This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log for 2014-15.

The first order of business last night was a team meeting. Of course I’ve done on-court talks before and after each training. They were mainly focused on practicalities and training points of focus, though. This was going to be a bigger picture discussion – the first we’ve had a chance to do. I would have preferred not to do it right before training, as I like to have a bit of separation between meetings and trainings, but I needed to get the meeting done sooner rather than later and this was the best available option.

The topics I had on my list to discuss were:

  • My coaching tenure
  • Season expectations and objectives
  • Keys to 2013-14 success
  • 1st/2nd team
  • What does it take to …. (be 1st team, be a starter, etc.)
  • Training diaries
  • Respect and Comportment
  • Scheduling of a US match viewing next week
  • Scheduling of individual player meetings next week
  • Developing individual goals

In terms of training, it was again in the big gym, so serving & passing were a central theme. Because we had some real issues with transition movements on Wednesday, I started training with work on that after an abbreviated dynamic warm-up. I then progressed them into a serving warm-up against the wall for the sake of speed, followed by 10 good serves on the net.

I didn’t end up doing Run & Serve as I’d originally intended because we were a bit crunched on time and I wanted to make sure to get in plenty of serving and passing and 6 v 6 for stats and video purposes respectively.

In hindsight, I should have expected what I ended up seeing. I had, after all, designed Wednesday’s session to be challenging with some likely carry-over effects. I didn’t even think about that, though, until I was leaving training last night. Looking at it from that perspective, the way things played out makes some sense.

The first team players passed noticeably worse than they did a week ago when the stats were last taken. Collectively they were at 1.44 as compared to 1.70. That put them on par with where the second team players passed, which actually was an improvement. I’m taking things with a slight grain of salt, though, as I was collecting the stats for the first team and one of the men’s players was doing so for the second team. He may have tended toward being more generous, which could also mean that his numbers from last week were a little inflated by comparison.

The remainder of training was a game which for the first time pitted the first team against the second. The rules were that the second team scored points in the normal fashion, but the first team could only score on an ace, block, or kill. The second team got out to a decent sized lead at one point, but eventually the first team overtook them for a 25-20 win – largely on the back of serving.

No part of the play was particularly good. The setting was all over the place resulting in very little hitting, and what hitting there was didn’t impress much. There remained too much in the way of panicky play on both sides. There wasn’t enough communication. You name it, they were sub-par. I told them so at the end, and they seemed to agree.

I’m still thinking about the 6 v 6 issue. The second team didn’t do very much to challenge the first team. It was largely junk that came over the net.

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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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