Here’s a quick observation I made while hanging out with pro teams in Germany.

It is amazing how much of coaching volleyball is similar no matter what level you’re working at. I had very similar observations about the professional players I watched as I had with the university players I coached in England at that time. In some cases it was a technical issue. In other cases it was about the decision-making process or what we could call game management.

This isn’t a new observation. I can remember thinking similar thoughts years back while watching Penn State play. It’s nice to have the reminder, though.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying coaching the pros is just like coaching a university team in England. There are a lot of different considerations involved. Actually, in some ways it’s easier to work with the pros because the margin for error in their play is much larger than with less experienced, less talented, and generally smaller players. That, though, just means other things play a bigger part in the coaching process.

The bottom line is that we all have our challenges as coaches. They may shade differently in one direction or another depending on the level of play, and in some cases by gender, but it still boils down to something fairly simple. We have to identify and prioritize the things we need to work on to make our team and individual players the best they can be while we have them.

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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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