In an interview (link no longer available), former German Men’s National Team Coach (and Volleyball Coaching Wizards interviewee) Vital Heynen shared the process which saw him hired to that position. He shared the coaching philosophy he expressed to the committee. It was essentially the opposite of the one of the coach who proceeded him. This made me think of the numerous cases of “away from” motivations we can see in hiring processes. And in other aspects of things, for that matter.

There are two basic forms of motivation. One is “toward”, which is when there is something we want and we act to try to get it. The other is “away from”. That’s the, “I know what I don’t want”, or potentially fear-based, motivation.

Away-from motivation sometimes comes up when a team has had a certain type of manager or coach. For example, some coaches/managers are considered “players” coaches while others are viewed as more disciplinarian. When club ownership feels things aren’t going in the right direction, oftentimes they replace one style of coach with the other.

I’ve seen a similar sort of thing happen with players. My last year at Brown the team established some clearly away-from team rules based on things they didn’t like the previous year. The result was a shift from basically one extreme to another, which in my experience tends not to work out all that great.

In the case of the hiring of a manager/coach who is the opposite of the one before, it might work in the short-term. Over the long run, though, it’s a dubious prospect. In fact, the change in the team’s performance may have little to do with the personality and/or philosophy of the new coach.

Just something to consider when you find yourself not liking some aspect of things.

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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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