This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log for the 2020-21 season for both the men and women.

Yesterday was the last day of exams for the first semester here at Medaille. The second term begins in January 26th. Since neither team will report early (the men usually do), it’ll be better than 6 weeks before I’ll see any of the players again.

Of course, that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of work do to between now and then!

Player stuff

I had one of the women’s team members tell me after Thanksgiving that she’s thinking to go entirely remote for second term (she’s out-of-state) and also have hip surgery. Apparently, she was planning to hold off until Summer, but figured she might as well get it done earlier to have maximum recovery for next season. Hard to disagree, though it certainly puts us in a lot of pressure in terms of roster numbers.

Recruiting

We’re coming up on the tuition deposit deadline for Early Action applicants to Medaille. Those are folks who applied before November 1st. Medaille has rolling admissions, so this isn’t about the timing of getting an acceptance, but instead about commitment. Students who come in under Early Action effectively have their net tuition frozen for their four years at the college.

We had four boys and ten girls apply before the deadline, all of whom have been accepted. Two of the boys have told us they’ve decided to go elsewhere and one is planning to hold off a bit longer to make his decision. Four of the girls have already told us they are going somewhere else. At this writing we’re waiting to see if any of the remaining six makes their official commitment. We do have a strong indication from one of them that she plans to do just that.

Aside from the actual work of recruiting, I attended a 4-hour seminar (over two days via zoom) that was part of our department’s recruiting training and consulting arrangement. Lots of good discussion.

Scheduling

It’s kind of funny to be thinking about scheduling for next season when we haven’t even played this one yet (assuming we do). That’s happening, though, on the women’s side. I’ve already committed us to two tournaments in the nearby area, agreed to a couple of midweek non-conference dates, and we’re planning to jointly host one with another local college. I’m told Medaille has never hosted, so this will be new territory for the school. Need to find one more away tournament, and potentially fill a few couple of midweek dates.

Looking more closely in the future, the conference came out with a revised schedule for the men. It starts on March 13th. Aside from pushing us back nearly a month from our normal start date, the other big change is to go to single matches and only one time through the league. Normally, we do a double round-robin which features quads. The conference provided conditional permission for schools to schedule non-conference matches, but I’ve been told that the college decision is to stick to a conference-only slate. That means just 7 regular season matches. The top four teams will play in the conference tournament.

I have not received, as yet, a revised women’s schedule, but one must be coming. The guidelines put in place by the conference for the men by themselves will force one, Plus, there are date conflicts.

Analytics

I was fortunate to get Jeff Liu to do a DataVolley training session for myself and my coaching staff. Jeff is on the USA Women’s staff an an analytics role. I plan on use giving DV a try next term when we actually have some matches (and practices) to breakdown and analyze. Look for the session in an upcoming episode of the podcast.

Looking forward

I don’t plan on posting my next entry until after the holidays. Recruiting work will continue between now and then, but probably not a lot else. And even that will likely be thin in terms of real developments.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Men's & Women's Head Volleyball Coach at Medaille College, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy (formerly Charleston Academy). His previous experience includes the college and university level in the US and UK, professional coaching in Sweden, and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. Learn more on his bio page.

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