About the same time I posted the post Biases in Coach Hiring there was an incident in the college coaching ranks. It involved a recruiting service and a promotional email they sent out about a volleyball athlete. Said email included racist language. I’ll direct you to Pete Wung’s blog for more on the story. You may recall Pete from my Conversation with he and Brian Swenty about online coaching communities.

In the latter part of Pete’s post he talks about how inclusive people in volleyball tend to be, in his experience. I agree with Pete there. Being a white male, though, I’m probably not as aware of all the kinds of biases minority coaches can face. I do think, however, the fact that our sport is worldwide and played in a vast array of cultures helps feed into better inclusiveness. This is probably even more the case as you work at higher levels of the sport. There you can’t help but get to know and work with people from a wide array of cultures and backgrounds.

I will always recommend that coaches find ways to gain exposure to the sport from the perspective of different cultures than their own. If nothing else it will help you in your career. The scouting service mentioned above was severely impacted because of a stupid comment born of racial insensitivity. People lose jobs all the time for not dissimilar reasons. That’s only likely to increase in the current environment.

So get out there an talk to people in different situations from your own. Get to understand their points of view. Make some new friends. That’s a big reason I go on trips like the one I did in August/September last year. It’s also a personal motivation for my Coaching Conversation series.

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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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