Calicut Heroes will begin its campaign in the upcoming RuPay Prime Volleyball League on February 7 when it takes on Kolkata Thunderbolts. A lot will depend on how the duo of skipper Jerome Vinith and attacker C. Ajithlal gels with the US blocker David Lee.
“These two guys are the two best players in India. They are so talented and honestly, they are players who could play abroad and do well in most leagues around the world. I am just trying to get to know them in a short period of time to have a nice rapport and just try to fight together and win something because there is not really a lot of time to train,” said Lee during a media interaction on Wednesday.
“It’s really an expedited process. During this process, it's just that how can we have good communication together and try to win together,” added the 39-year-old American.
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Lee has had an illustrious career, winning gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the World Cup in 2015 before clinching another Olympic medal, a bronze in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
When asked how he will inculcate that winning mentality in his teammates at Calicut Heroes, he said: “What I’ve been trying to do is just have individual conversations with players when it comes to specifics about how to play the game in certain situations, trying to take some video and then show it to players. One of the best ways to learn is by watching yourself.
“The energy that I bring is highly competitive. My focus right now is just trying to pump the guys up and get ready to compete.”
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Lee admitted that playing in Prime Volleyball League at the age of 39 will have different challenges but he is mainly concerned about how his body holds up. “The biggest challenge is just physically because I am one of the older players. Staying physically fit is my main concern. I have played volleyball for thirty-plus years, and it is just that if I can be physically fit and be in good shape, I can do great things despite being one of the senior-most players.”
Looking at other blockers in the League, Lee said: “When it comes to blockers, there’s a few who are really good. Ashwal (Ashwal Rai, Kolkata Thunderbolts), Deepesh (Deepesh Kumar Sinha, Kochi Blue Spikers) and Karthik (A. Karthik, Kochi Blue Spikers) – these three players play in the same position as me and are really talented. They have strong serves, they block well, their attack is world-class.”
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