AVCA Convention 2013 – Day 2

The second day of the American Volleyball Coaches Association convention really started things moving along (see Day 1). The vendor area opened up. I talked with a few clothing vendors, as the teams at Exeter I coached then wanted a new vendor. I picked up my pre-ordered copy of the DVD for the Courtney Thompson documentary called Court & Spark. Also, I finally met face-to-face with my partner on the Inside College Volleyball book project. Up to then we only worked via correspondence.

Along the way I ran into some of the coaches from my Ivy League coaching days. That was a nice catch-up. I also saw two of the UCLA women’s coaches I spent time with back on my SoCal trip earlier that year.

The education sessions started that day. I attended three.

The first was “Creating a Culture of Success”. It featured the staff from the UCLA men’s team, which included a sports psychologist. One of the major points was that the culture of the coaching staff influences the culture of the team. As such, it needs to be consciously cultivated. Similarly, a key for coaches is to know themselves and to consistently be themselves. Inconsistency causes stress in an already stressful environment. The point of focusing on players’ needs (rather than yours as a coach) was made. It was further suggested that players should be treated equitably, as opposed to equally. In other words, treat people fairly based on them and the situation, not the same for everyone in all cases.

The second seminar was on using brain types to maximize performance. This is basically employing Myers-Briggs (MBTI) typing, but for more than just understanding personalities and team dynamics. It goes into physical action as well. The main focus was whether a player is right or left eye dominant and how that relates to skills like passing an defense – though other parts of the game were linked to various MBTI types. Really interesting stuff.

The final seminar was a discussion of the differences and similarities in the men’s and women’s games. That one was rather disappointing. It was a coach who’s mainly been in the men’s game with a single year’s women’s experience sharing his thoughts in a very informal way. Some going points came up, but it could have been much better done. It made me feel I should have gone to another session instead. Oh, well.

The NCAA Division I national semifinals finished the day. I went late to the Wisconsin v Texas (12 vs 1) first match. I watched the first two sets on TV, then caught the last set live. After that I spent a short time with a former player from my Brown days and her mother. Then I watched the first two sets of the Penn State v Washington (2 vs. 3) second match.

Friday’s schedule was full. There was 4 seminars, a party, and then a proper catch-up session dinner with that same former player in the evening.

John Forman
About the Author: John Forman
John currently coaches for an NCAA Division II women's team. This follows a stint as head coach for a women's professional team in Sweden. Prior to that he was the head coach for the University of Exeter Volleyball Club BUCS teams (roughly the UK version of the NCAA) while working toward a PhD. He previously coached in Division I of NCAA Women's Volleyball in the US, with additional experience at the Juniors club level, both coaching and managing, among numerous other volleyball adventures. Learn more on his bio page.

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