This was a busy one!
It started with me attending a combined international discussion. The first half focused on the professional game. Two of the attendees for this part represented the VLA and the NVA. Those are the two fledgling groups trying to build professional leagues in the US. There was also a gentleman from Poland who talked about how volleyball over there has become so big. Another panelist talked about some of the challenges at the European and global level.
The second half was about youth development. We talked about different systems of youth development from various places. A Chinese gold medalist was there to talk about their system. The challenges of shifting to more of a mini-volleyball concept (playing less than 6 v 6 for younger kids) in the US was brought up. The big push-back cited for why it doesn’t happen is parents wanting kids to play “the real game”. Parents don’t seem to have this problem in much of the rest of the world, though!
The plan was for this combined session to last 90 minutes. It went well beyond that, however! I had to leave after about 2.5 hours so I could get ready for my own presentation. It was an interesting session, though. Doug Beal kind of moderated things.
My presentation was in one of the bigger rooms. Turns out that was a good thing. Pretty full house!
Things seemed to go well. This despite the fact that I forgot my presentation notes in my hotel room! That was a bit of a panic realization. I was able to quickly rewrite them, though. This is why we go through out presentations ahead of time!
From my talk I went straight into a session on blocking by Davide Mazzanti. He’s the Italian Women’s National Team coach. It was a Coach-the-Coach session, which I believe is something new for this year’s convention. These are smaller group sessions you had to sign-up for in advance. This one was titled Blocking Systems and Strategies. Davide basically shared how they do blocking – mainly from a strategic/tactical perspective – and answered a lot of questions. There was a little bit about the more technical aspects of the skill, though.
Next up was on a panel discussion session on rebuilding a program. It was titled Rebuild It and They Will Come: Advice for Rebuilding Your Volleyball Program. The panelists were Kirsten Bernthal Booth (Creighton), Sean Burdette (Memphis), and Derek Schroeder (Mercer). Jeannette Waldo (Tennessee Tech) was the moderator. Basically, they shared their views on different topics of taking over and turning around a program. I thought it was a good discussion, though I don’t think there was much that really hit me. Of course, I’ve been through a rebuild.
The last session of the day was a presentation by a coach agent on contracts and relationship management. It was titled Representation of Coaches: Protecting Yourself and Your Career. The speaker was Garry Rosenfield from Coaches Inc. One of the more interesting points Garry made was about how a contract could seem to be multi-year, but in reality might not be based on certain terms.
After that, it was another round of social interactions. Met up with several more friends and contacts. I started at the International Coaches Reception. It was quite lightly attended, but I did get to talk with John Kessel for a while. From there I moved on to the AVCA Friday Night Party & Coaches Tournament. The former overlapped the latter by about an hour.
All in all, a busy, but productive day. I hit the convention center about 8:15am and left around 7:00pm. My only breaks were the transition times between sessions.
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