Lloy Ball in an exclusive interview for VolleyContry: 

When my children are older, I may become a professional coach.  I would like to start my coaching career in a country where good young players need knowledge of the game and direction on how to compete and play at high levels – said one of the best setters ever. Lloy Ball spoke about his plans, volleyball memories and current events.

Cezary Makarewicz: Can you tell something about your life after the ending of your volleyball career? What are you doing at the moment?

Lloy Ball: I have been very busy since retiring.  I run a volleyball club for  300 kids.  I coach my son’s football team and my daughters volleyball team.  I help my father, Arnie Ball, coach his university team, IPFW. I have a small metal business and I volunteer with our local reading program for kids. I also play on a semi-professional volleyball team for the USA’s pro league the PVL.  It is my team – Team Pineapple.  It has players that played for my university and some professional players.

I know the name Team Pineapple from your twitter. Can you say something more about that?

-Team Pineapple is the name of: my clothing line, my juniors volleyball club, my PVL team and all the camps and clinics I do. 

Can you imagine to become a coach someday? If yes what kind of coach will be Lloy Ball –  calm as Alekno, impulsive like Rezende or maybe friendly like Anastasi?

-When my children are older, I may become a professional coach.  My wife and I would love to live in Europe again.  I would be a combination of all the coaches I played for.  I would have great energy and passion like Hugh McCutchen, I would be the most prepared coach like Doug Beal.  I would manage players well like Alekno and I would demand 100% every moment like my father, Arnie Ball.

-Did your father ever train your team? If yes how he was as a coach for you? Are you similar coach for your children?

– I played for my father 1900-1994.  He was my University coach.  He is the coach that taught me that I must give 100% in every practice, game, weight training, video or anything I do related to sports and life.  He is the reason I have such big passion when I play. I am just like my father as I coach my children or others.  I am hard but fair.  I will demand only the best effort.  I will yell and scream if my player doesn’t give me that effort, but I will also praise and congratulate them if they do.  

-In which country you would like to start your possibly coach career?

–  I would like to start my coaching career in a country where good young players need knowledge of the game and direction on how to compete and play at high levels.  I think Poland, Italy, Greece, Russia or Spain would be a good first job. Italy is probably my very first choice, because there are so many good coaches working or living there that I could still learn from.

-Matthew Anderson came back to Kazan after small break because of his private problems. Whether it is possible that Russian league is hard for players not only physically but also mentally? Is there possibility that he came back as stronger player?

– I like Matt Anderson.  He is an amazing talent.  However, I do not agree with his decision to leave Kazan.  Teams commit to players a lot of money, time and energy.  I feel we as players owe the same to the club.  I loved Russia.  Living in Russia, Poland, Greece or anywhere else is different then the USA.  Players must expect that and deal with the problems they have.  They must try to fit into the new culture.  Only time will tell if Matt is stronger or not.

-There is another change in Kazan, in setter position. Benjamin Toniutti was replaced by Maruf. What do you think about potential of those two setters?

-I think both setters are good but small.  I don’t know them personally so, I can’t comment too much.  All I know is a setter must be strong mentally to play in Kazan.  They expect the BEST results and will not settle for less.  That is why I love them.

-You said a lot of positive words about Kazan. Was it your favourite club in your whole career?

– Kazan was my favorite. Here is why. The Kazan club is the closest thing to an NBA or NFL team that a player can play for.  Everything was first class. The sports hall, the coaches, the president, the uniforms, the travel, the hotels, etc….  With all of that go along very high expectations!  Some players do not like that.They don’t want the stress and pressure from the club to win. I loved it. I knew that it was NOT acceptable to lose.  That we must win a trophy every year.  That pushed me to play my best volleyball. Winning 8 cups in 5 years with Kazan was the highlight of my career! I also found the Russian people very kind and appreciative of my efforts.  I was blessed to play with some great players:  Boga, Tetuhkin, Shulep, Kazakov, Apalokov, Egor, etc…..  and I am more blessed to call them friends.

– From your twitter I also know that you still observe national team of your country. What do you think about their potential? How about new setter –  Micah Christenson? He looks like talented but also pretty shy guy, not born leader like you…

-I believe the USA team is very strong.  All they lack is one or two guys to lead them when times are difficult.  But that can be learned.  Micah is a great, young setter.  I am a fan of his.  I look for him to lead the USA team for the next 10 years.

-You spent most of your career in Europe, do you feel recognizable in USA?

– No one outside the volleyball world or my home town knows me.  And that is ok.  I like my life the way it is.

-Was the decision of retirement from playing volleyball  hard for you?

– I still think about it every day.  I miss it and I always will.  Being a volleyball player is what I was born to do.  I loved every day of it.  I loved every practice, every weight training, every video meeting, every match!  I loved playing in front of people.  I loved entertaining them.

-During your career you traveled a lot. Do you miss it right now?

– I don’t miss the travel.  That was the hardest part as I got older.  My body didn’t like flying anymore or train rides.   And I missed my children.

-Do you regret that you  haven’t played in one certain league or maybe with some certain players in one team?

-I would have like to play in Poland for the great fans and Spain for the great weather:)  I was blessed to play with some of the best players in the world.  

Interview conducted by Cezary Makarewicz