When you coach a volleyball match, do you sit on the bench or stand on the sideline? One need not spend much time watching volleyball to see that coaches are split on which way they go. Some high profile coaches sit on the bench. Others stand fairly calmly. Still others prowl up and down the sideline like a caged animal. So which are you?

I have gone both ways myself. At times I haven’t had much choice. What passes for benches in gyms (sports halls) in England are so low to the ground as make my knees creak just looking at them, so it was definitely a standing situation then. If my back is aching or something else is hurting I’ll have to sit. Even then it may only be if the match is of a low intensity variety. Otherwise, I might still be on my feet. And it can depend on the team.

For me, standing is something that really started in earnest when I was coaching at Brown. At one point I decided to stand at the end of the bench with the substitutes so I could get a better viewing angle. It had a side benefit as well. I found that just the little movements back and forth I made while in that position tended to help bleed away some of the tension and stress I felt during a match (fitness is important for coaches too). The head coach actually remarked on this at one point.

These days, I’m probably more generally mellow during matches. I don’t know if being able to move a bit has as much of a physiological effect as it did before. At this point, being on my feet is more about being better able to see the action and be a little more connected with the team on the floor.

So what do you favor – standing or sitting?

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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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