We caught up with local volleyball player Luke Smith who was in Perth over the Easter break, en route from the Czech Republic to Canberra for national team tryouts.
Smith has been playing with Czech club VK EuroSitex Pribram in the Men’s Extraliga Volleyball.
we spoke to him in 2013 at the start of the season, Smith said that playing in another country has both advantages and disadvantages. They managed to get around the language issues and that there was a strong camaraderie with other international players, even though there aren’t that many.
“Best part of playing volleyball overseas for me would be the experience and exposure to top volleyball that progresses you as a player, but also experiencing new cultures with the great people you meet along the way. For example, an ex-VWA staff member and old VWA coach of mine Stuart Davis made contact with me after a few months in Czech, since I last saw him in my Junior days for VWA he has since moved to Czech Republic with his young family and we were able to catchup after many years passed.
“Playing abroad undoubtedly improves you as a player, being exposed to a new country/culture and playing with good players in a full-time professional environment sees significant gains.
I am very lucky and happy to be playing the sport I love for a living. The only downside is being away from family, friends and constantly missing the beautiful Australian summer ”.
Smith’s team VK EuroSitex Pribram had a strong pre-season then struggled through the start of the season because of injury. Recovering from this, the team made the League Cup Grandfinal, finishing with a silver medal. They went on to the playoffs, and lost in the Semi Finals.
Towards the end of the season, Smith himself suffered injuries and returned early to undertake rehabilitation in Perth. His focus is now the national team tryouts in the coming weeks.
“I knew the priority was National team above all. So when I had the second injury set back I wanted to get back to Australia as soon as possible to rehabilitate the injuries fully for the best chance with National team. The training environment that is constructed and provided by the club and coach you’re with is really important.
This year is huge for Volleyball Team Australia Men’s with World League beginning just a month away, also with World Championships in Poland later on.
Smith heads to Canberra at the end of the week.