If you’ve ever coached a volleyball team, you just might have had a few players cry. Hopefully, they are tears of joy after a tremendous victory, but most of the time the tears seem trivial to a coach. Some cry while playing on the court (even during a point!), some on the bench, a few in practice, on the bus, at a team meal, in your office, etc. It happens at times least expected, and often times it seems when things are going well for the team. How can a player be crying when we are on this winning streak?!?! Continue Reading
I know, I know. One minute you think you’ve figure out this new generation of kids and the next, you feel you’re on a learning curve again. I get to spend a lot of time with university students these days and I’m amazed at one thing. The world they live in has produced a generational mindset—a shared paradigm—if you will. Continue Reading
The now philanthropic Bill Gates starts this TED talk by saying, “Everyone needs a coach.” In Bill’s riveting speech about teachers, he provides information on why the United States is performing so poorly in all education subjects in comparison with the rest of the world. Shanghai, China ranks #1 in the world in Reading, Science and Math. Part of the reason Shanghai is #1 is because younger teachers get the opportunity to watch master teachers. Continue Reading
Saw this great post by Vernon Gambetta, a coach of elite athletes of almost 40 years:
We talk a lot about having our athletes get out of their comfort zones to move forward and progress. How about us? As coaches we all have our comfort zones. Some of us are good in certain areas. Some of us can prepare an athlete for a league or a district meet and then are out of our element when we have to prepare for a state of national competition. In short we all have our comfort zones. Step back and do an honest evaluation of where you are as a coach. What are you comfortable with? Where are you uncomfortable? Is where you are comfortable holding you and most importantly your athletes back? I know I am pushing myself to get out of my comfort zone in certain areas. After 44 years of coaching it is tougher to do but I know it must be done. It may mean little things, but a succession of little things could make a big difference. What are you going to do today to get out of your comfort zone to help make your athletes better?
I hear the same things from Karch Kiraly in a Q&A session:
“Learning is an uncomfortable process and we have to take some time everyday being uncomfortable and pushing ourselves at the edge of our ability level.”
This is a piece I wrote for the Art of Coaching Volleyball…
The Next Coaching Move
Terry Liskevych asked me to contribute to The Art of Coaching Volleyball to provide my perspective, from a younger coach’s vantage point. This post is about my decision making process to move from an assistant coach position at Winthrop University to an assistant coach position at Miami University. Continue Reading
Had a very successful weekend of coaching clinics for the USAV Palmetto Region. John Kessel spoke his magic about specificity, demonstrated effective and efficient drills, and stories galore about the development of our great sport. Heather Vahjen gave a great session on recruiting, and I spoke on “What Coaches Should Focus On vs What Coaches Typically Focus On”. We had a very nice turnout out and appreciated the attentive and eager coaches that wanted to continue to learn. Continue Reading
This Saturday, I am fortunate to be doing a coaching clinic with USA Volleyball’s John Kessel and Erskine Head Coach, Heather Vahjen. Through this silly little website, I’ve had a great opportunity to connect with John over the past few years. He has a silly little Growing the Game blog too, well his isn’t as silly as mine, but we often share concepts. He’s probably a bit weary of me pestering him with ways to help grow our game, but I know my pestering is what he appreciates most. Continue Reading
Even great teams struggle. I often believe the struggle is a gift, but it certainly doesn’t feel much like a gift when your team is going through it. As a coach, I have learned it is important to reflect on the positives and strengths of the team, not only physically, but especially mentally, and to believe in the process.
Last year, John Kessel distributed a Gold Medal Squared article written by Rob Browning, St. Mary’s Head Coach, as his team was going through the “gift” of the struggle. It is a great article (below) with a great message, but it didn’t mean much to me last year as our Winthrop team was rolling and ended the season 20 – 8 and Big South Regular Season Champs. This season, we have an even better team, but nine freshman. Yes, nine. Even us “old” coaches have fallen into the societal/technological trap of instant gratification and want a faster result for our team. Continue Reading
This past Sunday, I was in a volleyball conundrum. The USA Men and the USA Women played at the same time. Ironically in very different time zones as the men played France in France and the women played Brazil in Brazil. Both coming out victorious, 3 sets to 1 set, on the opponent’s home court. I spent part of my Sunday flipping screens on my computer to watch them both. Continue Reading
Even though our objective as a volleyball coach is to coach volleyball, we are also teaching life lessons through volleyball. The following list fittingly came out in time for Father’s Day and many of these points can apply to male coaches coaching female athletes. Continue Reading
In an election year, there is no better option for President than Doug Beal! He’s not a Democrat, not a Republican, nor Independent. He’s just Doug. I’m sure he has the wit and capacity to do a better job than most politicians, but the world is better off to keep him in volleyball. Doug Beal, CEO of USA Volleyball, is running for President of the FIVB.
