Tag Archive for coaching convention

AVCA Convention 2016 – Wrap-up

The AVCA Convention for 2016 is over. See my reports on Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3. I want to wrap things up in this post, and provide my final thoughts.

I only actually attended one session on the final day (Saturday) of the convention. That one focused on fundraising – something of immediate potential use for us at MSU as we plan an overseas trip for August 2017. It was probably a little more long-term in thinking, as it focused largely on developing relationships. I still came away with some good thoughts on what we can do, though.

Aside from that session, I mostly just talked with some people.

I ran into one of the leaders of Juniors in New England. That’s where I came up as a coach, but I haven’t been involved in a decade. Hearing the progress made since then was interesting. The inter-regional tournament we started in about 2003 as a 10-court January event is now a big 3-day convention center-based competition. They also now run another big tournament in Boston in early March. Plus, membership is growing at 10% a year. That’s awesome!

I also saw a former college club teammate of mine. He’s the assistant coach at our alma mater, and in line for the head job now that the head coach is retired. I think the last time we saw each other was 2013 when I visited them in pre-season.

Of course the NCAA Division I final match was that night. I did not attend, but those I spoke with afterwards said the environment was much better than for Thursday’s Semifinals.

Overall, I enjoyed the event quite a bit. Although the city of Seattle was more interesting to me, I didn’t have as good an experience at the convention there in 2013. That is a function of not knowing as many people there, though. I had lost a lot of contacts after my years away from US volleyball (see my reports here, here, here, and here), and was there by myself. I have since developed a based of contacts, and it’s always more fun when you can spend time with people you know.

AVCA Convention 2016 – Day 3

My third day at the AVCA Convention was a pretty big one (see Day 1 and Day 2).

It started with attending the early morning “Super Session”. That combined five 15-minute presentations with recognition of coaches reaching victory milestones. One of the latter was 1900! The presentations included Chris McGown talking back row attacks in women’s volleyball, Christa Dietzen talking about wearable tech for health management, Terry Pettit on skill vs. talent, Roberta Kraus talking about converting threat into confidence, and Giovanni Guidetti sharing why he coaches so much. They were all good sessions.

Actually, I was shaking my head during Guidetti’s presentation. It was very entertaining, but he shared some things that were in my own presentation later on! I was glad he only talked for 15 minutes. 🙂

After that I sat in a on a session about performance statistics at different levels. The figures were interesting, but I found the overall presentation went off too often into coaching methods.

Next up was my own presentation. I had no idea how it was going to go. The slides I prepared could have been too few or too many. All in all, I think it went well. The guy running the room told me the attendance was something like 233. No bad, especially up against the All-America awards banquet. And no one left until we reached the Q&A period. Even then it was only a couple.

After that I went to Guidetti’s presentation on the Dutch Women’s National Team’s Olympic build up and experience. This was part of the pre-convention programming. It had to be done on Friday because of Guidetti’s travel requirements. He talked about taking over the program a couple years back, and the qualification process. Of course he also talked about the Rio Games. He shared quite a lot of statistics on all facets of play, which was interesting.

Guidetti also did an on-court presentation after that. It was on blocking and defense. I wanted to attend, but I got caught up talking to some people. The other MSU assistant went, though. He takes lots of notes! 🙂

The last seminar for me was one on developing your coaching philosophy. I mainly went to see Bill Neville and Sue Gozansky. They ran the session as part of CAP. You can see my own coaching philosophy, as it currently stands.

The rest of the day was mainly about networking. I connected with some folks I know and met some new ones. Among the latter was Avital Selinger. He is son of the legendary Arie Selinger and an accomplished coach in his own right.

Things wrapped up on Saturday.

AVCA Convention 2016 – Day 2

Educational sessions were in full flow Thursday (see Wednesday’s program). I attended three of them.

The first session was nominally about the most important things for point scoring in mens’ and boys’ volleyball. It turned out to basically be a talk about serving and blocking. There was supposed to be a discussion of transition play too, but there wasn’t enough time. The men’s coaches for Stanford, Ohio State, and UCLA made up the panel.

The second session was on in-match setter management. Salimia Rockwell of Penn State was the presenter. It was a really entertaining talk. A lot of what Salima talked about actually had to do with pre-match work. That’s scouting and game-planning.

The last session I attended could be thought of as kind of statistical benchmarks. It was a look at key team statistical performance metrics. They went through 14s girls, 16s boys, Division I and II college men, and Division I college women. The presentation showed a couple of things. One was which metrics most correlate to winning, while the other was where teams came in at for those metrics.

