Saquarema, Brazil, March 5, 2016 - With the first whistle for the Beach Volleyball competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games five months away, 16 of the world’s best Beach Volleyball referees assembled here Saturday morning to begin preparation for the quadrennial event to be held August 6-18 on world-famous Copacabana.
RIO GRAND SLAM - March 8-13 on Copacabana
After their two-day seminar, the 16 Olympic referees will be working next week’s US$800,000 Rio Grand Slam at the same site where the Rio 2016 Summer Games will be played on Copacabana. After sessions Saturday and Sunday at the Center for Development of Volleyball Brazil, the referees will start working Tuesday when qualifying action starts for the first “big” event on the 2015-2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.
The “Rio 2016 Olympic Games Referee Preparation Seminar” is part of the vision by FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° to continue to develop and improve all aspects of the sport of Volleyball and Beach Volleyball. Last year at this time, President Graça launched an e-learning platform aimed at an online hub to increase collaboration between referees around the world and create new links between different members of the Volleyball and Beach Volleyball family.
The 16 Olympic Beach Volleyball referees were welcomed by André Meyer, the FIVB’s second Executive Vice-President and chairman of the refereeing comission. Meyer stressed the importance of the event for the improvement of refereeing. "Our goal is to always to improve all elements of Volleyball and Beach Volleyball," said Meyer.
After Meyer’s remarks, FIVB Secretary General Fernando Lima spoke for 30 minutes about the vision and goals of the international federation. “The referee’s work is fundamental to the development of the game,” said Lima. At the start of his second year with the FIVB, Lima also talked about meeting with entertainment representatives and a professional sport owner in the United States about the entertainment value of Volleyball and Beach Volleyball.
“We have to put faces to this sport (Volleyball and Beach Volleyball) that produce the excitement for the fans on-site and the world-wide television audience,” said Lima. “In addition to who wins the match, we need to recognize the individual or individuals that produce extraordinary effort. We need follow the action of those extraordinary efforts and put a face to these player much like Football’s Lionel Messi. We need to produce Volleyball and Beach Volleyball’s GOAL moments for our fans and viewers enjoyment.”
Lima’s talk featured much of the FIVB’s “9 goals” that were introduced last October in the United States at the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals in Florida by President Graça to introduce the international federation’s vision of becoming the No. 1 family entertainment sport in the world.
The “9 goals” are part of a long term strategic plan developed by President Graça and approved by the FIVB Broad of Administration to help direct the future work of the federation and ensure it realizes the sport’s huge global potential. The “9 goals” were devised through a collaborative, internal process which looked at the main areas of development and progress.
Following the opening remarks by the FIVB officials, the Rio 2016 representatives Giovane Gavio and Fernando Marques addressed the referees and other dignitaries about preparations for the Summer Games that officially open August 5 and conclude August 21. “We are working hard to produce the best Beach Volleyball program in Olympic history,” said Giovane, who was part of two Volleyball gold medal teams for Brazil at the Barcelona 1992 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Giovane also played in 23 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour events with Tande Ramos in the late 1990s.
Ricardo Trade, the CBV’s CEO, said he was “delighted to host the seminar. Volleyball and Beach Volleyball are the most coveted sport by the public in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. We are ready to support all FIVB initiatives to make our sport even more attractive and popular."
Prior to Dr. Piffaretti remarks, FIVB medical commission member Bruno Fonseca and Rio de Janeiro medical internist João Olyntho Machado Neto addressed the referees about the continuing importance of multiple medical matters (sun exposure, heat stress, nutritional aspects and medical controls).
A former basketball player in Switzerland's top division, Dr. Piffaretti deepened his knowledge in sport psychology in the United States at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he received his doctorate with a thesis about young athletes and successful or abandoned sporting careers. Since 1997, he has been head of AC&T Sport Consulting: a private practice whose goals are to understand and develop individuals' potential through mental training/coaching, lectures/conferences, articles and scientific studies, as well as public exhibitions.
Introduced by José Casanova, Dr. Piffaretti told of meeting the the FIVB’s Beach Volleyball Referee Commissioner at a conference in the Madeira Islands in 2011. “We had a good talk at the conference and I gave José my card,” said Dr. Piffaretti, who had three young children that are getting involved in sport and ballet.
“I told him to give me a call if I could ever be of assistance to him,” Dr. Piffaretti noted. “Last year, I got a call from him about helping further develop the referee’s skills, provide a framework to manage change, and to support them in their preparation for the Olympic Games. I will see some them again at other FIVB events in Brazil (Fortaleza in April) and Germany (Hamburg in June) for further reflections and conversations.”
After speaking with the seminar’s attendees, Dr. Piffaretti said his “main goal is to provide the referees room for them to develop their skills in terms of emotional regulation, how they deal with stress and how they deal with emotions during the game. The second goal is to give them a framework to develop their awareness and communication skills. When I see them in another setting, we are going to tackle focus, the concentration topic, which is key for their performance.”
When asked about witnessing Beach Volleyball events, Dr. Piffaretti said he has seen local competition where he lives, but the Rio Grand Slam is his first FIVB World Tour tournament. “As a sports psychologist, it is key to see the performance and what are the key demands,” Dr. Piffaretti said. “It is important not only to provide them with this theory but also practically to help them transfer all these skills into action.”
Olympic referees attending the seminar are Daniel Apol (United States), Giovanni Bake (South Africa), Djamal Bergheul (Algeria), Davide Crescentini (Italy), Mário Ferro (Brazil), Lucie Guillemette (Canada), Elzir Martins de Oliveira (Brazil), José Maria Padron (Spain), Charalampos Papadogoulas (Greece), Kritsada Panaseri (Thailand), Jonas Personeni (Switzerland), Roman Pristovakin (Russia), Carlos L. Rivera Rodriguez (Puerto Rico), Juan Carlos Saavedra (Columbia), Osvaldo Sumavil (Argentina) and Lijun Wang (China).
Apol (London 2012), Padron (London 2012), Personeni (Beijing 2008 and London 2012) and Sumavil (London 2012) have previous Olympic experience.