Przemysław Nowak: May 17, 2022 – this day is very good for you, because you became the coach of the Polish national team of U-20 volleyball players. It is certainly a great enrichment and award.
Mateusz Grabda: Of course. Working as the first coach comes with a lot of responsibility for the group. It is a great privilege, honor and distinction. I am very happy with this fact. It can be said that it is such an appreciation of the authorities of the Polish trade union. People notice the hard work and what I do every day in the club, as well as how many years I worked as an assistant at Michał Bąkiewicz. All this meant that I was entrusted with the position of coach of the U-20 national team.
I’ll risk a statement and ask if this day is the most important event in your coaching career so far?
There were certainly many special days in my coaching career. It all depends on the situation. This date is certainly extremely important and I consider it something very big. For me it is a dream come true and above all a great pride. I’m very happy and it’s a great day. I will remember it for a long time because it happened a few days before my 34th birthday. I consider it a very nice gift.
Did you think of such a gift when you were still the coach of the juniors of Effector Kielce or of the Youth League team?
When I went into “average” volleyball, I had my dreams. Sure, when I watched the national coaches and players on TV, in these beautiful costumes and white and red tracksuits, and also listened to Mazurka Dąbrowski, I thought, “It would be great to be a coach like that one day.” At that time, as a boy in my twenties, I thought it would be difficult or impossible to realize for the next few years. Under the watchful eye of Dariusz Daszkiewicz, I was constantly improving my knowledge and coaching skills.
SEE ALSO: We met a new coach from the Polish National Team of U-20 Volleyball Players! It is he who will lead the world champions
I tried every year to get ahead, as his assistant in Effector Kielce, in the Youth League team or as the first junior coach of this team. I had many responsibilities. Working with Daszkiewicz as the second coach in PlusLiga, I did not respect the great responsibility that the first coach bears … I am ready for this, and also for the pressure that will accompany me. I like such emotions and I will do everything I can to keep the result, which is the world championship with this group of representatives. I want to continue the work that Bąkiewicz started when I was his assistant.
A few days after the end of the season by your club team KPS Siedlce, you went to Bartoszyce for the Polish Junior Championship. Have you found guys who promise to be on the youth team? I understand that not all volleyball players who played at the World Cup in Iran last year will be called up.
If we look at the whole tournament, the guys who played for the national team and are now – so to speak – the strength of their team, are at a higher level than the other players. These are volleyball players who are sure to stand out. But you also have to look at the others. Some of them will be appointed. They get a chance and I hope they will use it in the run-up to the European Championship.
Did any of the volleyball players notice during this tournament in Bartoszyce?
Entrants who received individual prizes confirmed that they were entitled to them. Piotr Śliwka, Mateusz Kufka and quarterback Kajetan Kubicki played a very good competition. I am glad they are in very good condition. Now they have a moment off. They have time to rest. I hope that on June 20, when we start the first training camp in Zakopane, they will be one hundred percent ready for this preparation period.
Zakopane is the start of an adventure leading up to the upcoming European Championships in Italy. What is the purpose of this performance during the tournament? Are you going to win the gold medal and follow the success of the previous year when you won the World Cup? However, it seems that the Old Continent Championship is a more demanding event.
The two events cannot be compared. The result at the World Cup did not reflect this as we lost one set during the tournament and beat all our opponents one by one. These championships didn’t show much toil either. It was a very difficult game and also the terrain because we played in Iran.
We are stronger after this event. We won the title, but now we have to work very well in the preparation period. We have a great job to do because each of these teams that will play in the European Championship have taken a step forward. However, I am happy that most of the guys who will be called up to the Polish national team have played for Tauron in the 1st league all season. It was then that they gained more experience. I think they have made progress as a group, but also individually. It’s a fantastic thing that they got the chance to try their hand at the back of PlusLiga.
In Italy we will not cheat anyone, we will not “take” anyone for the gold medal. On the contrary, everyone will want to beat the world champions. On the other hand, all teams will respect us. We must approach this event with great patience and humility. However, we should not miss the confidence that is extremely important in team sports.
The whole conversation with Mateusz Grabda in the attached video material.
Go to Polsatsport.pl