Ireland’s first online sports camp – delivered by Volleyball Ireland saw over 130 kids take part in a 3 day education and activity bonanza, that featured world class speakers from across the sports industry.

Delivered through Zoom Webinars the camp engaged kids and parents from 12years old up providing fitness workouts, ball skill workshops, educational seminars and Q&As with some of the worlds best players and volleyball coaches.

The camp featured exclusive interviews and presentations with:

Cody Kessel – A holistic approach to being a world class Volleyball player TEAM USA and Berlin R VC Outside Hitter

Lauren Soderberg – What it Takes to Become an Olympian Australian Olympic Beach Volleyball Coach

Vuk Karanovic – Playing and Working a Career in Volleyball (108 Intl caps and 10 year professional career on the court and current Volleyball Development Manager for the CEV (European Federation)

Izzy Carey – You can only play as well as you train UCLA Beach Volleyball star

Alex Graves – Court to Sand transitions Ireland National Team Captain

Hannah Thornton – Fuelling Your Body For Volleyball Basketball International and nutritionist

Jessie Carmody – Understanding Anti Doping Anti Doping Specialist

The camp kicked off with a Q&A with Cody Kessel – a male USA player who is currently playing pro with Champions League team Berlin Recycling Volleys. Cody discussed his career and dreams of playing in the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games. Cody’s key messages:

“Focus on the things you can control, don’t worry about noise”
“Be a holistic athlete, 24/7, eat well, sleep well, stretch”

Cody talked through his favourite match when he played in the semi final of the German Cup for underdogs SVG Luneberg as they came from 2nil down to beat his current club and powerhouse Berlin Recycling Volleys. Cody highlighted some key aspects of his technique and what he works on so jump so high. He also talked about the importance of team culture and how his Luneberg team mates had the mission to “Choose Joy”.

Jessie Carmody provided an educational insight on Anti Doping in sport with great engagement from our participants asking about banned substances and the testing process. We also followed an online documentary about the Stanford College University Team.

On Thursday we had the pleasure of welcoming Australian Beach Coach Lauren Soderberg who presented an inspiring talk on ‘What it takes to become an Olympian”. Lauren provided some remarkable insights including some great words of wisdom:

“Talent only gets you in the door”

“Winning is a terrible teacher”
“Tear your losses apart”
“Celebrate small successes”
“Take responsibility for your own learning”

“The Standards you walk past, are the standards you accept”

USC’s Victoria Garrick provided a TedTalk on the Hidden Opponent – and the importance of looking after your mental health.

Thursday evening featured a Q&A with Izzy Carey and Alex Graves, where preparation was again a consistent theme. “You can only play as well as you train”.

Friday morning saw a change of pace with CEV Development Manager and 10 year professional Vuk Karanovic chatting about life as a professional playing and working in Volleyball. His 108 caps for Macedonia prepared himself for a career off the court. He reiterated the great “gift sport gives, it teaches discipline, team work and continuous improvement”.  Vuk reiterated that the group should have an open mindset to different cultures and learning. “Volleyball can provide you with amazing experiences in different cultures around the world”.

Our final guest speaker was Nutrition expert Hannah Thornton who provided a brilliant insight on the importance of nutrition, particularly for Teens – which is an area she specialises in after studying the subject in Colorado. Hannah emphasised “you get out of your body what you put in”. She also recommended Daniel Davey and David Gillick’s recipe books and reminded us all that everyone is different and need different fuels at different times.


A key theme from all of our guest speakers:

Preparation is key. Work hard and train hard. Look after your body.

Focus on what you can control.

Sport can provide you with wonderful experiences and opportunities.

Watch Volleyball, check out YouTube.

You are the master of your own destiny.

Volleyball Ireland would like to thank all of our attendees and speakers for supporting a fantastic programme of activity