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Mariano Baracetti coaches Argentina’s future stars

Olympian and 2001 world champion Mariano Baracetti has coached the men's team from Argentina to the semi-finals of the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.

Nanjing, China, August 26, 2014 - A light sweat started to drip down Mariano Baracetti’s face. While playfully hitting the ball around with his players on a side court, the competitive juices started flowing for the man who was known as “Mono” when he played professionally. 

“I am not 100% physically,” Baracetti said with a smile. “Otherwise I would have beat them.”

Baracetti has reason to be confident. The 40-year-old won the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in 2001, and represented Argentina at three Olympic Games. He is now coaching his home country at the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games.

Baracetti is able to use his knowledge and experience to get on the sand and instruct his players.

“I can relate to them,” Baracetti said. “I like playing with them because it is easier to show them than to tell them.”

It is rare to hear Baracetti raise his voice at his players. Instead he prefers to discuss mistakes and come up with solutions to limit them.

“I try to find a way to keep pressure on the players, but to always keep it positive,” Baracetti said. “We can always do things better.”

Irene Varasio has been playing for Baracetti for less than a year since moving from indoor volleyball to beach volleyball.

“Mariano is the best,” Varasio said. “He is really funny and makes us comfortable, but he can be strict when he has to.”

He does more than teach his players about the technical aspect of beach volleyball.

“He reminds us to keep fighting with everything we have,” Varasio said.

Argentina’s women’s team (Varasio and Camila Hiruela Tapia) fought their way to the quarterfinals in Nanjing. The men’s team (Santiago Aulisi and Leo Aveiro) will play Venezuela in the semifinals on August 27.

“These players are the future,” Baracetti said. “I enjoy finding ways to make them even better.”


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