Lausanne, Switzerland, January 15, 2018 – France had an up-and-down record in 2017, winning the FIVB Volleyball World League but falling short of their expectations in the European Championship and the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup, but coach Laurent Tillie is keen to look ahead to the possibilities of 2018 rather than dwell on last year’s disappointments.
First, he’ll have to get his players to think the same way.
“Everyone I’ve met is still really angry about the European Championship,” he admitted, speaking to the French Volleyball Federation website
. “It’s really sticking in their throat. We still feel burned by what happened because we really wanted to do well. Yes, we can look at our injuries and the pressure of having so many competitions in succession, but rather than dwelling on them, we must concentrate on finding solutions, to know how to move forward this year.”
For Tillie and for France – as for most of the top teams – there are two huge goals in 2018: the new Volleyball Nations League (May 25-July 8) and the FIVB Volleyball World Championship (Men - September 9-30 / Women - September 29-October 20).
“These are two fantastic goals to aim at,” Tillie says. “With the quality players we have, we feel very positive and these two competitions really give us strong motivation.”
Tillie travelled to Poland in December for the FIVB Volleyball Men's Club World Championship and to see as many of his players as he could.
“I went to watch the Club World Championship and of course to see the French players taking part,” he recalled. “And it was very useful as I could see many of my players: Julien Lyneel, Benjamin Toniutti, Jenia Grebennikov, who played in the competition, and also Thibault Rossard, who participated in an All-Star Game, and Antoine Brizard, who came to see us in Lodz. It was nice; it was an opportunity to discuss their early season, but also to look ahead to the next international season.”
Tillie’s travels and planned travels have also included Italy, France, China, Japan and the United States, where his son, Killian, plays NCAA volleyball. His other son, Kevin, a key part of the French team, has been playing in Beijing, while Julien Lyneel and Facundo Conte play in Shanghai.
Tillie has been making early assessments of his players and is generally pleased with their prospects for 2018.
“I think most of them have rebounded well in their clubs,” Tillie says. “Kevin Le Roux and Nicolas Le Goff had a more difficult start to the season because they were a little injured when they returned to their club. Earvin (Ngapeth) too, but since then, he’s been doing fine. All the others have got back into the swing of things and are doing well, so that’s a positive point. Overall, all the players have been performing well, so I can only be happy about that.”