Australian men’s volleyball coach Mark Lebedew has had more than his fair share of challenges to deal with since he took over in charge of the helloworld Volleyroos at the end of last year, but he’s in a pretty happy place today.
Lebedew has that dream trifecta every sporting coach wishes for; a team in great form, great shape and feeling rested and relaxed before battle.
The Australian team will head into today’s FIVB World League match against Japan in Kunshan, China, full of confidence after convincingly winning all three World League matches in Finland last weekend.
And Lebedew could not be happier.
“The squad pulled up well after Europe,” he said.
“Because of the way the draw and the travel program worked out, we were able to have almost two full free days which are always appreciated at this moment in the schedule.
“So the guys were able to recover from the travel and rest some niggles.”
The Australian team has shown plenty of character already in 2017, bouncing back from indifferent form on the opening weekend of World League to be one of the form teams of the competition.
“The team certainly has a good level of confidence right now,” Lebedew said.
“We improved over the weekend, and from weekend to weekend, so we have earned that confidence. It was also noticeable in training over the last two days.”
The Volleyroos will go into today’s match against Japan keen on revenge, after suffering a disappointing loss to their Asian opponents two weekends ago.
And the team will also be looking to maintain their form ahead of hosting the Group Two semi-finals on the Gold Coast later this month.
“It is always important to play our maximum, whatever the outcome,” Lebedew said.
“That is the only way to build that confidence and to develop the areas we need to develop in order to become a good team.
“The more we are able to play at a high level, the more that that level becomes our normal level, which gives us the confidence to keep pushing ad infinitum.”
Australia takes on Japan at 5pm today, AEST.