Below is a video from Art of Coaching that I think is worth a quick watch – particularly the first half of it. But try to go into it with any preconception the title might suggest because I’m going to take things in a direction I don’t think was intended.

I have my doubts about applying this tempo concept to all skills. That’s a separate topic for another day, perhaps. Where I definitely see some specific value to its use is in giving players external/extrinsic cues and feedback. This is most notable in her blocking example.

I outlined the external/extrinsic feedback idea here. Basically, it’s about shifting the player’s focus away from the specific elements of what their body is doing (e.g. elbow back). That’s called an internal or intrinsic focus. Research indicates that kind of feedback isn’t as effective. Our challenge as coaches is changing our language to make our instruction and feedback less internal and more external. This tempo idea is an example of that.

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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.

Please share your own ideas and opinions.