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:
- Limit the amount of talking you do in a practice with the use of keywords.
- Leave sarcasm at the gym door.
- If you ask a player to focus on something specific, make sure your feedback focuses on that thing.
- 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.
- Encourage communication with every contact of the ball.
- Energy is the hardest thing for a coach to bring to practice every day.
- We have to train decisions as well as fundamentals.
- Getting the right people on the court in the right position may be the most important factor in a team’s success.
- We may have to teach some of our players how to compete.
- 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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