Team Canada’s performance in opening weekend of 2012 World League surprised some volleyball fans and the foreign media. For those acquainted with Glenn Hoag’s work, it was no surprise. Hoag, a former member of Canada’s National Team (1981-86), has been the head coach since 2006 and has proved his talent not only building confidence among the Canadian players, but internationally as well. He has coached some European clubs such as ACH Volley Bled (Slovenia) and Arkas Izmir (Turkey), two mid-level teams that have reached Champions League (the main European club tournament) finals under his command surpassing some high-budget squads.
A week before the beginning of the WL, Canada had dispatched world number-five Cuba in straight sets at the Olympic qualifier in Long Beach, California. Later, in Toronto, at the WL, Team Canada beat Finland 3-0 and next, playing for a national TV audience, they defeated world number-one Brazil in a five-setter. In the last day of the first WL stop, Canada lost to Poland 1-3, but there was no doubt the team could face any opponent with chances to win.
Coach Glenn Hoag talked to Kill on Two about his impressions on Team Canada’s game after the beginning of the World League. This coming weekend Canada plays in Katowice, Poland.
Kill on Two – How do you evaluate Canada's performance on the first WL weekend?
Glenn Hoag – We did okay performance wise, although I wasn't satisfied with certain aspects of our play. I always distinguish results from performance, so I can have an accurate view of what is needed to work on. Results were quite good, but many aspects of our game need improvement.
KO2 – Do you believe playing well with national TV audience can help volleyball to grow in Canada?
GH – I hope so, I think the format was great, but we will see in the future what kind of impact it had. But I think the growth of volleyball in Canada is through individuals that work in schools and clubs with passion for our kids.
KO2 – Do you think the team got more attention and appreciation once people in Canada saw what the boys are capable of?
GH – Yes, I think we got especially from our funding bodies (Own the Podium, Sport Canada). I've been telling people that our growth was strong in the last six years and that we were doing well, but we needed to prove it. We still have a long way to go, however this is positive.
KO2 – What are the main adjustments Team Canada needs?
GH – We need to sustain our performances. The match against Poland revealed certain flaws in our capacity to manage moments. We will address that in training.
KO2 – Canada had some problems in execution, couldn't kill the ball against the Poles. What happened?
GH – Lack of patience and capacity to adjust to the opponents' tactics. We couldn't make tactical adjustments and we played a simple game opening the door to Poland. Very poor performance…