This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log.

I ran a strongly 6 v 6 biased training session to prepare for Saturday’s matches in the case of both the first and second teams. My assistant managed the second team while I focused on the first team. The main intention for the first team was to evaluate the two potential starting setters, so I concentrated training on short games to be able to swap the setters in and out. I used a combination of 22 v 22 and straight scrimmage play games to 7.

After a pre-match type warm-up sequence and a team talk, we went right into 22 v 22. I think we did 3 rotations worth for the A side, which actually means a total of 12 games because I had each setter go through both the serving and receiving sides for each rotation. After that is was the short regular games. The intensity levels there weren’t great, though, so I used the last 15 minutes to go back to 22 v 22 in order to challenge the A side again.

In terms of general team observations, I was a bit disappointed with the hitting overall. Too many errors. It was a marked drop-off from Monday’s performance. I told them before we started that I wanted them to really take it to the B side as if they were our Saturday competition. Maybe that had an impact. They weren’t really tentative as they had been in the past, though. Perhaps the switching in and out with the setters – and the setters themselves not being on the court for spells – had an impact.

I was pleased, though, that the team seemed to be focused on really trying to put the B team under pressure – especially in terms of serving. They were targeting passers and moving their serves around in ways they haven’t done a lot this year to far.

In terms of the setters, the hitting stats were very comparable in the base readings – kill % and hitting efficiency. The difference comes in set distribution in particular. The starting setter up to now (call her Setter A) set more than half her balls to the middle while the other (Setter B) only gave the MB the ball 22% of the time. They were relatively close in terms of balls to the OH. The difference is balls to the right. Setter B went that way 19% of the time vs. only 5% of the time for Setter A. This is a serious discrepancy as our OPP is perhaps the best attacker on the team (though she struggled last night). Also, the league leaders we play first on Saturday are big in the middle, and we don’t want to be setting into that block frequently.

I need to have a conversation or two to get some other impressions beyond the figures. One impression I got, though, was that the team was a bit more efficient when Setter B was in. By that I mean they won games more quickly. Unfortunately, I didn’t record any stats to be able to measure that.

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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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