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Dr Lorne Sawula

Biography

Dr Lorne Sawula was involved in the evolution and growth of volleyball as a coach, clinician, teacher, administrator, and author at the University, National, and International levels. Lorne coached more than 600 international and 500 university/college matches. He attended six World Championships, seven FISU (International University Games), two Pan American Games, two Pan American Cup Competitions, four Canada Cups, one Grand Prix, and six Norceca Championships. Lorne taught over 2000 volleyball clinics in Alberta, Canada, and internationally. He co-coached and assisted the University of Alberta Pandas to four of six consecutive CIS titles.

He worked with the Canadian Volleyball Association as Technical Director from 1977 to 1982 and was instrumental in bringing the sciences into volleyball education and developing the volleyball certification program. During this period, he coordinated the first technical guidelines and wrote content for the original coaches and instructor manuals. He instituted the “International Volleyball Technical Journal” within the international volleyball community. Additionally, he fostered the “Volleyball Development Model”; the precursor of the current "Long Term Athlete Development Model".

Lorne co-authored a number of Volleyball books, including Soviet Gold, Volleyball Coaches Diary, and many articles and papers promoting new ideas and helping to evolve the game. He believed in using statistical and video analysis to improve the caliber of volleyball and development of the 'Flow Theory' concept, which has been used by coaches at all levels of play.

To Lorne, the role of coach meant being part of a long-term plan for the sport and its total growth and development. He was the Canadian National Women's Volleyball Team Coach from 1982 to 1988, and again from 2001 to 2006. As Head Coach, Lorne team placed third at the 1983 Norceca Championships, fourth at the Edmonton 1983 World University Games, and eighth at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, CA. His team achieved fifth in the 1983 and 1987 Pan American Games. From 2001 to 2006, he coached the Canadian Women to their first Grand Prix competition in Italy and the 2004 World Championships in Germany. Lorne was also involved in creating the Men’s and Women’s Canadian National Team Programs for the 1984 to 1992 Olympic Games.

Lorne coached international teams from Switzerland (1990 – 1993), Australia (1994), Sweden (1997 – 1999), was a guest coach with Costa Rica in the 2006 and 2010 World Championships, and the United Kingdom (2007-2009). He also started the UK Women’s program which competed in the 2012 Olympic Games. Lorne is credited for appearing as a coach at over 600 international matches and 500+ university/college. He attended six World Championships, seven FISU (International University Games), two Pan American Games, two Pan American Cup Competitions, four Canada Cups, one Grand Prix, and six Norceca Championships.

At the Canadian University level, his UBC Men’s team won the 1976 University Championships and were second the following year. In the late 1990s and early 2000s he co-coached and assisted the University of Alberta Pandas to four of six consecutive CIS titles. He coached the NAIT's women's team to their first Provincial Volleyball Championship in 2011/12.

Lorne was active with the International Volleyball Federation Committees, Commissions and projects between 1976 and 2015. During his time with the Coaches Commissions of the FIVB, he was credited for designing programs such as the FIVB (International Volleyball Federation) Coaches program, the FIVB Administrators Manual, and structured coaching courses from 1978 to 1993. He also helped collect and write technical skill posters & videos for international women’s volleyball.

Lorne gave over 2000 volleyball clinics in Alberta, Canada, and internationally. He guest coached for various local teams, focusing heavily on promoting both athlete and coach development. In 2007, he started a volleyball sport school at Edmonton’s Vimy Ridge Academy and created Aspire Volleyball in 2010. Through Aspire Volleyball, he focused on transitioning young athletes and parents from club level through to national level competitions.

He is most proud of his athletes maintaining their involvement in sport when their athletic careers were over through coaching, refereeing, or administrative duties. He lived by the motto: “one is never too old for volleyball but when one stops volleyball, then one is OLD!”