This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log.

Had a bit of a surprise in terms of numbers at training last night – 17 total, including a new prospect for the second team group. A couple of players who have been carrying injuries were unexpectedly in the group, along with all but one of the players we will lose at the end of the term when their exchange stays end. That caused some quick thinking about what to do on the day.

The idea going in was to focus on skill work, but with so many bodies in such a small space, I had to adjust a bit. We did some ball-handling at the start, then some serving. I then split the the court and had one side doing the Continuous Cross-Court Digging drill while the other was working on setting from ball passes, combined with good hitter transition and footwork.

I was involved in the hitting for the digging drill while having an assistant working on the other side, so I don’t really know how the setting stuff went beyond some comments from the team captain based on her short stint over there before coming over to dig. In terms of the digging, it could have been better – especially in the overpass area. My big frustration, though, was poor ball circulation among the players not in the drill and I used that to make a coaching point about the need to always be switched on – which ties back in with the observation I made from Saturday’s play.

The last half hour of training was Winners 4s. I was quite pleased by the hitting from a couple of the players – though frustrated about the lack of seeing those swings two days back! I took the opportunity a couple of times to make broad points – particularly on digging technique – while also being able to pull individuals aside to make specific comments.

At the end during the meeting with the players I told them of my intention to raise the challenge level because their improved play demands it. The reaction seemed positive and at the times during the session when I raised my voice they looked to have accepted it. Getting them fully switched on all the time clearly is going to have to be a major training focal point moving forward, so I’ll need to give some thought to how I can do that effectively.

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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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