Tag Archive for volleyball blog

Happy Birthday Coaching Volleyball!

Today marks three years since the first post went up on this blog. If you read it you’ll see I had an ambitious outlook on where the website could go. I did, however, have a pretty narrow geographic scope in mind. I was focused at the time on helping volleyball coaches in the Southwest of England develop their education and skills.

How far things have come since then!

Here’s the 3-year graph of weekly page views going back to the beginning. The highest number of views back in 2013 happened in September. It was just over 1000. Fast forward to 2016 and the site’s slowest week back in January was still about 30% higher.

PageViews-3yrs

All together the blog has seen nearly 105,000 visitors and over 260,000 page views. As you can see from the map below, those visitors come from literally all over the world.

(click for larger view)

I doubt anyone will be surprised that the U.S. is the biggest source of blog visits given it is the largest collection of English-speaking volleyball people. Canada is a distant 2nd, with the U.K. in 3rd. Germany is next on the list, followed by the Philippines, Russia, and then Australia. Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden round out the top 10.

Apparently, the sweet spot for volleyball coaches – at least those interested in developing themselves and sharing ideas – is the 25-44 range, which accounts for more than 50% of blog viewership. That’s probably not too much of a surprise. The 45-54 age group is a little behind that, pretty much on the same level with 18-24. I like seeing that latter representation as it tells us we’ve got a good number of younger coaches coming up with the right kind of mentality.

Only about 7% of the blog traffic comes from those over 55. Dare I draw any conclusions about that? 🙂

The gender split is basically 50/50. This is interesting because I regularly see a larger % of male readership of the Coaching Volleyball Facebook page, and FB is a major source of traffic for the blog. Miles ahead of Twitter. Apparently, volleyball coaches hangout on Facebook.

Speaking of Social Media, I created Facebook and Twitter accounts for the site at the same time as I started the blog. The FB page is now approaching 1000 likes. The Twitter account recently crossed 800 followers (rising rapidly of late). For the record, I’ve not done any advertising to boost those numbers along the way.

By the way, I managed to complete a PhD in that time as well!

One blog, many connections
A major result of my developing this blog has been the connections I’ve made with coaches in many different places. I was already coaching in England when I started posting to this site. Since then, though, I can attribute many of my coaching experiences to relationships fostered by this website.

I’ve been a visiting coach at a couple of professional teams in Germany, and got the opportunity to watch the men’s CEV Champions League Final 4 in Berlin in 2015. I’ve worked Volleyball England Junior/Cadet tryouts, and USA Volleyball High Performance tryouts. I got my job coaching in Sweden directly because of my German contacts, and my current job at Midwestern State is linked to my work on Volleyball Coaching Wizards, which in turn links back to this blog.

It’s actually kind of amazing to think about all the people the blog has helped me connect with across the volleyball world. Seems like where ever I go someone will tell me they’ve been to this site, which started so small.

Where to from here?
That’s a good question. I’m putting a lot of time and effort into the Wizards project because I think it’s something which has the potential to have a major impact on the volleyball coaching community. Hopefully, you’ve at least been following along with that podcast. My partner Mark and I have, I think, done some really interesting stuff there.

I’ve also been working on some more focused educational material in recent months in areas where I see a lot of demand for information and solutions among visitors to the blog. You’ll hear more about that shortly.

Those two things have probably kept me from being as prolific in my posting as I’ve been at other times, though I’ve still managed to top 750. They may continue to slow me down in the future. So long as I’m coaching and/or interacting with other coaches, though, I’m sure there will be plenty of material to keep me writing.

I’m always open to suggestions, too. If you’ve got something you’d like to see me talk about here, just let me know. Some of the more interesting stuff – at least to my mind – has come from reader questions.

750 posts and counting!

Yesterday’s post was the 750th of this little volleyball coaching blog. 🙂

We’re a few weeks away from Coaching Volleyball’s third anniversary since it’s launch, so I guess I’m averaging just about a post every weekday. By the point you’ll probably have noticed that’s my general schedule. I don’t always get them in, but it’s pretty close.

According to the stats, here’s the top 10 posts by page views.

  1. Volleyball Try-Out Drill Ideas
  2. Volleyball Conditioning – A Sample Program
  3. Are your warm-ups wasting valuable time?
  4. Drill: Run Serve Receive
  5. Volleyball Set Diagram
  6. Teach them how to throw
  7. Game: Bingo-Bango-Bongo
  8. Scoring Serving and Passing Effectiveness
  9. Game: Winners (a.k.a. King/Queen of the court)
  10. Rules for coaching volleyball from John Kessel

Not surprisingly, most of the posts above date back to the first year of the blog, giving them lots of time to accumulate reads. Interestingly, though, #6 and #10 are both posts from in the last 6 months. They obviously reflect an interest in the material. Equally, though, they indicate how far the blog has come in terms of reach.

