Coaching Log – Jan 22, 2014

This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log.

We found out midday on Tuesday that the match we were expecting to have on Wednesday was being pushed off. Both myself and the team were quite happy to hear that. For my own part, it gave me a chance to work on some key team developmental issues.

I actually had a meeting with the team captain and starting setter during the day to address several things. Part of that was getting the players more focused on what was happening on the other side of the court to improve anticipation and general positioning.

After the dynamice warm-up, I started training with serving and passing triples, but going off tosses to get reps in faster. I then had them do some target serving. It was focused on hitting the seems rather than zones as had previously been the case. Not surprisingly, there weren’t many targets hit but it gave me an opportunity to reinforce the requirement for proper mechanics when focusing on a more narrow zone.

From there we progressed to the Get-2 serve receive drill. I ran it to a target of 30 3-passes, with a -1 on an overpass and the count resetting to 0 if a ball dropped with no move to play it. I think the team went back to 0 a total of 5 times, once when they had gotten to 28. A couple times it was failing letting a deep seem ball go between two players – the exact serve we were working on. This was obviously a frustrating drill for the group. I stopped it at one point to reinforce expectations. At the end I tried to moderate the frustration a bit by talking about how challenging our good serves were making the drill, especially in the beginning.

From there I had them do a couple minutes of hitting against the wall to work on mechanics, then we did a few minutes of hitting lines before moving into 6s. The latter featured first 6-rotations of the 22v22 game. Then I had them just play a regular game so I could take some video for them to be able to review.

During the 22v22 game both myself and my assistant had whistles to stop play if we spotted either positional errors or lack of proper reading of the play on the other side of the net. This included stuff like anticipating free/down balls, adjusting to sets outside the pin, failure to properly cover hitters, etc. It didn’t take long before the team – especially the starters – was fully engaged and making the correct calls and getting into the right spots. I’m not a big fan of stopping play, but it needed doing and there was an obvious improvement, so the overall focus and intensity level was actually better than it might otherwise have been.

We’ll have one more training on Monday, then finish up our BUCS league play with an away match on Wednesday and a pair of home fixtures on Thursday. Before then we have a day of regional league play on Sunday.

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John Forman
About the Author: John Forman
John currently coaches for an NCAA Division II women's team. This follows a stint as head coach for a women's professional team in Sweden. Prior to that he was the head coach for the University of Exeter Volleyball Club BUCS teams (roughly the UK version of the NCAA) while working toward a PhD. He previously coached in Division I of NCAA Women's Volleyball in the US, with additional experience at the Juniors club level, both coaching and managing, among numerous other volleyball adventures. Learn more on his bio page.

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