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Coaches Corner: Coach Russ Quinn on preparations for University Games in Kazan

posted Jun 5, 2013, 1:52 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jun 5, 2013, 1:58 AM ]

CNMI National Teams Head Coach - Russ Quinn
Preparations for the University Games in Kazan, Russia started late 2012.  After the selection process, both Clay McCullough-Stearns and John Nekaifes, under the guidance of National team coach Russ Quinn, have worked hard to prepare themselves for the games.  

Over the last six months, it has been a tough balance between school and intense workouts and practices.  To be eligible for the games, a player must be attending university or taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses in high school.  Both these players have excelled at keeping a balance between school requirement  and putting in the practice time.

The Northern Mariana Islands Volleyball Association (NMIVA) has provided support at all levels by bringing in several levels of coaches.  First, NMIVA brought in Federation de International Volleyball (FIVB) coaching expertise with a week long coaching clinic in which Lauren McLeod, head of Vanuatu's Olympic Beach Volleyball program, trained individuals on various strategic, game planning, and drilling techniques.  She provided coaches with new insights to player development and game day strategies.  

Next, NMIVA brought in one of Japan's top Women's Beach Volleyball coaches, Tsuyoshi "Go" Mochizuki.  Coach Mochizuki introduced radical drills that  fine tuned the players movement on the court and increased the speed of play to prepare the young players for the high level of play they will face in Russia.  

On the fitness side, Gold's Gym provided Personal Training for both athletes in which a volleyball specific workouts were introduced by Roger Govendo.  Both Clay and John have gained strength and speed that will help them play their best.  

Finally, several individuals have provided coaching at different levels along the way including, Mili Saiki of Saipan International School, Tyce Mister of Marianas High School, and Kathy Winkfield of Marianas High School.  

The Kazan Games are a smaller version of the Olympics.  Over 12,000 athletes will participate from over 200 countries.  There will be 32 teams competing in both men's and women's beach volleyball.  The CNMI team will be facing the best in the world.  Although the CNMI will face teams with significant height advantages, the athletic and quick duo will surprise those that take them lightly.

"I am proud of how hard John and Clay have worked.  They've been there when it was raining, they were not feeling well or missed family events."  Quinn further stated, "This is an opportunity of a lifetime and we are going to do our best and represent the CNMI in a positive light and have fun along the way."

Keep the ball flyin'
Russ Quinn
CNMI National Teams Head Coach