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Automated Cars, Automated Coaching

Coaching isn’t what it used to be. There is the Art of Coaching Volleyball, but the Science of Coaching Volleyball is beating the art. Big Data is directing novice coaching to success while master coaches are losing matches. As Anton Brams, USA Men’s Team Technical Coordinator and of Oppia Performance noted,

A master coach, who does not work with new types of technology and ignores these developments, will lose out against a less skilled coach who is well-informed about technology. Therefore less skilled coaches with an affinity for technology will become the better coaches.

A perfect example of this was found by Clive Thompson in his book ‘Smarter Than You Think’. In the world of chess, several experiments have been carried out in which chess masters played against computers, chess masters with computers played against amateurs with computers, and other variants. The experiments showed a clear result:

A chess master such as Kasparov (record holder and one of the best chess players in the world) is good.
A chess master with a laptop is better.
But a master with a laptop was generally beaten by a chess novice if this novice was trained in dealing with the laptop.
Chess amateurs had better awareness of when they could rely on human understanding or intuition and when they should follow the computer analysis.

Kasparov commented as follows: ‘Human strategic guidance combined with the tactical acuity of a computer was overwhelming.’

In summary, it can be stated that an amateur trained in dealing with computers makes better decisions than an expert and will beat the expert more often than the expert will beat him/her.

After reading a recent Harvard Business Review article, How to Win with Automation, when will volleyball coaches become automated as well? DataVolley, VolleyMetrics, Hudl, Krossover, etc. are providing coaches with data and soon each team will need a technical coordinator to analyze the data and direct the team. The art will manage the people, the science will direct the people.


  1. I agree and I’m trying to add more technology in looking at my team to improve my coaching. The movie “Moneyball” is a perfect example of technology to drive a team to success beyond the experience of the coach.

  2. Moneyball is a good one and you should read his next book, the Undoing Project.

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