This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log for 2015-16.

It’s less than a month to go before we start pre-season training at Svedala. The last week has been an interesting one.

The club’s Sports Director posted the full season calendar for everyone to review (though it is subject to some changes still). Along with the league fixtures (see my previous entry on that subject), it includes most of the matches that will be part of what is being called the Öresundsligan. That translates to “Sound League” and includes Svedala, Engelholm, and Gislaved from Sweden along with Amager, Bröndby, and Holte from Denmark. We will count two of our Elitserie league matches each against the other Swedish teams toward the Öresundsligan, and will play each of the Danish teams home and away, which adds 6 matches to the competitive schedule. The Gran Prix, if we qualify, will be the second weekend of January. The final league match will be March 12th, with the playoffs following from there.

Our primary training schedule will be 6-8pm on Monday, 7-10pm on Tuesday, 7:30-10pm on Wednesday, and 5-8pm on Friday, with Thursdays off. We’ll have a couple of Saturday sessions during preseason, and we’ll lose some midweek sessions to matches at times along the way.

We’re looking at playing some preseason friendly matches at a tournament at Bröndby the last weekend of September. The specifics are still being sorted out, though. That’s a week ahead of our first league match, so a good time to get some competition mixed in.

Also on the calendar is a 2-day weekend team building activity the second week of preseason. This is something being arranged by the Sports Director. There is also a 30th anniversary dinner for the club we’ll be attending in October.

Getting to know the players
The young Swedish middle in the squad (who took 2nd in a U19 beach tournament last weekend) has expressed an interest in exploring opportunities in US collegiate volleyball. It’s a bit late in the cycle at this point, but I told her I’d help out with putting together a video, etc. We got together for some video editing last evening.

I met up with last year’s team captain early in the week and had a really good conversation. She’s decided to shift her focus to beach volleyball and to generally cut back her commitment, but expressed an interest in both taking part in training from time to time and in helping out on the coaching side of things. We talked about a lot of different subjects with respect to the club, the area, players, and more. She could be a good resource for me moving forward.

As I mentioned the other day, I went and watched a player-run training session. Only one of this year’s players was there, along with one of last season’s (she’s moving). The rest were from other teams in the club. In the process, I met one of the club’s youth team coaches.

Speaking of other coaches from the club, I also got a bit of a tour around Malmö from the club’s 2nd team coach, who also works with Juniors players. Malmö is the closest city to Svedala. It’s only about 20 minutes away. Unfortunately, we had a car issue and had to be towed back. 🙂

Filling out the squad
I was told that a player I liked for the remaining foreigner spot (OH) is both available and interested. Hopefully, that means we can sign her and get that part of things wrapped up. The last word I got is we’re close.

In terms of the Swedish players, there are still a few open questions. It looks like that could remain the case right into preseason. There’s at least one player I’ve been told is looking to come along to the early trainings and see how things go. It could be more than that. There’s also a couple of other players the club is talking with.

Away for three
That’s just about it for this initial spell in Sweden. On Sunday I head to Germany to spend almost three weeks with Bundesliga men’s team TV Bühl. That’s in southern Germany near Baden-Baden, and not far from the French city of Strasbourg and the Swiss border. You may recall that I spent about a week and a half with them last year at this time. I’m looking at it as a kind of coaching preseason before I get started with Svedala.

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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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