In fact, those two posts are responsible for the 3 largest individual day’s of readership for the blog.

Something I find interesting is that in terms of social media, Facebook is miles ahead of Twitter in terms of where readers come from to get to the site. I think it’s about a 5:1 ratio. This is despite the fact that I have a similar number of followers on both platforms. Clearly, there’s more sharing going on among coaches on Facebook than on Twitter.

What the stats can’t tell me is how much readership some of my posts are getting in print media. Over the years quite a few of them have been picked up for publishing in other places, most notably the AVCA’s Coaching Volleyball 2.0 magazine.

Anyway, I don’t have plans to stop writing any time soon. Got thoughts for future post topics? Let me know!

Year in Review: 2015

Well, 2015 was certainly an interesting and eventful year!

Job

On the personal front, I went through an often frustrating job hunt process in which I put in for over 100 college coaching jobs in the States and only managed to get a single interview out of the process. That all ended positively enough with me landing my first ever job in professional volleyball, though.

Education

I also went through an often frustrating PhD completion process. Things just seemed to drag out. Part of it was semi-intentional related to my funding, but there were long periods when I just wished certain things could move more quickly forward. Again, though, that all ended positively.

Travel

Aside from traveling around Sweden and the Copenhagen area while coaching Svedala, I got in four volleyball trips in 2015. Most of them were to Germany. The first was to hang out with with Mark Lebedew of At Home on the Court. and his then team Berlin Recycling Volleys (Mark now coaches for Jastrzębski Węgiel in Poland). I got to watch them play their big domestic rivals and a CEV Champions League match.

That was in January. Shortly afterwards, Berlin was selected to host the Champions League Final 4. I went back to watch in late March. Pretty cool experience!

In August I made a return visit to TV Bühl. You may recall I spent about 10 days with them in 2014 as well. This time it was closer to three weeks altogether. They were going through the early stages of their preseason. I used it as a kind of coaching preseason of my own as the trip was right before I had to report to Sweden to start work with Svedala.

The single non-German trip was the one I made back to the States in February to attend the USA Volleyball High Performance Coaches Clinic. That was a really worthwhile experience. I came back with a lot of things to think about – and write about, as you may have noticed. Unfortunately, I can’t go again this year. The Svedala schedule is quite full for January and February. I’d do it in a heartbeat if I could, though!

I did contemplate going to the AVCA convention last month. In the end, though, it would have been a really tight thing to schedule. Plus it would have put a strain on the budget.

New Project

Alongside finishing my degree and starting a new coaching job, I also began the Volleyball Coaching Wizards project with Mark Lebedew. That has been a really cool new adventure. Yes, it’s been a TON of work! It’s also, however, given me the chance to connect and talk with some really great coaches. We’ve done something like 25 interviews so far, with many, many more folks on the list for future conversations. What’s been really interesting is that the coaches we’ve interviewed are some of the biggest supporters of the project. They all thinks it’s a great idea!

The Blog

Coaching Volleyball crushed it in 2015. It’s as simple as that!

The blog had more than twice as many visitors and page views than it had in 2014 – nearly 60,000 and 130,000 respectively. December, which has normally been one of the quieter months in terms of traffic, saw four days of over 1000 pages views thanks largely to the Rules for coaching volleyball from John Kessel post [with a little help from Volleyball calendar girls (and boys) on one of those days]. The “rules” piece seems to have gone viral on Facebook. Before that one went up, the highest single day for pages views was in the 800s, I believe.

Here’s where the visitors came from.

CoachingVB-2015-Geo

The king of page views for 2015 is the Volleyball Try-Out Drill Ideas post, though. That one garnered over 13,000 looks. Not surprisingly, they were clustered mainly around the start of the school season and the Juniors club season. As such, it was responsible for establishing a new monthly high readership of over 21,000 views in August.

It may not come as any surprise that search engine traffic was the largest contributor to page views given all the interest in the try-out post. Facebook was a distant second. Interestingly, nearly five times as much readership came from there than from Twitter. This is despite the blog having basically the same number of followers on both platforms.

Magazine articles

For a while now the folks at the AVCA have pulled selected posts from the blog to include in the Coaching Volleyball 2.0 online magazine. In 2015, though, I finally got into the main flagship Coaching Volleyball magazine with the first in a series of articles about my experience coaching overseas. I’ve already written a second that should be included in the next issue, though they could use it (and the others to follow) on one of their other platforms.

Looking forward

Honestly, I have no idea where 2016 is going to take me!

With any luck, it will involve a bunch of winning with my Svedala team. Our first shot at hardware (at least in the regular season) is coming up next weekend. We’re the top seed for the 4-team Gran Prix tournament. The club won two years ago, so we’re looking to repeat. After that, it will be all about going for Svedala’s first Elitserie championship. You can keep track of our progress via my coaching log.

