Back when COVID-19 driven stay-at-home recommendations/orders were really starting to take hold in the US in the latter part of March I went a little crazy. I decided to take on a major new project – something I dubbed Coaching Conversations. I probably needed the additional work like I needed a hole in the head, but I went through with it anyway.

For a little while I’d been thinking about creating something around the online conversation/webinar structure. I wasn’t sure exactly what form that would take, though.

I guess what you could say I ended up doing is giving coaches a chance to talk shop, since we can’t do it face-to-face at the moment. That’s where the “Conversation” concept came from.

Today, as I write this, I’m one month out from the first of those sessions. That was a conversation between Spanish professional coach Miguel Rivera and long-time pro and national team coach Mark Lebedew on the subject of match preparation. It was a great start to the series, which now counts nearly 30 total Conversations. I’ve got nothing but positive reactions to the series, so people clearly are getting value from it.

You can find all the Conversation recordings posted on my Patreon page. New recordings are available only to Patrons for the first week. After that, they go fully public.

For those who are not aware, Patrons are people who support a project or content creator via the Patreon platform in the form of small monthly or per-publication contributions. I don’t have any sponsors and there’s no advertising on these Conversations. That means Patrons are the only source of income for me from this project. As a thank you for their support, they get some extra benefits, like exclusive content.

Fortunately, for my heath and sanity, the pace of things with the Conversations has slowed down a bit. The first couple weeks I was often doing two – and once three – sessions a day. It was exhausting!

I’m still doing multiple talks per week, but not at the earlier frenetic pace. Good thing too! I’ve got other stuff I need to work on.

How long things will go on like this is uncertain. We’d all love to be back to regular coaching, but who knows when that will actually happen. There’s a lot of uncertainty. My feeling is that when things do eventually normalize I’ll go to something like a once-per-week schedule for these Conversations. Think of a podcast type of situation.

For the time being, though, I’ll keep hosting these Conversations as interesting discussion topics come up and coaches keep wanting to 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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