International experience boosts team confidence, says China men's volleyball coach

(Xinhua) 16:34, July 22, 2022

BEIJING, July 22 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese men's volleyball team is getting more confident despite finishing in the bottom half of the men's Volleyball Nations League (VNL) preliminary phase.

"The experience in VNL has raised the players' confidence, and we also achieved our goal set earlier for these games," China's head coach Wu Sheng told Xinhua on Friday.

Wu revealed that the team had set two goals before the tournament began - to improve its world ranking and avoid relegation from VNL.

As the three-week preliminary phase ended, China rose from 23rd to 19th in the world rankings and secured next year's ticket to VNL.

Having missed the 2021 VNL, the Chinese side had no idea what they were facing in this year's tournament, admitted Wu, but he said now they have their sights set on the 2024 Paris Olympics.

"We will do everything we can to make it to Paris; I think we have great potential," he said.

China had three wins in 12 games, beating Brazil, Germany and Bulgaria. Their straight-set victory over defending champions Brazil shocked everyone, including the coach.

Despite the victory over the top-ranked team, the coach reminded his team should stay cool-headed.

"You can't define the team by this victory; that's not objective. We still trail top teams in the world, tactically and physically," he said.

The clashes with top-tier teams have also laid bare the squad's shortcomings, especially in serving and receiving.

"We had to speed up the service to at least 110 kilometers per hour. Otherwise, it would not be easy to score.

"Sometimes we play well, and sometimes we mess up. That's normal for a young team, which means we are not consistent enough. We have to grow, and that may take a toll," Wu said.

The coach said the team is still adjusting to a format of competing in different cities each week. "I believe we will play better next year."

The coach planned to change his training method in the following months when they prepared for the World Championship. He felt that his players are not physically strong enough compared to European and American teams.

"We will continue to improve our strength as we prepare for the World Championship," he added.

China is scheduled to play in the Asian Cup and then return to Serbia for the final push at the World Championships to be held in Poland and Slovenia from Aug. 26 to Sept. 11. 

(Web editor: Wu Chaolan, Liang Jun)


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