JaVA off court but on course
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced local volleyball off court and the sport won’t be back until June. However, according to Jackie Cowan, president of the Jamaica Volleyball Association (JaVA), the body has been using the ‘down time’ to focus on providing training opportunities for officials and coaches.
“We’re still not able to restart. The (Government) has extended the lockdown actually until March 23 and they’ll make a decision after that. So at this point in time, we have no activity on the courts,” said Cowan, who noted that JaVA’s resumption efforts also have to be guided by their regional authority NORCECA.
“In NORCECA, which is the North American, Central American and Caribbean region, all competitions have been actually cancelled up to June so we haven’t had any directive as to what will happen after that. I suspect we’ll make a decision in April,” shared Cowan, who is also secretary general of the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association, a NORCECA affiliate.
“I guess that people are hoping that the vaccinations will take care of a lot of the issues and that maybe persons can start travelling. One of the biggest issues that we have especially in the Caribbean region, is that most countries’ borders are closed so that would actually prohibit any form of competition taking place,” Cowan reasoned.
Consequently, the administration has taken the opportunity to facilitate the education and training of its coaches and officials, which Cowan shared that these efforts will continue in the new year.
“Last year, we actually had three courses, which our affiliates were able to participate in and they were coaching courses, referee courses and administrative courses,” Cowan recounted.
“For this year we already have five courses being planned. We have one that’s scheduled to start in the middle of March and we’re going to be doing international coaching certification, level one and two and a beach certification course; and then later on this year, we’re expecting to see an international coach come to Jamaica for three months and conduct coaching sessions here,” said Cowan.
In addition, Jamaican referees have been engaging in a weekly webinar across the region to keep themselves abreast of the game.
These courses are in line with the association’s objectives for the next four years, which include improving the technical ability of coaches and referees, expanding beach volleyball and improving administrative capacity.