Over the last couple of years ‘Young Buck’ Freddie Bialokoz has established himself as one of England’s hottest prospects and a force to be reckoned with at the net. Originally from London, but currently studying in Berlin, find out more about him below!
Please introduce yourself:
Hi, my name is Freddie Bialokoz I’m 19 and a 6’8’’ blocker from London. I mostly play on the left side but do occasionally play on the right. I have been playing for 5 years now.
-How did you get into volleyball?
Both my parents played volleyball, which meant that I grew up going to watch my dad play. I then started playing on holiday on the beach with my parents. I only actually started playing properly after being invited on a trial for the England Cadets and the following summer I started playing beach at Crystal Palace with my dad. At the time there were no junior members, which meant that my age was changed to 18 on their system to be able to join in the first place.
-What do you like about beach volleyball?
Personally, I find that beach volleyball is a lot more tactical than indoor. There are only two of you defending the court and you need to be more aware of what the opposition is trying to make you do and be able to have an answer for it. I really enjoy the game of cat and mouse between me and the attacker.
-What was your favourite tournament this season?
I would have to say that it was the FIVB one star in Rwanda that I went to. It was held on the shores of Lake Kivu and was an incredible experience. One of our games was against a Rwandan team on centre court and the atmosphere was amazing. There were at least 500 people crowded round watching (some were even sat in the trees overlooking the court) and the crowd was nothing but positive.
-Where do you currently train, and how often?
I’m currently studying in Berlin which means that I get to train at an indoor beach facility called East61. I train there twice a week and during the winter I also play indoors, for which I normally train three times a week.
-What is your favourite beach volleyball memory?
It would have to be qualifying for my first World Tour Main draw with Mark Garcia-Kidd last year in Montpellier. We came from behind to win in three sets against a Swiss team in the second round of qualifying. This meant that there were three English men’s teams in the main draw, which was a first and is yet to happen again.
-Where is your favourite place to play?
This is probably going to sound a little strange but my favourite place to train is probably at Crystal Palace. It’s where I started and has some of the deepest sand I have ever played in. This means that if you train there and then go anywhere else, you’ll automatically jump higher and move more easily.
-What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened to you on a beach volleyball court?
So, I was training at Crystal Palace last year and the ball got set too tight to the net and Harry tried to hit his way out of trouble. This didn’t really work as I blocked the ball back into his face and he was lying on the floor for at least the next the 20-30 seconds. He may have gotten a faint black eye from it, but I can’t remember exactly.
-One tip for all beach volleyballers out there?
It would be to start hand-setting more, as not only does it help your partner get into a rhythm but with the Wilson ball it’s a lot easier to do as well. Especially now, as the rules have become more lenient regarding hand-setting. Even if you do get called for a couple to begin with, just continue. Having the confidence to start setting with your hands is going to benefit you and your partner massively in the long run.
Thanks, Freddie! We’ll be keeping our beady eyes on the Young Buck as he progresses over the next few years.