Of course, work on the Volleyball Coaching Wizards project will continue. Aside from the interviews themselves, the podcast is something Mark and I have fun doing. It gives us a chance to talk about all the interesting stuff we’re hearing from the Wizards.

The huge number of page views for the try-out drill ideas page makes it pretty clear that there’s a lot of demand for information and ideas on that subject. One of my plans for the new year is to develop something – maybe a mini course – to help folks out there. I’d wanted to do it in 2015, but never seemed to get around to it.

Beyond that, who knows? I’m only on a 1-season contract at Svedala, so at some point I’ll have a decision to make about my future in coaching. At the same time I have a bunch of non-volleyball stuff I’m working on as well. I guess we’ll see where it all takes me! 🙂

A young coach learns about ego and other things

Long-time experienced coaches can sometimes struggle to remember what it was like when we were rookie coaches. Yes, you can (and should) retain that desire to keep learning and improving. It’s hard sometimes to remember those early days when we were a clean slate, though. Well, at least a cleaner one. Their own playing experiences influence all coaches, along with what they saw before they began coaching.

That’s why it’s interesting to read the Life of a Coach blog. In it, a relatively young coach named Lauren documented her experience and what was on her mind. Her first entry was on the subject of ego, In it Lauren shared the lesson she learned that as coaches our internal value shouldn’t be determined strictly by whether our teams win or lose.

I say internal, because inevitably people on the outside will judge us by wins, championships, and the like. There’s not much we can really do about that.

Lauren posted pieces on her motivation for coaching and dealing with playing time, among other things. She even has a rant about the modern generation of athletes. That seems obligatory on coaching blogs these days. 🙂

Coaching Volleyball turns 2

Happy Birthday Coaching Volleyball!

On this date in 2013 the very first post on the blog titled Welcome to Coaching Volleyball! went up. Looking back at it now, in some ways the motivation for the site was quite ambitious. In other ways, though, it was perhaps narrower in scope than it could have been. Certainly the readership has gone well beyond England!

It’s funny for me to think that it’s only been two years since that first post. Seems like ages ago now. There have been over 40,000 visitors to the site in that time, resulting in north of 115,000 page views. The first full month of the blog, July 2013, there were fewer than 500 page views. In 2015 so far there hasn’t been a month with fewer than 5800 pages views.

The site set a new record on June 13th when I came just short of reaching 1000 views in a day, main thanks to the purpose of defense post. Amazingly, that came on a Saturday, which tends to be the lowest traffic day of the week. The prior peak was back on February 12th, with the focus then in my review of the High Performance Coaches Clinic.

The fun part of how the blog has grown and developed is going to all kinds of different places and having people tell me they read it. Many of them are, as you might expect, developing coaches. Others, though, are vastly experienced with Hall of Fame credentials. That is always surprising and amazing to hear.

On a related note, the blog has also allowed me to do a lot of things I might not have been able to do before. Most significantly, perhaps, it helped me develop connections in European professional volleyball which allowed me to spend time with three German Bundesliga teams at different points, and eventually resulted in me landing my own job coaching at the professional level.

And of course the Volleyball Coaching Wizards project almost certainly would never have developed had I not started Coaching Volleyball just two short years ago.

Coming up with new topic ideas

What’s one of the big challenges of being a volleyball coaching blogger?

It’s remembering to write about subjects that may not currently be of much specific interest to you. Specifically, topics which others out there are very much interested in learning about and/or discussing. I sometimes have to make a conscious effort.

There are times when I churn out post after post, article after article. That’s usually motivated by one of two things. The first is the challenges I’m actually experiencing as a coach myself at the time. This is really easy stuff to write about. It also tends to be on topics a great many readers can easily relate to because we all tend to have a fairly comment set of issues we deal with regularly. This is something I wrote about in Being reminded of the coaching similarities.

The second thing that helps stimulate lots of blog posts is coaching education. The HP clinic I attended in February 2015 was a fantastic source of motivation and inspiration (and lots of readership!). There are also things like the books I reviewed, and the Volleyball England certification I did.

Of course the Volleyball Coaching Wizards interviews I do provide all sorts of thoughts and ideas..

Sometimes it’s a bit of a grind to come up with ideas, though. As writers do, once in a while I hit a bit of a dry patch. That’s when I need other sources of ideas and inspiration. Reader questions help a lot in those times, though the nature of things is they tend to come in during the season when ideas are easiest to generate.

