Terry Pettit, who I interviewed for Volleyball Coaching Wizards, posted a list of Ten Behaviors for Better Coaching in a coaching group post. Here’s the quick version of the list:

  1. Limit the amount of talking you do in a practice with the use of keywords.
  2. Leave sarcasm at the gym door.
  3. If you ask a player to focus on something specific, make sure your feedback focuses on that thing.
  4. Before you get upset with a player for failure to do something (e.g. closing the block), as yourself whether you’ve taught that player all the things they need in order to succeed.
  5. Encourage communication with every contact of the ball.
  6. Energy is the hardest thing for a coach to bring to practice every day.
  7. We have to train decisions as well as fundamentals.
  8. Getting the right people on the court in the right position may be the most important factor in a team’s success.
  9. We may have to teach some of our players how to compete.
  10. Consider keeping a coaching journal.

I’m going to take a bit of issue with #5, especially when it comes to verbal communication. Beyond that, I basically agree with Terry on all these points. I’ve written about the desirability of coaches talking less (#1) and how deciding who’s on the court and where (#8) is one of the two biggest jobs of the coach. The idea of being consistent as a coach (#6) was a particular feature of the Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview with Stelio DeRocco.

The teaching players to compete concept is something I had a podcast conversation about with Tim Alaniz. It’s an interesting subject, and also part of the Long-term Athlete Development (LTAD) structure.

As for #10, I started doing that when I was coaching in Exeter in 2013. Because this is a public space, there are things I don’t share, though. Terry’s journaling suggestion is for something a bit more personal where you can go a deeper with personal reflections.

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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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