I am very pleased to announce to that I will be competing on the 2012 FIVB tour as well as qualify for the Olympic games with Sir Josh Binstock. This is a move that may surprise some of you, especially after winning the 2011 Continental Cup with Chaim Schalk. To those skeptics, Chaim and I definitely had a good run but over the span of 2 seasons we weren't able to put together our best performances at more than a few events. Granted we both dealt with injuries (the most recent and severe being my back) but there were plenty of opportunities to step up and we never found a strong enough rhythm to consistently improve our results. I thank Chaim for a very memorable 2 years but this isn't a blog about the past, it is about the exciting future for a team that has been destined to happen for a long time!
After a frustrating end to my season in July 2011 with a back injury, I began looking at my options for a partner to pursue the 2012 Olympics with. There were a few top ranked teams playing really well and it just so happened Josh Binstock was splitting with Rich Vanhuizen. Josh and I have been solid friends for quite a long time and no stranger to each other on the court. We have always gotten along famously and from the first time I watched him play I admired his intensity and desire for the ball. He was a devastating blocker for most and with his recent transition to defender he has brought those attributes to the back court and built on them. In my opinion he became the best shot defender in Canada over the 2011 season and then went down to some late season USA events and earned more respect against some of the top athletes in the world.
It being my decision to play with Josh gives a sense of confidence I haven't had for a while. One of the main factors for my excitement is that Josh hand sets over bump setting and that is something I haven't had the luxury of since master hand setter Ray Sewell. I love hitting off a hand set and Josh's hands are fast enough for him to consistently set internationally; I look forward to crushing his butter!
So what is the next step you ask? We are currently residing full time in Toronto and training daily. We are working out like pre season College football players and starting our beach reps in a new indoor 3 court facility our national team built. We plan on going hard until christmas and then we are looking at a training camp in LA come the new year.
Our Olympic qualification is not a guarantee as the ranking going into the Canadian trials will be the two teams with the best results in the first tournaments of 2012. Those two top FIVB teams go to the NORCECA continental cup and will fight to win our nation a direct birth. Then another canadian trials will be held to narrow our best teams down to one final Olympic bound team! Lots of tournaments and high pressure situations to come but I have never felt more up for the challenge.
The road will be intense as all our tournaments run April through late June. They are closing in on us quickly making every day an important opportunity to improve and strive for our best as soon as possible.