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.
Volleyball is an incredible sport in it's openness and willingness to share through it's community. The AVCA is at the forefront of this benevolent community as it continually taps into the resources of master coaches throughout the year to provide insight on their coaching ways and success. The AVCA offers articles, videos, webinars, seminars, committees and networking opportunities each month, capped off with the AVCA Convention at the end of the year. The AVCA Convention is the pinnacle of volleyball learning opportunities with master coaches gathered in one place that selflessly present their experiences and expertise to better the sport. These master coaches volunteer their time, in fact pay the same AVCA dues and AVCA Convention fees to generously help younger coaches. How awesome is that? The success of the AVCA Convention that surrounds the NCAA Women's Final Four has been expanded to a Spring Convention that surrounds the NCAA Men's Final Four.
Bill Gates says we need to learn from Master Coaches and the AVCA Convention already has this model in place. Bravo to the visionaries of our sport in developing the AVCA some 30+ years ago as a way to better and strengthen our community.
I would be remiss if I did not include USA Volleyball as another leader in this volleyball community of sharing and educating for our sport. John Kessel's Growing the Game blog is one of the world's best volleyball blogs. USA Volleyball continues to share videos, free webinars and provides learning opportunities through seminars at the US Olympic Center and CAP Education courses. And people complain about their measly USA Volleyball Membership dues?!?! Seriously?!?! Don't forget, USA Volleyball is also the leading authority for Volleyball Officials and provides extreme amounts of education for the betterment of our sport. No other organization comes close to what USA Volleyball does for volleyball referees.
Volleyball in the United States is in a great place with tremendous leaders like Kathy DeBoer of the AVCA and Doug Beal of USA Volleyball. Unfortunately, I didn't win this past Powerball to develop a real professional league in the United States, so it looks like we'll have to keep spreading the love of our game through this tremendous volleyball community.
P.S. Don't miss out on the other incredibly valuable lesson in Bills talk is the utilization of video in practice and games. Many coaches now use video for matches, some for practice, but I believe 99% of coaches us this video to evaluate player and team performance, not their own. I love how the Iowa high school teacher uses video for self-feedback.