Still, from time to time I need to remember what it was like to be a developing coach and bring back subjects that I haven’t thought about personally in a while. If I forget to do that, don’t hesitate to give me a poke. 🙂

500 Volleyball Coaching Blog Posts and Counting!

As of right now this little volleyball coaching blog has reached the 500 post mark. I can’t help but to shake my head at that. What started in the Summer of 2013 as a way for me to share information and insights with volleyball coaches in the South West part of England where I’ve been based the last 2.5 years has turned into a kind of global brand.

The crossed the 100,000 lifetime page view threshold a week ago. That’s nothing compared to the 1,000,000 views Vinny’s gotten at Off the Block, but his site is much more news oriented with higher post volume and a broader audience (and has been around twice as long). The Coaching Volleyball Facebook page has over 300 likes and the Twitter feed @CoachingVB is almost to 500 followers. Literally thousands of coaches come to the site each month, which is pretty cool – and that’s with no major promotional efforts.

What is perhaps even more satisfying is that content from the blog regularly gets used in other places. The AVCA Coaching Volleyball 2.0 digital magazine is probably the most prominent, but there have been a few others, and I’ve had requests to extend things even further than that.

Here are some of the most viewed posts to-date:

I don’t have plans to stop any time soon. If anything, projects like Volleyball Coaching Wizards will probably only serve to give me more to think and write about!

Coaching Volleyball 2014 look back

About this time last year I wrote a post detailing how things went for the blog in 2013. At that point there had been around 4600 visitors and 14,000 page views. The tally for 2014 in contrast, was over 22,500 visitors and more than 61,500 page views. I’d call that a good year-over-year improvement, even considering the blog was only active for about half of 2013.

Visitors continue to come to this site from all over the world, though the US remains the clear leader, which comes as no surprise.

VisitorMap-Jan15The vast majority of visits and page views to the site come from search engines. It will probably come as no surprise that social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are the next largest sources of incoming visits. Among the other places visitors reach this website from the list includes Coaching Volleyball 2.0 magazine (via zmags.com), VolleyTalk, Coach Rey, Volleyblog and Volleywood.

Here are the 10 most viewed pages, not counting the home page:

  1. Volleyball Try-Out Drill Ideas
  2. Volleyball Conditioning – A Sample Program
  3. Drill: Run Serve Receive
  4. Are your warm-ups wasting valuable time?
  5. Volleyball Set Diagram
  6. Game: Bingo-Bango-Bongo
  7. Scoring Serving and Passing Effectiveness
  8. Game: Winners (a.k.a. King/Queen of the court)
  9. Drill: Passing Triplets
  10. Planning your volleyball strength and conditioning training

All of those posts are actually ones I wrote in 2013, which comes as no real surprise since they’ve had more time to attract visitors. In terms of posts written in 2014, here are the ones that have received the most attention:

  1. Game: Neville Pepper
  2. Game: 7-point Rotations
  3. Setter Training: Hand Position
  4. Common violations of defensive principles
  5. The qualities of a good team captain
  6. Volleyball player efficiency ratings
  7. Book Review: Thinking Volleyball by Mike Hebert
  8. Washing to increase scrimmage intensity
  9. On the question of punishment in volleyball training
  10. Reader Question – Developing a 3-Middle Hitter Scheme

One of the most rewarding aspects to this year’s growth in the blog has been the increase in visitors sharing their thoughts via comments and creating some interesting discussions. These posts, in particular, were good ones in that regard:

Here’s hoping 2015 continues to see the interest and attention given to this blog grow and expand. I will certainly be doing my best to keep writing useful, interesting, and thought-provoking to that end.

 

Four hundred posts and counting!

Friday’s entry in the Coaching Log series marked the 400th post in this blog’s history, which goes back to June 2013. It still amazes me at times how much interest and readership the site has garnered. As I write this there have been nearly 25,000 users and almost 70,000 page views. Content from the blog has been used in the AVCA’s Coaching Volleyball 2.0 magazine on three separate occasions, and the site was a big part in my developing contacts in professional volleyball and elsewhere. Not bad for something that started off to be a resource for volleyball coaches in the South West of England!

The 10 most viewed individual posts to this point in the site’s history are:

  1. Volleyball Try-Out Drill Ideas
  2. Volleyball Conditioning – A Sample Program
  3. Drill: Run Serve Receive
  4. Are your warm-ups wasting valuable time?
  5. Volleyball Set Diagram
  6. Game: Bingo-Bango-Bongo
  7. Scoring Serving and Passing Effectiveness
  8. Planning your volleyball strength and conditioning training
  9. Game: Winners (a.k.a. King/Queen of the court)
  10. Drill: Passing Triplets

It’s worth noting that both of the first two posts, have actually each received more visits than the site’s home page thanks to how often they bring in visitors from Google, etc.

Happily, several posts have generated some interesting exchanges via the comment section. They include:

Hopefully I can continue to write stuff that people find interesting, thought-provoking, and/or useful.