During a match in Sweden the opposing coach did something. I am curious what you think about it.

We were up 2-1 and leading in the fourth set. It might have even been match point (24-23). I can’t recall exactly.

Anyway, they were out of timeouts. The coach called a sub to go in, but she went to the sideline holding a paddle with the number of no player currently on the court. Substitution errors like this are team delay faults, and thus earn a delay warning. During the ensuing pause as the score table recorded the warning, the other coach could be seen grinning in our direction. He was making it clear he intentionally made the substitution error as a way to get a defacto timeout.

Brilliant move or unsportsmanlike?

It didn’t work, by the way.

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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.

    4 replies to "This coaching action – fair or foul?"

    • Keith McAdam

      It clearly was not a brilliant move for his team. Some times this sort of game delay can do more harm to your own team than the opposition. As it can break your own teams focus. Was it unsporting, probably not just an attempt to us the rules to there advantage.

    • Kelly Daniels

      First, by FIVB rule the first team delay is a warning and should not be a card. If there was a previous team delay then a penalty is accessed.Was there a previous team delay?
      Although the R1 can issue a penalty if judged to be an intentional delay. Info provided doesn’t indicate the R1 knew it was a delay tactic.
      I’m not sure I could do such a thing myself. Integrity is huge in my philosophy. I cannot speak for another person’s behavior. I think it’s up to the individual to portray themselves as they want to be seen. Tactics are judgemental and I try to stay away from judging others. ‘Judge not, lest you are judged’ says the bible. Unless I’m in a position to judge like the officials, who uses a different book!!! (Great Big Smile). Hahahaha

      • John Forman

        You’re right Kelly. It was a warning, not a sanction. No point was awarded. I’ve corrected the post.

        If the R1 realized it was an intentional delay, he obviously didn’t do anything about it. But then he didn’t really manage some elements of the match particularly well. There were a couple of incidents during the warm-up which could have been avoided.

    • Volker

      Far from being brilliant! Imho it is unsportsmanlike behaviour and rather shows a certain degree of helplessness.

Please share your own ideas and opinions.