If you read the “about me” section, you know that I started a post-graduate program in Dutch in September. It made sense then to live in Leuven and be in a Dutch-environment at all times to be able to learn more efficiently. So, since I lived in Leuven, I decided to ask the KUL (Katholiek Universiteit Leuven) volleyball coach, Katrien Fransen, to be able to practice once in a while with her girls. Since the try-outs were over and her team had been selected for a long time, she accepted to have me train with them when some of her girls could not be present, which sounded perfectly to me. So I went there, for my first practice with them and it was a real delight!
Let me go back a few years back so you get a better understanding of my volleyball path… I have playing volleyball since I am 7 years old. I played for a couple years in the National 3 division when I was 17 and we were playing the championship to reach the National 2 level but refused to go in a higher division because my teammates had other work/family projects in mind. It was kind of a disappointment to me who were younger at that time and full of energy. However, I was going to start my college studies and could not afford to spend so much time playing and practicing volleyball (3x/week + weekends). That’s why I decided to stay in my little town club (USV86 Couvin) in the N3 level (please don’t judge our website, it’s in remake). I actually never left this club in the end. After a pretty hard year, as far as volleyball is concerned (injuries, pregnancies), we reached the P1 level, in which I have been playing for 3 years now.
So back to my story with the KUL team! I would be lying if I didn’t say that I felt a little bit of regrets of not playing on a higher level, even if we got the chance to, which is why playing with this team was absolutely amazing. First of all, it is well-known in the Belgian volleyball field that Flemish clubs are a lot better than Walloons, as far as infrastructure, trainings are concerned, and they form players from the very beginning (for example, Maaseik). As a matter of fact, there is only one Walloon club with a League A team (Axis Shanks Guibertin A), all the rest being Flemish in the Belgian championship. If you want more information about the Belgian league A, please consult this site Ethias Volley League. Anyway, these girls all play in the National level minimum, most of them in N2 of N1. It really was an honor and a real pleasure for me to play at a high level, and even though I did not feel up to it, it was ok, except for the physical parts where I noticed that I really was behind… Their tactics and how they read the game was inspiring and gave me the envy to push myself even further with my own team and to motivate them even more! Let’s hope it helps us win!
Here is an insight of their practice: