This past Saturday was the first time since arriving in Svedala that I actually had that particular day of the week off from volleyball. Well, sort of. I did spend about 2 hours with one of my players working on a recruiting video for her to send to US college coaches. This was the first time we didn’t have training, a match, or some other team activity, though.

What I did have was a social evening with some of the players’ parents and others It began with dinner and ended with us all listening to a cover band at a local bar. Bar is not actually the right term, but it’s close enough. I don’t feel like taking the time to try to explain how it really works in Sweden. If I even really understand it myself. Anyway.

I honestly can’t remember doing something like that with any prior group of parents. There is almost never any alcohol at social events where college volleyball is concerned in the States. And in terms of my Juniors level work, I don’t recall ever being in social situations with the parents.

The experience had me thinking at different points about where I need to place the “professionalism” line in those sorts of situations. We had the conversation at the start of the season with the players about representing the club and living in a small town – how word of public behavior quickly gets around. The same is true for the coach, of course. I cannot hold myself to a different standard than I would the players.

There were any number of interesting conversations during the evening. From a volleyball coaching perspective, though, the most interesting was one I had with the parent. Her daughter is actually at the national academy (RIG). She has apparently attended one or more of my training sessions, and was commenting on how differently I run things than my predecessor. She’s not the first to say so, but might be the first to actually question me on some things. It wasn’t really a challenge so much as an intense questioning.

Basically, it was a discussion of my coaching philosophy. I find that it’s always an interesting experience trying to verbalize things, especially to someone who isn’t a coach. One of the questions she asked was what I thought was my coaching strength. It was kind of like being interviewed. 🙂

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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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