This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log for 2014-15.

The final training session of the calendar year featured 12 players. Unfortunately, two starters were among the absentees, which limited the opportunity to prepare for Wednesday’s final match of the term. It was a nice number to do some interesting and fun stuff for training purposes, though.

After dynamic warm-up I started them in 4-person over-the-net pepper, which is essentially like playing a version of cooperative small court doubles with one player at the net and one off (switching each time they put the ball over). At one point I had the two players at the next switch sides to mix up the “teams”, and then I also had one side of the court rotate to mix things further.

From there I have them do a short serving warm-up, and then had them play the amoeba serving game. I put them through five variations. First was full-court. Second was zones 4 & 5. Third was zones 1 & 2. Fourth was short. Fifth was deep. As always, the players had a lot of fun, and it was a tight 3-2 contest.

After serving they played speedball winners. I put them in groups of three with roughly even positional distributions. They played on a narrow court (about 2/3rds width). About halfway through I had two teams switch sides to mix things up.

To conclude I had them play 6 v 6. Because we didn’t have the full first team, and because it was the last session of the term, I created roughly equal teams rather than going A/B. Similar to training last week, the play featured one team serving 3 times, then the receiving team doing 1 minute of scramble. I had them go through all 6 rotations 1-4-6-3-5-2. Predictably, with the mixed teams the play was fairly sloppy, but the intensity and focus was pretty good.

This was my last session with the team. They will play away on Wednesday, but I won’t make the trip because of my PhD demands. Thursday evening is the annual Christmas dinner, which will be the club’s final official activity for the term, and probably my last direct involvement. To the extent that I will be around for the second term I will be fully engaged in getting my dissertation submitted, potentially developing academic papers for publication, working on other projects, and most importantly, trying to find myself a job.

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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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