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"Indian volleyball needs to improve on basics like communication skills; has talent," says Olympian Ci Michel

Indian volleyball needs to improve on basics like communication skills to be a force at the international level, feels former Olympian and PVL commentator Ci Michel.

Indian volleyball needs to improve on basics like communication skills; has talent, says Olympian Ci Michel

Ci Michel (vb_ci/Instagram)


Abhijit Nair

Updated: 15 Feb 2023 12:29 PM GMT

Indian volleyball needs to improve on basics like communication skills to be a force at the international level, feels former Olympian and the current RuPay Prime Volleyball League (PVL) commentator Ciara Michel.

"India needs to improve on basic things like on-court communication between players to level up. They need to ensure that the basics are taken care of because the physicality is absolutely up there with the best," Michel told The Bridge.

"The Indian players have got all those angles, they are good at hitting over the blocks and have got those big impressive serves. But sometimes a ball will just come and drop between two players, which almost takes you two steps back," she added.

A British-American national Ci Michel, who competed at the 2012 London Olympics, believes India are on the right track to be competitive nation in the sport.

"India is certainly on the right track The Indian players are dedicated, they want to be competitive, they want to be the best and it can be seen from the way these guys conduct themselves. It is a really good sign," she said.

The 37-year-old opines that competing in some European leagues would Indian volleyball a world of good.

"A lot of good things are happening in Indian volleyball, but there is a still lot left to be done. You have your own domestic league, which is good, but sending these guys to Europe to make sure they are competing and understand the level those countries play at would be something which would do a world of good," Michel said.

"Or even to have something like the PVL all-round the year will certainly help. The World Club Championships will also be held in India later this year, that could be a very good opportunity for Indian clubs to test themselves among the best in the world," she added.

The player turned commentator is also very impressed with the new format and rules brought in by the Prime Volleyball League.

"I was watching some of the training sessions before the start of the season and realised how much the service pressure is. It is far higher than what we have witnessed so far. This is one of the first things I noticed in the playing style, especially with the Super serve and Super Point rule coming into the picture," she said.

"I absolutely love these rules. In the usual 25-point sets, the teams trailing behind have the chance to bounce back, but in this 15-point format you absolutely have to be on your toes throughout and cannot relax even if you have a sizeable lead," she chuckled.

Volleyball matches usually tend to drag on for a long duration and make the games a bit stale and these rules are exactly what the sport needed, feels Michel.

"Volleyball matches can be a little bit stale and the games can drag on for long. This format that PVL has come up with is exciting and innovative. I think sports need some innovation like that all the time. Volleyball, off late, has been stagnant. The last big rule change I remember was the introduction of libero and that was much before I started playing," she concedes.

The Olympian also hopes that other leagues and tournaments catch up with these rules sooner than later.

"I really hope that these rules catch up across the globe. Innovation is the only way to stay up and the sport too needs to evolve. I think if the rest of the world sees this format and appreciate what they are witnessing is special, it could very well catch on in other places for sure," she said.

Having witnessed all the teams in action, Michel states that the debutants Calicut Heroes could well be the dark horses in the second-edition of the competition.

"I am super impressed by the Calicut Heroes. Their middle blocker Jose Antonio Sandoval is brilliant. He has the charisma and is game changing. They are a team which can rely not only their outside hitters with the likes of Jerome plus their setter is also very tricky and has been winning points when no one really expects him to," Michel signed off.

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