MAY 6 - BRITAIN'S fledging volleyball team will not be capable of winning a medal at London 2012, the team's coach admitted today.


Henry Brokking, the Dutch coach employed to try to make Britain competitive by the time of the 2012 Games, said that the team are making progress but there is still a long way to go.


In an interview published today with The Herald he said:  "The basic skills were not very high but you have to compare what we are now doing with what they were accustomed to.


"Players in Scotland and England were training twice a week and maybe only getting six hours of volleyball a week.


"In Holland, every player has been playing 20 hours a week for many years.


"The better players are starting at the age of eight or nine and, although they are not training for 20 hours at that age, they are still training three times a week and have matches on a Sunday.


"In training hours, the British players are so far behind and we have to try and catch up.


"It's hard work.


"It's not done overnight and it will take years of hard work to try and catch up the other volleyball countries in Europe.


"It means a lot of sacrifice from the players.


"The background of British volleyball is not there and I need time.


"Talented players you find everywhere - but you need time to go through the skills again and again and again and then teamwork again and again and again.


"You need four or five years with talented guys who work hard and then hope you can catch up with the rest of Europe.


"There is only little more than four years to go to London 2012.


"It's not a lot of time and it would be impossible for us to compete for a medal place in that time.


"It is important not just to create a team for 2012 but to use that momentum to make volleyball much more popular after that.


"I'm working with a small group to make them better, but then I want to send those players out to the European leagues, and then I want to have another group of young players based in Sheffield so there is another group to follow on.


"I want to leave a legacy here."


Britain opens it European Championship campaign in Sheffield on Thursday when the play Denmark at the English Institute of Sport.


The women are also in action on the same day at the same venue when they take on Albania.


Women's head coach Lorne Sawula said: “Playing at home can be a bonus, if the crowd turns up and we prepare for it.


"I know that being one of their first matches playing for GB at home will cause nervousness, but we hope that some of the training they have done to date will help to minimize that.


"Being nervous is normal for a volleyball athlete and we want to translate this ‘feeling’ into something positive which is drive, determination and attention to being focused on the court.


"I think it is a wonderful weapon to have going for us”

The men's team have been playing in the Dutch League and been based full-time at Amstelveen, near Amsterdam.


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