In the You might be surprised if you give them a chance post I referenced an email I received from a coach who visited the site. This was a coach who worked in a disadvantaged area. That post could potentially be interpreted as picking on that individual, so I sent them an email to make sure they knew I wasn’t specifically singling them out. Rather, the post was the result of a couple of different things coming together. The reply I got was the sort I think we all should have when presented with something potentially critical of our coaching.

Thanks for the warning!!!  I may indeed have responded defensively if you hadn’t!  Maybe not as I have a sense of where you are coming from – but better safe than lose someone!

And I agree with you!  So many of the problems we face are direct result of low expectations of girls from parents, school, and community.  And it is huge.  I need to be ultra vigilant of my own expectations and message!  I hear “Can’t” as “Won’t try” or “Never’.  They need to hear me believe that they are capable of getting better every day.  While I could say that what I really meant was we don’t do some higher leverage things well enough yet – what I said was “Can’t”.  At some level that reflects a letdown in my own values.  I will keep working on it!

This has unlocked a flood of thoughts about clarifying my philosophy, priorities and approach to the program.  You have shown me that I am holding us back by not introducing that philosophy of play from the first time they walk through the door.  Or earlier!

Far from being angry – I am very grateful for you pushing the right button!!

This sort of thing is exactly why I developed the blog and enjoy writing it. Hopefully someone like the coach I kind of picked on in this post has a similar type of reaction! 🙂

The point is, criticism can be extremely valuable to us all – at least the constructive kind. Not only should we be accepting of it, we should even consider actively seeking it out.

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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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