It has been three years since Małgorzata Glinka-Mogentale retired from volleyball, and with her, memories of one of the best generations of Polish female volleyball ever. The 6’3″ outside hitter amassed over 260 caps for Poland during her international career, being present in the team’s 2003-2005 back-to-back European Championship gold medal runs. Domestically, she played in Poland, Italy, Turkey, France and Spain. Her impressive list of personal accolades includes MVP awards at the European and World Championships, as well as in Champions League play.
Now retired, she has created the Glinka Academy, a program aimed at getting children acquainted with the sport. It was one of many topics she covered in her interview with siatka.org:
What’s up with Małgorzata Glinka after volleyball?
I ‘m fine, thank you. Six months ago I gave birth to a son and I am mostly absorbed in his care. I am fulfilling myself as a mother. In addition, we have many interesting projects in my foundation, which works in cooperation with the Ministry of Sport and Tourism and the Ministry of Health, so the time I have is fully occupied.
Please talk about Glinka Academy and the thousands of children taking part in it.
We have implemented many projects this year, mainly focused on kids aged 7-13. We don’t work solely with volleyball, but with general health and fitness related activities for the youngsters. We want to instill in their lifestyles that sports is a good thin. We are having a hard time, as children are currently most at home, playing computer games. Our goal is to provide as many children as possible the possibility of getting know various different sports and physical activities, to get them to know movement and the desire to play from a young age. In addition, they also learn to live in a community, make friends, cooperate and be open to another person.
Glinka Academy has been working with children for some time. Is the state of our youth really as bad as we hear it in the media?
I would not judge anyone, but it is not really good. Children are quite overweight, they are lazy and don’t do much. You do not really need much to improve the youngsters’ health. That’s why we want to pull them away from the computers and show that physical activity is cool.
The projects are not aimed only at children. Trainers and teachers can also take part in them. Is that so?
Indeed, we are trying to approach all of this holistically, and include not only children but also people who introduce them into sport. We want to teach trainers, above all, to properly conduct classes and to do even better. A number of projects are to help this. Coaches can take part in specially organized training, and if they work well, they are additionally rewarded by us. We want to help children, trainers and teachers to develop up to their best. We want children not only to play in their region, but to be able to interact with other children. We focus on making it as attractive as possible and let everyone be happy.
Do you follow the Polish volleyball team?
As I said, I gave birth to a child, I was absorbed in it and maybe I missed something at the time. I know that the volleyball players were on a long vacation and are preparing for the tournament in Montreux. The most important thing to note, though, is that they will not play in the world championships, which should be the most important event for them this year. We are very sad because of this, because we are keeping our fingers crossed for them. But in turn, in the League of Nations, the girls showed themselves very well, which makes us optimistic about the future.
The strength of the national team stems primarily from younger players who are also starting to fly from the Polish league, including Malwina Smarzek and Agnieszka Kąkolewska who will play in the Italian league …
Such a trip abroad is a step forward. I am always in favor of leaving my circle, learning from the best. It seems to me that for the girls it will be something positive and not only in terms of volleyball, but life in general. In Italy, you have to show your full training skills every day if you want to stay longer on the contract.