You help fill in perception gaps, but you also have them

A little while back Mark Lebedew presented a quote by the Duke of Wellington by way of making the case that no matter the situation we never fully remember nor are even aware of all the events of a match (or any other event, for that matter). Nor does anyone else. As a result, it’s important to gather information from as many different perspectives as possible, and from objective sources like video and stats (keeping in mind that they too have their limits).

Think of this from the perspective of your role as coach. We volleyball coaches are largely external viewers of events. Yes, we are active participants in some ways, but our influence on actual play once the whistle blows is relatively limited. That means we are mainly in the role of being supposed objective examiners who are there to provide feedback and guidance to the athletes. A big part of that is to provide our players with information from outside their scope of view and recall. We can do that by sharing what we see, showing them video, providing them with the relevant stats, etc.

An important part of this process is understanding each individual. They all have their own scope of vision, primary methods of information acquisition, and filters. For example, some players fixate on their errors. One of our coaching roles in that kind of situation is the make sure they also acknowledge their successes. You could say we help them with awareness of their blind spots and the important information they may not be either collecting or weighting properly.

We need to be thinking about things for ourselves along a similar line. Unfortunately, coaches often don’t have coaches of their own to help in the process.

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.

One comment

  1. Rita Fernandes says:

    I have added something that has been a concern. The information transmission method must be assessed individually. Players have different ways to perceive and absorb the information.

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