Chinese women's volleyball team members celebrate the championship title after the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup in Osaka, Japan, Septemer 29, 2020. (Photo: VCG)
The Chinese women's volleyball team is looking forward to the postponed Tokyo Olympics. Though they haven't played a competitive event together since last year's World Cup, the 18 members were training together over the last three months.
Sessions begin at 9 o'clock in the morning, mainly focusing on basic skills and details, along with physical fitness to help cope with the one-year Olympics delay. The delay has given head coach Lang Ping time to help correct the slightest weak points of each player.
Instant reflex training is another key concern. The coaching staff hang a curtain-like screen over the net, so the blockers can't see where the ball is coming from before it arrives. This helps the team improve their defense. May is usually the month in which the FIVB Nations League gears up. May 2020, however, has been halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The team members are holding formal contests among themselves every week as even the most intense training session cannot compare to real matches.
Captain of Chinese women's volleyball team, Zhu Ting (L), with head coach Lang Ping during the match against Kenya in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup in Sapporo, Japan, September 24, 2020.
"There's no end to training for basic skills. Nobody can say that they have trained enough, because your opponents are always improving, so you have to always think about that," said head coach Ping.
"Players are used to combining training and competitions. Now we don't have matches, and they are suddenly without specific goals. Training tends to get tedious, and they don't have real tournaments to assess their efforts. But for the Chinese women's volleyball team, there's no escape route. We must lift our spirits and find a way to adjust to these changes."
Meanwhile, Zhu Ting, the team's captain and top spiker, expressed her determination: "The more we train for better skills, the more problems amongst the team can be found. Now we mainly focus on daily training, as well as praparing for the Olympics. No matter if it's three months or 400 days, that is our final goal."