Dean Smith, famed University of North Carolina basketball coach, created the concept of a cauldron. The cauldron is a system in which a player is graded in practices and matches. Points are awarded for a player’s performances in drills and the number of times his team wins in scrimmages. Anson Dorrance, the great University of North Carolina Women’s Soccer Coach, talks about it in his book Training Soccer Champions. Many elite USA Volleyball Coaches recommend this book and it is where volleyball grasped the idea of creating a volleyball cauldron.
Great coaches think multi-sport, just as great players are often multi-sport athletes. Terry Pettit writes on the importance of multi-sport athletes:
The more nuerological pathways a young athlete has experienced the more likely they are going to be able to adjust in the future, which is why developing athletes should be encouraged to play more than one sport. The least beneficial game plan for a sixteen year old athlete is to focus only on volleyball. The best collegiate, and olympic players are almost without exception multi-sport athletes early in their career. If a junior coach tells your daughter that she would be better off not playing high school sports she needs to run as fast and far as she can. Nothing is further from what the latest insights tell us in how the brain works.
There are things that a young athlete learns running a 400 meter dash that will help her compete in end game in volleyball. Athletes who only play junior volleyball tend to peak their freshmen year in college. The good news is that they may earn a college scholarship . . . the bad news is they never get better. Athletes who play only junior volleyball may increase the revenue for the club, or feed the coaches need for complete control, but it is not in the interest of the player (or human) development.
The competitive volleyball cauldron gauges a teams overall condition (a combination of fundamental skills, physical strength and endurance, and competitive fortitude). It ranks players in small game situations, 6 v 6 scrimmages, actual match play, and physical tests (sprints, weights, etc.). There is a bit of statistical recording required by a coaching staff, which can take away from feedback time with players, but the results help a coach with line-ups and keeps players competitive and motivated throughout a season.
The 2008 Olympic Gold Medal Winning Men’s USA Volleyball Team used a cauldron. The internet is a wealth of knowledge, if you dig deep enough, you can discover lots of information. Here is the 2008 Men’s USA Volleyball Competitive Cauldron: 2008-mens-usa-volleyball-cauldron