Yesterday I coached my last match for the Devon Storm Ladies. This is a move that’s been on my mind for a while now. I just simply need to reduce my volleyball commitments. Since we added Division 2 teams to the Exeter University program, my workload has gone up there quite a bit, and that has always been my priority. Even with EUVC, the demands are such that I have to prioritize at times which on which team I focus. Fortunately, I’ve had a fair bit of assistant coaching help this season to be able to have teams covered when there’s a scheduling conflict.

Granted, coaching the Devon team only meant a single training session a week and a handful of matches each month. As any teacher will know, though, there’s a lot more time that goes into it than just turning up and doing a job – especially when it’s not just doing extra sessions for the same group you’re with normally. All the prep work takes time and occupies mental bandwidth, as does the after-action analysis and assessment. Add to that some long days of travel and you get a real time commitment.

If you’ve read my bio you’ll know that I’m in Exeter working on a PhD. That work, however, has fallen markedly behind. My supervisor had already expressed some concerns about volleyball’s influence on my productivity near the start of the current term and I have a meeting with him again in a few days during which it will no doubt come up. If I’m to stay on track and retain my funding (the only thing keeping me in England at this stage) then I need to show considerable progress in the second term.

Even after stepping away from Devon coaching, though, I am still likely to have a very busy period in January and early February. The uni men will have 9-10 matches between the Div 1 and 2 teams, while the Div 1 women will have 3 as well. Both groups also have a pair of SW league dates scheduled, so it’s going to be a packed first month back. Somehow I’m still going to have to keep moving my research along at an acceptable pace.

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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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