The Best Player You Might Have Heard Of…

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…but have probably forgotten.

At the same tournament that I saw Ricardo Goicochea I also saw a young Swedish player, who impressed me enormously with his athleticism (among other things noted in the linked article).

Bengt Gustavsson was already playing in Italy by then, appearing for top teams like Santal Parma and eventually Sisley Treviso. Sweden was a team on the rise, led by coach Anders Kristiansson. Eventually, with Gustavsson as their star they qualified for the 1988 Olympics appeared in two European Championships semi finals, winning silver at home in 1989 (more on that later). The team and their star drifted quickly out of the limelight; the latter a victim of a career ending motorcycle accident, the former in large part due to the absence of the latter.

What I remember most of Gustavsson was his impossible athleticism. I have competed against, or at least seen in person, virtually every top player of the last 25 years and I cannot think of a single one with comparable athleticism. In the video below you can watch his explosiveness and balance, as well as the languid ease with which he does all of it. I just had to write languid.

I really enjoyed watching this game and his performance (he ended with 14 points + 28 sideouts).

Tagged Volleyball History, Matches From History

The total of 82 practical Coaching Tips can be found here and here.

Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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