This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log.

There were a couple of things I wanted to get out of this training. First, I wanted it to be physically demanding with a fairly high tempo either individually or for the group collectively. Second, I wanted to bring both blocking and individual digging into the fold since we didn’t do that last training. Lastly, I wanted to get in a bit of technical work on hitting and take some video for players to reference.

Tardiness was an issue last term that we addressed in the meeting on Monday. Everyone was in the gym on time for the session, but a couple weren’t dressed and ready to go, so after the team went through their dynamic warm-up I had them do 2 minutes worth of calisthenics as reinforcement of the new policy.

From there I had them pair up at the net with one partner playing the attacker and one the blocker. The latter worked on properly fronting their attacker while the former worked on good approaches. Some of the players approach too square to the net, so I make it a focus for them to make sure their hips are open.

After the blocking I had them do over-the-net pepper in groups of 3 or 4 to get lots of ball-handling touches. They did some serving after that and then I had them do some attacking arm-swing work. It was hitting against the wall to reinforce some technique work I’d done with them last term, but with partners tossing. I wanted them working on adjusting to the ball. After that we did some hitting lines, first standard outside sets and then 2nd tempo middle balls. I took video of some of those reps (and of serving previously).

I then put them through the cross-court digging drill with myself and my assistant hitting from benches over the net for the first time. Generally speaking, it went pretty well. There weren’t a ton of overpasses, though there definitely needs to be work on getting platform angles right.

Bingo-bango-bongo was the first 6 v 6 game. Actually, since I only had 10 in training it was 5 v 5 played with 3 at the net and 2 back and zone 6 out of bounds for attacked balls. After going through several rotations I then switched to a standard game, but with each team serving three straight balls. I finished with run serve receive.

The feedback on training was that it might have been the best they’ve experienced so far – this year or last. From my perspective there were a few things that could have made it better, but it wasn’t bad. I think the players liked the physicality and tempo of it. Also, they are really growing in confidence and aggression in their hitting, so they enjoy doing that more and more.

We should have more bodies in training next week as there were a couple of players missing this week. Blocking needs a lot more work and will be a focus.

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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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