Here’s a book I came across kind of randomly one day. The Set Point – Securing the future of volleyball is, broadly speaking, a book about the development of Volleyball Nations League by the FIVB. This is definitely something more for those with at least some interest in the business side of the sport. If that’s you – like me – then I think you’ll want to give it a read.

That said, I wouldn’t call it a quick, easy read. The book comes off a series of essays rather than one straight narrative. And you can tell that it has multiple different authors involved. There’s a lot of discussion of survey data and concepts related to social media, marketing, fan engagement, etc.

Here are some quotes to give you a flavor of how things are framed.

About the sport:

Volleyball is unique and different from other ball sports. There is no physical contact with the opponents, and the principal aim is to develop tactics while the ball is flying in the open air. Often, the speed on the ball is higher than 100km per hour. The receiving team must work quickly on its game plan, utilise the technical skills, work on the speed and accuracy while the opponents are preparing for their block. “Volleyball is about synchronising so many different elements of the game in seconds, but the elegance and gracefulness of the game always allow for something new, some extraordinary actions that you didn´t expect. In volleyball, you can also see the meaning of teamwork as each player is a part of a chain where the individual efforts are always a part of a bigger picture.

About where volleyball is at in terms of its development from a business perspective:

It is true that, today, volleyball can take advantage of being a slow starter, learning from others’ mistakes and, consequently, racing to the top, but the lack of a business culture firmly established during the last decades held back innovation. This is the challenge ahead of the FIVB and Volleyball World.

On the needs the FIVB identified at the time:

(1) no organisation, whether not-for-profit or otherwise, can deliver on its goals without achieving financial sustainability; (2) volleyball was lagging behind in supplying digital solutions; (3) as a sports event, volleyball had to become entertaining; and (4) the FIVB had to be financially sustainable by 2024

As I said, this book’s worth reading for those with an interest the more economic/business side of our sport. There’s some data in there that might grab your attention. You may even come away with some ideas of your own on how to move things forward.

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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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