This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log.

The men’s team was given the opportunity to do joint training with the local NVL men’s side, so the women had the opportunity to go a little longer than usual this session. I took advantage of that to mix the squad up a bit more for 6 v 6 play than I might have otherwise done. I did this because I wanted to give the starters the chance to play against each other a bit rather than just playing against the B team.

After the dynamic warm-up I had them do the Twenty-One drill in groups of four to get in some ball-handling and additional warm-up. I then put them through some individual digging of balls myself and my assistant hit over the net. After that we did some target serving, and from there I moved them in to winners 4s. That hadn’t been my original plan, but I did it to accommodate a player development, to mix the players up in game play, and to prepare them for playing 6s.

After that I did 4 rounds of the 22 v 22 game. I split the players up such that each team had one line of starters and one line of second teamers. In the first round I matched up the first team front rows. After that I flipped the lines in an alternating fashion so all four combinations were played. From there we went on to starters vs. second team playing Bingo-Bango-Bongo. At the end I had them finish with some short serving.

It wasn’t an easy session. The players were clearly flagging toward the end in terms of energy and focus. Following Sunday’s long day for 8 of them, it wasn’t a major surprise. From my perspective, it was quite a frustrating practice. I’ve been harping on a lot of mental stuff, and got on them when they weren’t doing things like covering properly. I also got on them about panicky play, in particular just putting balls back over the net and giving up unnecessary free balls.

At the end of the session I talked with them about my frustrations. I told them how I felt, but that it was a reflection of increasing expectations as the team has gotten better. They will eventually get there. I’m basically training them for Championships and they know that. I will be much more positive with them on Wednesday when they play their next league match.

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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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