Doug’s launched a website for his race to FIVB President: DougBeal.org The only problem I see with his campaign is a wicked good campaign slogan, so I’ve decided to come up with a few of my own: Continue Reading
The volleyball world lost a great coach and leader, Yasutaka Matsudaira. Mr. Matsudaira, Men’s Head Coach of Japan’s 1972 Olympic Gold Medal winning team, was a master strategist and pioneer of the fast style (Asian-style) offense prevalent in the game today. His offense proved that ball control and a fast offense can dominate over power and height. Mr. Matsudaira went on to be the President of Japan Volleyball Association, the first Vice President of the FIVB was the first international coach inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame. Yasutaka Matsudaira put Japan on the map in the volleyball world. Continue Reading
If you haven’t already checked out John Dunning, Russ Rose, and Terry Liskevych’s new website, The Art of Coaching Volleyball, it is a great resource for all levels of volleyball coaches. I appreciate the insight of Terry’s defensive strategy, I spent time picking up great tips from John Dunning through an hour long setting video tutorial, and listening to Russ Rose always provides interesting perspective and candor.
I hope the website continues it’s approach to providing great volleyball content to better our sport.
It’s that time of year again, when new seasons start, new coaches are looking for advice on coaching. I typically get a flood of emails in August and hope this blog post will help provide some guidance.
I’ve been coaching for 8 years now. 5 years collegiality and 3 years on the high school and juniors club scene. There was a two year stint at East Valley Juniors in Arizona while I was at Arizona State, which could be considered coaching, as I learned a bit from that experience. I was the head coach of a team there and assisted with Jeff Nelson’s team (now University of New Mexico’s Head Coach) where Jenn Snyder (beach professional) was just a young pup. Oh how the times have change or maybe they’re all the same. I would though like to reacquaint myself with the great little players from my East Valley Juniors 14 – 2s Team. I’d love to know what they are doing, where they are, what they are doing in their lives…etc. I digress Continue Reading
Winthrop’s new Head Coach, Julie Torbett, played at Penn State under Russ Rose and the open communication leads to great opportunities like New Year’s in Italy with Russ Rose. Unfortunately, the opportunity does not include a free trip to Italy with Russ Rose (and please keep in mind, I am not get paid for any advertisements or promotions on this website), but a pipeline to insight and knowledge of the 5 time NCAA Champion Coach. I am hoping to catch some of the spillage when the statistics pot boils over, but you can learn from Coach Rose, firsthand in Italy this coming New Year’s. Sounds like an opportunity of a lifetime. Continue Reading
Four-star general Stanley McChrystal shares what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military. How can you build a sense of shared purpose among people of many ages and skill sets? By listening and learning — and addressing the possibility of failure.
1. You stink.
Literally. If your antiperspirant isn’t getting the job done (maybe you forgot to use some that day) or you splashed on a bit too much aftershave or perfume, your players are more worried about getting away from you than listening to you.
2. Your breath stinks.
Seriously, if your breath stinks, your players are figuring out the best way to dodge the stench secreted by every word. They probably are also holding their breath. If they turn red, it’s likely not from what you are saying, but they can’t breathe. Chew some gum. Continue Reading
The USAV Palmetto Region is where I started coaching many years ago (although I did have a year stint in Cactus Region, but I wasn’t ready to coach way way back then). I appreciate the opportunity to give back to a region that has helped me to get to where I am today. John Kessel and Palmetto Region Commissioner, Jimmy Peden, invited me to be a panelist on the most recent Impact Clinic for the Palmetto Region. It was a fun opportunity to join two creative thinkers of the game as well as a great opportunity to refresh my mind on the fundamentals of the game. Here are some notes I took throughout the clinic: Continue Reading
At the AVCA Convention, I listened to a presentation by Russ Rose and Terry Liskevych titled: What We have Learned in 75+ Years of Coaching. Besides it being quite comical, Russ and Terry provided some great insight into how the sport has changed from Continue Reading
As many of you know, I had the privilege to spend time with Head Coach Mike Hebert while at Minnesota. People still ask what I learned most from my experience…and I have a journey full of ideas. Much of what I learned was through listening, watching, small talk, and brainstorming. The times I appreciate most were those brainstorming sessions – bouncing ideas around. I recall a time talking about what makes an ordinary person extraordinary and coming up with a list of things great players do. This list was ranked and separated into levels. The levels were used to recognize the number of items on that list an extraordinary player accomplishes during their volleyball career. Continue Reading
Based on the title of this post, you may assume it is about the effect or influence parents have on coaching in junior club volleyball or even college volleyball, but that could be a blog all to itself. Instead, “The Parent Effect” is an interesting phenomena about the learning curve of athletes.
I enter each club season armed with an arsenal of tools to help better volleyball players as a whole. The tools include a nutrition guide, workout regimen, academic advice, discipline for their daily Continue Reading