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

I had individual meetings with about half the team yesterday (with the other half scheduled for today). During our team meeting last week I told them to come up with some personal developmental goals, and most of the conversations centered on them. Two points of clarity arose out of the discussions. First, one player whose commitment to being available for matches was uncertain (on my end) clarified things. Second, one of the players I have been using in the 2-setter system up to now told me she really wants to become a good setter.

That latter one is especially important as I’d already decided the 2-setter thing wasn’t something we could continue moving forward. It frees me up to shift the other player – last year’s OPP – back to a non-setting role, which I think will benefit us in the long run. Not that the setting position is locked, however. There are three players who could potentially take the job. I will be looking closely at all of them this week and during match play on Sunday.

Training was fairly technical. I had them start with blocking footwork, both individually and in combinations to work on communication and timing. After that I had them do three ball-handling drills in partner situations – Short-Long, run -throughs, and Pass & Touch. Overhead passing is something I hadn’t focused much on so far, so I wanted to give it a bit of time.

After that they did a serving warm-up. Then I had them to some target serving in zone pairs (1/2, 6/3, 5/4) as a lead in to a serving/passing/hitting drill.

That drill split the court in half lengthwise and featured 7 players on each – one server on each end line, two passers on each side of the court, and a setter alternating sides. This is an alternating serve drill. A ball is served to the two passers. Assuming a good enough pass, the setter will set one of them. She then goes out to replace the server on her side. The setter switches sides and the drill is repeated for the other side. We did this for about 20 minutes, with a new pair of setters switched in along the way. I didn’t have them play the rally out – though could easily have done so (and probably will at other times).

Training ended with Winners 4s. Afterwards I spoke with them about the training diary some of them have been keeping (somewhat informally) and how they should try to link their daily observations to their personal goals rather than just have it be random things from day-to-day. I also emphasized that we need more and better communication.

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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.

    2 replies to "Coaching Log – Oct 6 2014"

    • Kelly Daniels

      I am surprised that you are using rudimentary terms in regard to offensive systems. ‘Two setter system’ from my understanding is a 4-2 or 6-2. Single setter offense is a 5-1 and this is terminology I’ve been using for over 24yrs. Is it that some of your subscriber do not understand the offensive systems in regards to setters?

      • John Forman

        Hi Kelly – My reasons for saying “two setter” rather than being more explicit are a couple. First, it’s a very simple descriptive prose selection which addresses the issue (I think) without adding the complexity of offensive system at a point where it doesn’t need to be dealt with just yet. It leaves the reader free to interpret in the context of their own situation. Second, I have been looking at the second team and first team differently from the 2-setter perspective. For the second team, which is much more developmental, my thought has been toward an international 4-2 (which I am still leaning toward for the early part of the year). For the first team I’ve been looking at a classic 6-2 (true setter/hitters) since I’m operating under FIVB rules. Obviously, I’m now turning back to the 5-1 for the first team.

Please share your own ideas and opinions.