Beginning the 2015-16 Coaching Log

It will be a few months yet before I actually start working with my new team at Svedala Volleybollklubb – September, in fact. The season starts in early October. That doesn’t mean the work hasn’t already begun, though. It actually started before I even signed my contract!

Recruitment
The first priority from the club’s perspective is signing new players for the upcoming season. Last year the team had three American players filling their permissible foreign player spots (foreign meaning non-Swedish, as opposed to non-EU). None of them is returning, so all three of those places need to be filled. Most likely that will mean bringing in a Setter, a Middle, and an Outside. I’ve already begun evaluating players who have been suggested to the Sports Director from his contacts and/or put forward by player agents. He is also evaluating prospective domestic signings, as some of them will not be returning. It’s going to be a process not unlike college recruiting in the US, albeit without the NCAA rules and the academic considerations. The principles are the same, though – lots of video watching, reaching out to contacts, considering things beyond just playing ability, getting information from coaches, etc.

Familiarization
Because I’ve not coached in Sweden before, one of my first requests was to be able to watch some video of matches played last season. I have three of them, two featuring Svedala and one featuring the league champions (Svedala finished 5th in the standings and lost in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs). I’ve watched two of the three so far, so I have a general idea of where things are at. I want to do a more detailed review, though – both to analyze the style and level of play and to look at specific returning players. This is actually a nice change from when I got started coaching in England. I had absolutely no idea then what the competitive level was going to be, so there was a lot of on-the-fly adapting the first year. In this case, I’ll have at least seen the video. Plus, having worked with the German teams last summer gave me a lot of valuable insight into European professional volleyball generally.

Other stuff
The next priority from a club perspective will be to do some advanced planning with the Sports Director. One of the things that will include is decisions on preseason competition. I want to start making contact with the returning players and new signings as they come aboard to get to know them some individually. No doubt there will be plenty of other things. As they come up for consideration along the way I’ll speak to them in turn.

Moving forward …
I’m not sure how I’ll end up handling these log updates moving forward. During the season it would be a bit much to post something after each training session and/or match as I did while coaching at Exeter when it was only a couple times a week, generally. Most likely I’ll go with a weekly approach where I speak about what I did in the 7 days gone by and look forward to the 7 days coming. Between now and then I’ll post entries as things of note develop to provide some insight into the administrative and organizational side of things.

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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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