This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log.

Today brought the first matches of the second term. We played a pair of matches in the area regional league. Only six players took part. I was to have been seven, but our libero pulled up with a gimpy foot at the last minute. Of the six, just two of them were among those who last term were regular first teamers. This is not a bad thing as a couple of the other four are players who have been on the fringes of the first team and I got a chance to see how they are coming along outside the training environment.

Despite the depleted squad and the fact that the team’s only been back to training for two sessions, it was a strong performance. We took a pair of 3-0 wins, which moves us back up to 3rd in the league (one of the teams we beat was sitting just above us in the table). There was only one little spell of concern where some runs of ragged play forced the team to come back from behind a couple of times. I was actually happy they had to face that kind of adversity, and how they were able to overcome it successfully.

Overall, I was quite pleased with most of the play. The offense was nicely aggressive. Defense was strong. Passing was pretty solid. Serving was generally good – though there were a few of those when not to miss your serve moments.

The area of the play I focused on with the player was that of recognition. In particular, they were slow in identifying free ball situations and transitioning to the proper defense. This is not the first time I’ve talked with the team on this subject.The team captain today suggested the problem could be one of ball-watching rather than play-watching, which I thought made a lot of sense.

There are other ways lack of recognition comes into play, of course, and it’s clear I need to give some thought to how I can work with the players to better develop their abilities in that area. Naturally, just playing the game helps, but I want to come up with ways to accelerate that process and really shine a light on the issue.

Unfortunately, I don’t have as much training time as I’d like. I found out our next BUCS match will be on Wednesday, which was only decided on Friday. So just a single training session for me to (hopefully) get all the starters playing together beforehand.

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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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