Developed by The National Alliance For Youth Sports Coaching Volleyball for Dummies is a book I read entirely for review purposes. They specifically targeted it toward new coaches. Needless to say, I don’t fit that category. Some readers of this blog do, however.

I should note that I twice worked in an editorial role on Dummies books. They were in finance, though.

I have decidedly mixed feelings on this book.

On the one hand, there is a fair bit of content you don’t often find in other places. I’m talking about the more organizational elements of coaching that I think new coaches could find very useful. Think of stuff like being organized, dealing with parents, playing time issues, etc. The things that happen primarily away from the court.

For me, the wheels come off (explosively in some cases) when the focus shifts to the actual volleyball. There’s lots of talk about warm-up stretching, which you may know I have issues with. At one point the text outlines a 1-hour practice plan that only includes 25 minutes of the ball actually going over the net. And most of that is serve and pass. The terminology is a bit strange in places, and there are definitely some points where rules come in question. But the fact that the book came out in 2009 likely is a factor there.

I think if I am to recommend this book it would be similar to how some professors use college textbooks. Just go over certain chapters – in this case the ones with a more off-court focus. Unless someone is entirely new to the sport, though, I struggle to see the value in the rest. And even then I see it as a quick primer rather than a proper resource. Too much stuff that is either dubious or I would flat out reject. Better to get that information from other sources.

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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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