Home / Coaching / Recap of Marv Dunphy’s article on the U.S. Men’s Team’s Run to the Olympic Gold Medal

Recap of Marv Dunphy’s article on the U.S. Men’s Team’s Run to the Olympic Gold Medal

hugh-mccutcheon-marv-dunphy-john-sperawMarv Dunphy wrote a great article in the January 2009 Coaching Volleyball Magazine on how the U.S. Men’s Olympic Team won the Gold Medal.  Much overall praise goes Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon’s vision and system.

Following are coaching points of interest by Marv Dunphy:

  • How a coach says “no” is more significant than how a coach says “yes”.
  • All teams strive to be good in all phases of the game, but the great teams usually have one or two things that they are fabulous at doing.
  • The U.S. players individually, or by position, seemed to take turns playing well.
  • For the U.S. offense, they scouted and studied every server technically – what kind of arm did he have, how much heat did he have, did he have heat with range, where was the primary location of that heat, did he change depths, did he keep the speed up and did he cut it, did we need to save our timeouts for this server (the smart teams did that with Clay Stanley), what did he do when we adjusted our serve receive pattern (show and take), could we take a jump float with our hands or did we need to pass with our arms, what did he do after any kind of delay, who was their first server, did we need to stay out of our rotations one and two against a certain server, did we need to cover the tape, was it a true spin or did it tumble, etc?
  • For offensive tactics, the coaches analyzed what every blocker and defender did on a perfect pass, good pass, medium pass and bad pass.  Mostly, they wanted to know what the opponents tended to do on a perfect pass, and we made tactical plans accordingly.
  • The U.S. had a great error-to-block ratio – the team committed 56 hitting errors and was blocked 70 times.  You always want the number of blocks to be higher than the number of errors.
  • The U.S. had 12% serving errors, which is very good by international standards.  In collegiate athletics, a good number is 10%.

Marv Dunphy is one of the few coaches with the privledge to coach Karch Kiraly and 2008 Olympic MVP Clay Stanley.  Karch brought the whole game to the court, as he passed, where Clay did not.  But I would like to know from Marv’s point of view the similarities and differences between Karch and Clay.  It’s gotta be an interesting perspective.

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