it has been fun – fun learning about the culture, blending the culture of where I’m from, and I hope to see some great things in the future.”

Talking about his first home game as Japan coach, Sato said, “I’m very excited about it, I’m looking forward to it. Ever since I was here in 1985 representing the USA, we have been very well received. I also want to say I appreciate all the support from the JVA and the support all the other volleyball departments have shown us. I mentioned when I first began that I wanted to help with building bridges and repairing bridges, and I think we’re on the way. But it’s only the beginning.”

In the film we have seen they have been consistent in serving and blocking,” said Sato of Finland’s game. “We have to find a way around that to score in the side-out game. We have to try to serve tough and create some opportunities for ourselves.”

Right now I’d say the major problem is lack of preparation time,” Sato continued to say. “The professional season was quite long, and there was also the Kurowashiki Cup. I had an opportunity to see much of the great talent, but there is no substitute for time in the gym with your group. As for areas where we have improved, we are becoming familiar with each other, the coaching staff, the medical team. We are identifying the players’ strengths and weaknesses, and we’re making good progress in those areas.”

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