Youngest, but strongest
Date: 10 February 2019, 22:24
Source: Press service Dinamo KAZAN
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Youngest, but strongest

Tatiana Kadochkina from Dinamo KAZAN is, together with Jenna Ylivainio from HÄMEENLINNA and Francesca Ioana Alupei from C.S.M. BUCURESTI, one of three players born in 2003 to contest the 2019 edition of the CEV Volleyball Champions League. However, while Alupei has played only one set this far and Ylivainio is yet to take to the court, Kadochkina has played in every single match contested by Dinamo KAZAN, scoring 52 points, including 15 in this week’s home matchup and 3-0 victory with Uralochka-NTMK EKATERINBURG.

Those who have played against Kadochkina know already that despite her young age, she is a force to reckon with and a rising Volleyball star. “I have a hard hit, maybe it is natural, or maybe it came from my father, because he was a great hitter too. Well, and I also have certain physical assets: my legs are a little bit weak, but the shoulder girdle is very strong,” Kadochkina says.

Tatiana was born in a Volleyball family. Her father, Alexey Kadochkin, is the sports director of the Sparta women’s team from Nizhny Novgorod. Before that, he was a professional Volleyball player too. For this reason, when in July 2016 the Ekaterina Gamova School was established in Kazan, he decided that his 13-year-old daughter would move there without hesitation. After all, the girls from the “Gamova School” had a chance not only to break into Dinamo KAZAN, but also to join the junior national team of Russia under Svetlana Safronova. Tatiana made her international debut in April 2017, playing already in the much higher U18 category.

The fact is that the team under Alexander Karikov did not have enough outside spikers, and he asked a promising Volleyball player from a younger team to join them. This is how Kadochkina became U18 European champion when she was only 14! Moreover, she did not lose composure when playing against more experienced opponents and featured even in the five-set final against Italy. Tatiana admits that it was very hard for her at first: “The first three days, while I was getting used to the players, to the coach, to new goals, it was hard for me. I had never met any of the girls in the team before and they were all new faces. However, we had a good time in the Netherlands at the European Championship. I did not feel surrounded by athletes who were two or three years older than I was. I even felt that we were the same age. The only thing is that they were more experienced, and it was a bit tough for me in this sense,” she says.

A few months later, in July 2017, Kadochkina had her second appearance at a European Championship, but this time in her age category U16 and as part of her own team under the supervision of Svetlana Safronova. Unfortunately, the team did not get a second European gold, but Tatiana received the MVP award. International trips continued, and in August 2017, Kadochkina won bronze at the U18 World Championship, again under the guidance of Karikov.

During the 2017/2018 season, Kadochkina, as a player of the Dinamo-UOR-School Gamova team, which is a part of the Dinamo KAZAN club, performed in the Top League B, the third highest division of the Russian national league. In general, young teams play in this division, but the players are still 3-5 years older than the wards of Svetlana Safronova. However, there are teams of higher age groups as well. The Russian youngsters focused on preparing for the U17 European Championship held in Bulgaria in April 2018. However, Kadochkina did not participate in that tournament because she had the chance to join a higher age group. As a part of this team, Tatiana won silver at the U19 European Championship in September 2018 in Albania at the age of 15!

This season, the Gamova School team moved to a higher level, i.e. to the Top League A but Kadochkina bypassed that stage. Rishat Gilyazutdinov wanted her in the starting line-up of Dinamo KAZAN, playing in the Russian Super League and in the CEV Champions League. In September, Tatiana admitted: “Of course, this invitation surprised me! I did not expect it and I learned about it only at the very end of last season, in May. I was with the main team at a friendly tournament at the beginning of the 2017/2018 season but this time the coach just came up to me and said: ‘I take you as a permanent player in the main team, so be ready for this. Set yourself up for hard work’. I understand that the other players are older, that they are much more experienced, and I will have to work very hard because the competition will be very tough,” she said at the time.

Tatiana worried unnecessarily. Of course, at first she played only as an outside spiker. However, she quickly gained credibility in the eyes of the coach thanks to her diligence and a hard, straight-from-the-shoulder hit. On December 13, in the semi-finals of the Russian Cup, Kadochkina took to the court in the starting six. Unfortunately, the first match did not bring the expected result. However, the next day, Tatiana became the most prolific player in the bronze medal game.

Of course, the management of Dinamo KAZAN understands that it has taken a great risk by choosing such young players for the front line, i.e. 15-year-old Kadochkina and 19-year-old Anna Kotikova. However, Rishat Gilyazutdinov is an experienced coach. He previously worked with the youth national team and he knows how to train young players and to make them a part of an experienced team.

At the same time, the team works in a way that accomplished champions can help the younger ones and motivate them in their development. Kadochkina really appreciates any piece of advice, which is so valuable for her future career: “Ekaterina Ulanova, Evgenia Startseva and everybody else support me and give me tips, and I am very grateful for that! Kabi (Ulanova) helps me a lot in reception: she tells me how to put my hands, how to stay calm. Evgenia Startseva provides suggestions on how to pass the ball. It often happens that the older players do not listen to the young ones. However, she always asks me what way of passing is best for me; she talks about it with me. Our middle blockers, Marina Maryukhnich and Irina Koroleva, are very helpful to develop my blocking technique.”

Remember this name, because Tatiana Kadochkina is just at the very beginning of what promises to be an outstanding career!

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