Former indoor setter rediscovers role in snow volleyball

 

Tomislav Smuc at the venue of the second FIVB Snow Volleyball World Tour event

Plan de Corones / Kronplatz, Italy, April 7, 2019 – Tomislav Smuc, former setter of the Slovenian volleyball national team, has taken on a number of different roles after the end of his career as an indoor volleyballer to stay closely involved in all three disciplines of his favourite sport. With three-a-side snow volleyball, he is happy to have rediscovered his role as a setter.

Tomislav Smuc at the Plan de Corones / Kronplatz centre court

At the 2019 FIVB Snow Volleyball World Tour event in Plan de Corones / Kronplatz, co-organized with the CEV, Smuc took time to tell fivb.com about his current roles as a successful snow volleyball player, organizer of FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour events and an Ambassador for the 2019 CEV Volleyball European Championship to be held in his native city.

Tomislav Smuc has been playing snow volleyball for two seasons now. “I like to be part of it during the winter time. Last season I played with Jernej Potocnik and our team had a funny nickname, Tom and Jerry. Now that the rules have changed to make it a three-a-side sport, my honest opinion as a player is that this is even better,” he said. “I was a setter in indoor volleyball, so my role here is mainly setting the ball, not attacking anymore and not so much blocking. And we are quite successful. At the European Tour stop in Russia in December we finished fourth and here, in Kronplatz, we made the quarterfinals of a World Tour event. I like it more than two-on-two. I think it’s a different sport. It’s more team-oriented, with longer rallies, so it’s even more attractive to the spectators.”

The snow volleyball national team of Slovenia playing at Plan de Corones / Kronplatz

In recent years, Slovenia has become very active in organizing international beach volleyball events and Tomislav Smuc has had a lot to do with it. After finishing his indoor player career, he built the first indoor beach volleyball hall in Slovenia, the Sports Park Ludus Crnuce in the centre of Ljubljana, which eventually allowed the Slovenian capital to host two one-star events on the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour - one in the summer and one in the winter.

“I manage all the facilities that we have, including four indoor and seven outdoor beach volleyball courts. This way I get to stay in contact with the volleyball community. In relation to the World Tour competitions, my role is to look for sponsors, organize the events, promote beach volleyball and try to help our national team players as much as I can,” Smuc explained.

“For sure, it’s possible to play snow volleyball indoors as well. Some countries even already have indoor skiing facilities. But in my opinion, the globe is so big, with so many federations involved in volleyball, so why don’t we keep snow volleyball as snow volleyball, a unique sport as it is, and use countries like Argentina that can organize events when we have summer in the northern hemisphere,” Smuc added. “I would definitely love to play at the next World Tour stop in Bariloche as well, but the problem is that at the same time I am organizing another one-star Beach Volleyball World Tour event in Ljubljana.”


With Slovenia hosting the CEV Volleyball European Championship for the first time in history this year, Smuc has also been chosen to be the Ambassador for the event in Ljubljana. “I am actually really happy to be in the role of connecting media, sponsors and players, and helping maintain the presence of volleyball in the media at a high level throughout Slovenia,” the 42-year-old snow volleyballer said. “For sure, the European Championship will be the biggest event in Slovenia this year and I think it will be a big success.”

Slovenia is a very small country, but has become a great example of how all three volleyball disciplines can be developed simultaneously and successfully. “My job in beach volleyball is to offer our athletes the best possible conditions to practice. In snow volleyball, we first took this as a fun activity, but following our results, we are getting very serious about it. I guess the reason is that we are managing our sports in Slovenia well. Of course, there is room for improvement, but for now things are working OK.”