More sessions were on tap for Friday. I also had a Wizards-themed presentation to make. It was to be a long day in the convention center!

AVCA Convention 2016 – Day 1

The 2016 edition of the AVCA Convention is in Columbus, OH. This was the scene when I arrived on Tuesday.

First snow seen after leaving Sweden!

Day 1 of the convention was mainly pre-convention programming. Not surprising, the focus was the 2016 Olympics. It was a 2-part set-up. The morning session (about 2.5 hours) was on-court stuff. The afternoon session was basically a review of the Games. The presenters for the sessions were USA Men’s coach John Speraw, USA Women’s assistant Tom Black, and Netherlands Women’s coach Giovanni Guidetti. Due to travel considerations, though, they ran Guidetti’s portion on Friday afternoon.

The on-court session was the usual mix of games and drills. Speraw talked quite a bit about small-side games and over-the-net pepper variations. The afternoon session I found more interesting and meaty. Black focused on technical and tactical stuff. Speraw went more into organizational and managerial things. He said some really interesting things about team chemistry, and I think some will be in a Volleyball Coaching Wizards podcast.

The first official session for all attendees was presented by Sue Enquist. That was in the late afternoon. Sue won 11 national championships as the head coach of the UCLA softball team, though she is retired now. She focused on coach relationships with players.

Thursday was the first full day of the convention proper, and was also the NCAA Division I semifinals. I presented on Friday. Saturday was the last day of the convention, and the Final was that night. I did not buy match tickets this time. Instead, I planned to watch on TV. I wanted to boost ESPN viewership. 🙂

AVCA Convention reports?

I’m feeling incredibly jealous of everyone who’s attending this year’s AVCA Convention. Getting to hang out with your fellow coaches. Attending interesting seminars. Watching some excellent volleyball. Alas, it just wasn’t in the cards for me this year – though I did at least get to watch the matches.

Last year I blogged my own convention reports (here, here, here, and here). I would love to hear from any of this year’s attendees what they saw, did, thought, etc.

AVCA Convention Day 4

My last day at the 2013 American Volleyball Coaches Association convention (see Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3) was all seminars. I went to four of them.

The first session was the only on-court one I attended. It featured USA national team setter Courtney Thompson. She gave a player’s point of view on setter training and development. She shared a couple interesting nuggets about coach feedback and setter-hitter communication.

Next up was a seminar on the Competitive Cauldron concept. That became quite popular in recent years. Basically, it’s a statistics driven approach to evaluate and rank players. The view was basically that while it has value, there are significant limitations. Do not use it in isolation.

Third was a session by coaching legend Mike Hebert. His book Thinking Volleyball was just released. I picked up a copy. I read his prior books Insights and Strategies for Winning Volleyball and The Fire Still Burns. Here is my review. The talk came basically right out of the book. It was quite good.

The final seminar was a panel discussion. It was titled “When Winning is Your Job – Designing Systems and Training What’s Important”. It lacked much about system design. There was, though, quite a bit on priority-setting and other aspects of managing a team and program.

The NCAA Division I championship match capped the day. I had a ticket to attend. I opted to watch it on television, though. Not once did I get more than 4-5 hours combined sleep a day the whole trip. I was out of gas!

Final thoughts? The content was good. I just wish there was more of a social element. But that was a personal thing, and not the event itself.

AVCA Convention 2013 – Day 1

After a 2:00am wake up – thank you 8 hour time change! – it was a fairly sedate start to the convention. I checked in and got my credentials, bag of materials, and tickets to the NCAA national semifinals and finals to be played on Thursday and Saturday respectively. My seats weren’t likely what most folks would call premium. They were “end zone” rather than sideline. Coaches tend to prefer that perspective because they see more of the player movement. Unfortunately, it’s from further away!

My major commitment on the day was the Education & Publications committee meeting. I was invited by one of the AVCA staffers who grabbed some of my blog material for their Coaching Volleyball 2.0 e-magazine. We had some interesting discussions, though nothing earth-shattering, and met a few new folks. It was interesting to hear that ESPN was really eager to push volleyball.

The rest of the action was mainly along social lines. There were a couple of specific group meet-ups and a general opening night party. I met a fellow blogger.

Oh, and I also shopped for clothes in Seattle. Had to take advantage of lower prices in the US compared to England. And I found some 2-for-1 deals on top of that! 🙂

Day 2 was when the educational seminars started.