Back in 2016, while I was waiting for my hiring to become official at Midwestern State I had an email exchange with a coaching contact in Germany. In it I made the comment that I was ready for my vacation to end. He laughed that he couldn’t imagine anyone in their right mind would want a holiday in Southern California to come to an end (it was basically middle 70sF/20sC and sunny every day, some days warmer). He was probably right, but I was ready to get on to whatever came next. It had been a month of relative inactivity, which was long enough.

Of course, I wasn’t exactly doing nothing. I was active in the job market. I’d also conducted several interviews for Volleyball Coaching Wizards. In fact, just the night before I interviewed Terry Pettit, legendary Nebraska coach. The Wizards work kept me in developmental mode. Oh, and I got out to watch a men’s college match.

I’ve written before about the value of watching other coaches in action in terms of helping to affirm what you’re doing. Obviously, that’s great for learning new stuff and gaining a different perspective on things. It’s highly recommended.

For me – and I suspect my Wizards project partner Mark Lebedew would agree – conducting those interviews served a similar role. Some of them got me thinking about things in a different way. Some of them gave me ideas for ways of dealing with different situations. Others helped to affirm my coaching philosophy.

A common recommendation from the Wizards to developing coaches is to be a sponge. During my time away from coaching that’s exactly what I was doing.

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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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