Archive for 2013-14 Exeter University

Coaching Log – Nov 7, 2013

This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log.

In Monday’s training I did a team serve receive drill during which I collected passing stats. There was a lot of over-passing going on, so I incorporated a run-through drill into the warm-up part of Wednesday’s training. I also had a blocking movement and communication drill in there to continue building up that area of things. After passing quads to get in some quick reps, I had the team do their serving warm-up. I then had them do a little bit of pressure serving, which went well. This team is quite solid in the serving department, so I shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time on that moving forward.

I had told the team we were going to try out having the OH play defense in 6 rather than 5, and also that we were going to really focus on getting the quick attack going consistently in game-play. I ran Bingo-Bango-Bongo to get a lot of transition work in since that was where the those two elements would most be put to use.

I then did a straight 6 v 6, but with each team serving three times in a row to get a bit more serve receive action involved.

Although the energy during training was good, there was a fair bit of frustration built up during the game play because of the new positional and quick attack work being done. This was to be expected, but I wanted to finish with something a bit simpler, so I had them do winners 4s for the last 10-15 minutes. That kept them using all their skills, but in a less complex fashion.

We obviously still need work on the defense and quick offense. A number of balls dropped with insufficient effort, so the unacceptable nature of those sorts of things needs to continue to be reinforced. With matches coming on Sunday, Wednesday, and next Saturday, the main focus will be on team play. For the A team that’s about continuing to encourage a more aggressive mindset. For the B team there’s still a lot of positional understanding which needs to come along.

Coaching Log – Nov 5, 2013

This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log.

I ran a 90 minute training session following the pre-practice team meeting. Blocking movement was incorporated into the team’s warm-up to start building a focus on that aspect of the game as I plan on bringing that more into being a feature element moving forward. I split the team into primary passers (OHs, Liberos) and non primaries (Setters, MBs) for a serving and passing drill to do some passing stats, which I hadn’t done in a couple weeks. From a team perspective, it was a poor performance.

I then progressed into the 22 vs 22 game. This is the first time I’ve used it with this group, but wanted to mix it in. It’s got a good focus on trying to score on the first ball, with the additional element of trying to win points in a row and preventing the other team from doing so. The quality of play was good, but there was too much time spent by the players trying to work out where they were supposed to be on the court.

After training I indicated my disappointment with the above, and on the general low level of intensity. I added that on Wednesday’s training we will be looking at a defensive change having the OHs play in 6 rather than 5 to make the more available as back row attackers. I also said the quick attack was going to get more focused attention to get it to be a feature of the offense.

Coaching Log – Nov 4, 2013

This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log.

Last week, while I was on the Volleyball England Level 3 coaching course, the team played their first match of the BUCS campaign at Bath. The match was a 3-2 win. Observations from the coaches covering and the team captain, though, indicated that the opposition was of inferior quality and should have been beaten fairly easily. This was demonstrated by the team on multiple occasions getting out to good sized leads and giving them up. Indications pointed to nerves of the “afraid to lose” variety being a major culprit.

On Sunday the team played two SW regional matches. It wasn’t the full starting team, but rather a mix of starters and second teamers – two of which were playing in their first match of the season and in relatively new roles. The match results were a 3-1 win and a 3-1 loss. The team shouldn’t have dropped a set in the first match, but got tight late in a set they were leading. They should also have gotten at least two sets out of the second match as after winning the first, they were well up in the second late and again got tight at the end and let the other team overtake them. Serves were twice missed on set point.

So essentially Sunday’s play confirmed the reports of how things went against Bath. I held a team meeting before Monday training to talk about both matches. The players were largely on the same page in terms of the analysis of the situation.

There was also talk about intensity levels and avoiding the roller coaster. During the second match Sunday the players were very high energy early on, but that flagged. There was too much excitement about plays that really didn’t warrant it. We need to be playing on a more even plan, but with the ability to lift the intensity when the situation demands it.

The mentality that needs to be developed in this group is that of killer instinct – staying aggressive, maintaining focus, and sustaining a high standard of play regardless of the opponent. They need to have the mindset that they are likely to be the better team in most matches they play and have to play like it.

I spent a lot of the day Sunday keeping the players aggressive – both as a group and as individuals in a few cases. This is something I will look to reinforce in training and in the upcoming BUCS and Student Cup matches. Part of it will be verbal, and part of it will be environmental by way of making sure making mistakes while playing smart is not being punished. It will also be about using drills and games which work in that direction.

Keeping a Coaching Log

As part of the Volleyball England level 3 coaching certification process I have to maintain a volleyball coaching log. The log will be part of a final practical evaluation process which will also include an on-sight visit from a coaching tutor to observe a training session.I figured since I have to do it I might as well keep it here on the blog as a way to further the volleyball coaching conversation and exchange that is the main idea driving the website.

I’ve decided that I am going to concentrate my log on the Exeter University women’s team. I also coach the men, but split responsibility there a bit, and in the case of scheduling conflict I prioritize the women, so the log will be more consistent if it focus is on them. The team will play in at least three different competitions this year. They are BUCS, the Volleyball England Student Cup, and the South West regional league. BUCS is the top priority, with the SW league viewed largely as a way to get players extra playing time.

In terms of BUCS, we are actually running Division 1 and 2 teams. They all train together in a squad of 17. There are challenges to that, but the level of play throughout the squad is consistent enough to make for reasonable training sessions. We look at the Div2 squad as largely developmental – and a way for the school to pick up additional BUCS points, so the Div1 team is the main focus and will be where I concentrate my log entries.

The general idea of the log is to document my analysis of the team’s performance – collectively and individually – and how I turn that into specific training plans. Definitely feel free to chime in with comments, thoughts, etc. on any of the entries along the way. That’s exactly why I’m doing it on the blog rather than just keeping it on the side.

Volleyball coaching log (reverse chronological order)