Three weeks in professional volleyball

I am back in England now. I returned the other day from my August sojourn into the realm of professional volleyball in Germany.

First of all, I need to offer thanks to Ruben at TV Bühl and Alberto at SC Potsdam . I appreciate their being so open and hospitable. They let me spend time with them, their coaching staffs, and their teams during pre-season preparations for the 2014-15 campaign. Not only did they house me and allow me to observe, but they included me in the training sessions and evaluation aspects of things. The experience wasn’t just me sitting on the sidelines watching, but rather one of active participation.

I need to additionally thank Mark at BR Volleys, and At Home on the Court. He provided my first exposure to pro volleyball back in April. He also made the contacts that let me spend the last few weeks gaining a deeper perspective. And he brought me along for a day in Poland. I got to take in my first ever major international competition matches at Men’s World Championships.

I had a talk with Ruben near the end of my stay. He expressed the hope that I saw some new stuff during my time with him and his staff. My honest response was that in this sort of situation it isn’t necessarily just about “new”. Sometimes it’s a question of being reminded of stuff you already learned along the way, seeing things from a different perspective, and/or having your own ideas validated. The latter is something I discussed last year when talking about my time with collegiate teams in Southern California and this time around in terms of warm-ups.

Of course, just the chance to work with professional volleyball teams was new for me. The pro game gets very little exposure in the States, so my three weeks in Germany was as much about getting a better understanding of that aspect of the sport as anything else.

I’ve written three posts with my impressions of the difference and similarities between the NCAA Division I collegiate structure in the US and the European professional system on the basis of schedule, resources, and coaching careers. Hopefully you find them useful and/or interesting.

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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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