Traditionally, the last day of the AVCA Convention isn’t quite as jam-packed with seminars and such. This year was no different. That’s not to say there wasn’t some interesting educational stuff, though.
I attended three sessions.
The first was Incorporating Mental Health Training into Your Season. It was presented by Dan Mickle, who is part of the USA Volleyball CAP Cadre. Dan talked about six elements of mental training you can work into what you do with your players and team over the course of a season (and beyond).
The second session of my day was The Competitive Cauldron: The Power and Perils of Measuring Player Practice Performance. Chris McGown from Gold Medal Squared presented this one. I’ve been to competitive cauldron sessions in the past, on both sides. The late Mike Hebert, in discussion of his book Thinking Volleyball, talked about he and his staff tried it, but simply found it to be too much work for the reward. Basically, Chris said in his own efforts he only uses rally wins as a performance metric for the cauldron. No other stats. He doesn’t use it to decide playing time, only to inform it. He also talked about as much about the challenges of implementing a cauldron as in the operations of one.
The final session of the event for me came from Jamie Morrison. He was most recently the Dutch Women’s National Team coach, and he previously was the USA Women’s assistant coach. Oh, and he also worked with Giovanni Guidetti at Vakifbank. Jamie’s presentation was on Arm Swing and the Jump Float serve. It started off with a discussion of power generation in serving (and hitting), with a bit of talk about elbow position (low is OK, high is not good) and whether the player should follow-through (yes). See more on these topics here. After that it was all about directionality, tempo, ball contact, and aggression. I liked it a lot.
Naturally, I had additional conversations with coaching friends during the day. This is a wind-down day for the event, with vendors in the Exhibit Hall breaking things down and no formal social events scheduled. Interactions end up being more random, but that’s good too!
All in all I had a good time at the convention. Pittsburgh in Winter isn’t for the faint of heart, though!