Here’s my update on the content I took in during the second day of the convention. See yesterday’s post for the Day 1 recap.

Training Tempo for Setters

The Illinois coaching staff presented this first session of the day. It was a court session live-stream. One of the interesting thing Chris Tamas, the head coach, said was that he doesn’t fixate a lot on the mechanical minutia because he’s seen great setters do lots of different things. This ties in with comments he made later in regards to extrinsic vs. intrinsic feedback (though he didn’t use those terms).

So You Think You Can Coach 14U? Successful Practice/Game Design to Accelerate Improvement for Your Players

I’ll admit the title of this one didn’t really excite me. I don’t coach 14s, and I probably won’t do so any time soon. That said, there wasn’t anything else going on, so why not? Plus, given the results of my survey, I figured it was worth hearing what people are teaching. The Oregon Tech head coach presented this one. This too was a live presentation, though in a seminar room rather than on-court.

This is definitely a session that would have been interesting to attend in-person. There was a lot of audience interaction. Unfortunately, the audience wasn’t really audible on the stream. So when you had Tod Mattox sharing his perspective on teaching 3 contact play – which I’m familiar with – you couldn’t really hear it.

Learning Lab

Next on the schedule was another learning lab. This time Giovanni Guidetti ran things, but with no specific topic. The title was literally “Ask Me Anything”. I asked him how he saw the difference between tournament and regular season coaching. Someone else asked what he found American players lacking when then came to the professional game. Another asked how he trained serve reception, and part of his answer included a serving & passing game I thought was interesting. I will go back over the video when I get a chance to make sure I have the scoring correct, then post it.

Once more, I couldn’t stick around for the whole session. I had another recruiting call to do. And the follow-up to that call kept me from checking out the next round of content. The session I wanted to see was one on blocking by John Speraw. I’ll have to circle back for it later.

Learning Lab: How to Succeed with Limited Resources

Next up was another learning lab. The head coach from Western Carolina did this one. They’re a solid program in the same general region as Radford. It was a pretty good discussion of ways to be more efficient, raise money, get donations, etc.

A Comprehensive Look at Developing Effective Side-out Concepts

This was the last time slot of the day. The presenter was Chris Gonzalez, who is currently head coach at Idaho. He’s been involved as an assistant at some pretty good programs and spent some time coaching overseas at about the same time I did. In my experience, he’s a pretty high level volleyball thinker, which is what motivated me to check out this session.

This is another one streamed from the in-person event. Chris based it on his work coaching in Japan. The challenge in this presentation was that he used a PowerPoint a lot, with diagrams and stuff. Not all of it was easy to see as the camera wasn’t zoomed in just on that. In other words, I needed a bigger screen. Still Chris brought up some interesting things to think about.


Before the convention started I, of course, looked at the session schedule. I noticed that quite often there were sessions set up in the same time slot that would force me to make a decision on what to watch live. It wasn’t until today, though, that I realized there was a slider in the online platform for the time slots with multiple offerings. In other words, yesterday and this morning I was just attending whatever session showed on the front page. No real harm, of course. I can go back and watch the rest. One of those things that makes you feel foolish, though.

Next up, Day 3!

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

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