2016-12-30 12:29:00 CEST

Making the Team: Some expertise from Slovakia

Martin Olejnak new head coach in Germany

Over the past few weeks, centralization has been the main topic in German beach volleyball. For the first time ever, the federation wants to unite three top teams and one junior team each gender to improve the development of the players and the success at Olympic Games – if that is even possible after two gold medals at London in 2012 and at Rio de Janeiro last summer.

But seriously, Germany had to face some issues, especially with the men: For the first time, they only sent one team to the Olympics this year. “We need changes,” said Thomas Krohne, president of the German Volleyball Federation, the DVV. One change is coming from Slovakia: Martin Olejnak will be the head coach of the new squad. “I am really excited about the new challenge,” he told us.

Julius Brink (left) and Jonas Reckermann brought the biggest success in men’s beach volleyball to Germany in London 2012. Credit: pro-talents.deJulius Brink (left) and Jonas Reckermann brought the biggest success in men’s beach volleyball to Germany in London 2012. Credit: pro-talents.de

“It is time for something new”

The 46-year-old has been head coach of the Polish men for the last four years. For six years he worked for the Polish federation to promote young players. “It felt, as if there is time for something new,” he says. Before that, Martin coached the Austrian sisters Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger from 2004 until 2012. In 2004 he helped Robert Nowotny/Peter Gartmayer reach the Olympics in Athens. In the same year he got to know DVV vice president beach volleyball Andreas Künkler, who coached Olympic Champion Julius Brink and Kjell Schneider during that time in a beach camp in Riccione. “We always stayed in contact,” Martin says. Last year in Yokohama, they exchanged views about the new concept in Germany. “When he asked me now for being head coach, I was not surprised,” admits Martin. 

Martin Olejnak pictured in Rio. Over his left shoulder his old team – over his right his new team, Böckermann/Flüggen. Credit: Sport.SK Martina OlejnakaMartin Olejnak pictured in Rio. Over his left shoulder his old team – over his right his new team, Böckermann/Flüggen. Credit: Sport.SK Martina Olejnaka

He will keep the center of his life in Bratislava, using the rooming house at the Olympic center in Hamburg, when he is working in Germany. The first practice session with Martin will be 2 January 2017. His team will consist of: Markus Böckermann/Lars Flüggen, Tim Holler/Clemens Wickler, Jonathan Erdmann/Armin Dollinger and young stars Nils Ehlers/Max Betzien. “I have already talked to all of them,” Martin says. “I have a good feeling about this.”

“The Germans are reasonable”

He has already found some differences between them and his old squad in Poland: “Not to insult my Polish players, but I have to say, the Germans seem to me a little bit more reasonable,” Martin explains. “All of them study, the are goal-conscious, but also think about the time after sports.”

For now, the main thing is to concentrate on the first training sessions, to get used to one another and start the project in a good way. “I am in cheerful spirits,” Martin says.

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