I came across a short article a while back on the subject of developing a championship culture. I thought it worth speaking to the key ideas it discusses. They are the four sections outlined below.

Establish Core Values

These are the foundational elements of your team, club, or program. The author provided the example of “Positivity, grittiness, thankfulness, selflessness, respect for self and others.” You can think of it as similar to defining the key aspects of your coaching philosophy, only applied to the collective.

Importantly, it’s not enough to just list your values. You have to consistently enforce and apply them. Otherwise they’re just words.

Accelerate Deep Training

The article references The Talent Code here, and is focused on keeping the athletes at the edge of their comfort zone. That’s where the learning happens. I wrote about this concept in the post What percentage of reps should be good?

The point is you need to create a strong learning environment. And that applies to every athlete, which might mean you have to think about how you structure things.

Establish an Important Role for Everyone

I’ll admit, this is one of the toughest parts of coaching. Every player on the team needs to feel like they are valuable in some way. If not, it’s hard to keep them motivated and contributing positively to the team environment. You have to figure out how to do it – especially for those players not getting as much playing time as they desire.

This is why coaches like Giovanni Guidetti talk about the importance of spending time with those players down the roster. He talked about it in his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview – which you can get in the first Wizards book. He says you need to work specifically to give them your time and attention.

Achieve Peak Performance

I’ll admit the title of this final bit is a kind of off theme. It describes an outcome rather than an action, as the other three do. That author wants you to have a process-oriented approach, though. That includes encouraging the players to take risks. It’s about having a growth mindset.

This is another thing that came out of a Wizards interview. Long-time college coach Joel Dearing brought up the idea of focusing on the performance rather than the score during competition.


At the end of the piece, the author offers up an exercise for the reader. He says for a week of work to keep track of how much time you spend on the Xs and Os of coaching. Then, the following week he challenges you to spend that same amount working on the four things above.

Do you accept that challenge?

I should note that both Giovanni’s and Joel’s insights are featured topics in the Volleyball Coaching Wizards – Wizard Wisdom book.

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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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