When I did the Volleyball England Level 3 coaching course in 2013 I had an interesting experience. There was a part where we had to do a practical exercise. We developed and implemented a practice segment. After I did mine, one of the others on the course – a Slovakian or Slovenian, I can’t remember which – made the comment that even if he never heard me talk, he would have known I was American. Why? Because of my coaching style. For the longest time I had no idea what that actually meant.

I finally got an answer about a year later.

On the way to a dinner with the SC Potsdam coaching staff when I visited the club in 2014, the subject came up. I was in a conversation with then head coach Alberto Salomoni. He described the American style as being positive, not overly emotional, and I think willing to explain things but not excessively talkative. Karch Kiraly was put forward as a good example of all this. Hearing it put that way made some sense to me. I think I get it now, and it does seem fairly accurate.

Of course, I have certainly seen my fair share of coaches in America who do not fit that style idea. Some of them are quite high profile. My guess is they aren’t the coaches most folks outside the US get to see very often – especially in volleyball where basically the only coaches anyone beyond the borders see are those in charge of the national teams.

So, does this match up with your view of the American style of coaching? Do you even have a view of what American style coaching is like?

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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.

Please share your own ideas and opinions.