This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log.

The team played its second BUCS match of the season on Sunday. Actually, as a collective the team played a total of three matches as we also had South West league fixtures. We were missing three players due to various other commitments, including both of our alternate setters.  Then my planned starting M2 sprained her ankle Friday night. That left us with 12 total. We were able to bring up a setter from the intermediate group to set for the team playing SW, so at least we didn’t have to play some kind of 6-6 like system.

Because of the need both for leadership and scorekeeping, I opted to have my next choice MB go with the SW team. I also sent the other MB with them as I viewed it as a chance for them both to get at least 6 sets worth of practice as opposed to potentially only 2 if playing the BUCS match.

So what I ended up doing was bringing my third choice OH into the BUCS team and have one of my OHs play MB for the day. It was mainly an offensive decision. I had no doubt she would be able to hit effectively there, though she’s too small to be much of a block.

In hindsight could I have fielded a better team? Bringing my next choice MB would have made for a bigger block, which may have helped. We may also have been that little bit better on defense with my OH playing her normal position rather than being in the middle, Given how close the match was (23-25, 20-25), maybe that would have tipped the balance, but generally I didn’t feel like their players were any better than ours.

The major concern was the mental side of things. The team lacked the energy and intensity required to win. They remain tentative under pressure.

Our serving put the opposition under considerable pressure all day, though we missed more serves in the first set than we should have done. Our passing was generally solid, as was our defense. The opposing coach even commented on the latter, though we could have been a bit better here and there. We got several blocks and generally dug their harder attacks. The attack needed to be better is what it comes down to, and that is where the tentativeness really manifests.

We’ve got another league match on Wednesday against the defending champs. I will be focusing 100% on attitude in training ahead of that.

Note: The SW team won easily in one match, but lost 0-3 in the second to the defending champs. Reports suggest the latter was well played, though.

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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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