I saw the following in volleyball coaches group.

Describe the stress that young setters can go through when picking who to set during transition. How did you manage to make those split decisions? How do you teach making a confident decision in transition?

For me what comes to mind first and foremost is peer pressure. As coaches we want to train our setters to make good decisions. Unfortunately, for those poor kids, that can mean someone doesn’t get set who thinks they should and lets the setter know. You see it at every level of play, and dealing with it is one of coaching’s challenges.

For a mature, experienced player this isn’t a huge deal. For younger ones, though, it can create a lot of stress. They want to be liked, so they share the ball around. I actually once blew a setter’s mind when I told her she didn’t actually need to set everyone the same amount. The idea clearly never occurred to her.

Of course, there are also situations where setters don’t set someone because of an issue between the two. That’s kind of the opposite of setting stress. Unless you want to count the coach yelling at them for not setting someone. 🙂

The stress of hitter management never goes away completely. Good setters always have to handle their hitters as the situation demands. It’s a learned skill like anything else, though, and we have to help them with it. We must keep in mind, however, that conscious decision-making is only something that can come in once a player gets beyond the first level stress of simply getting to the ball and putting up something hittable.

Things that can aid in this process are helping the player develop good court awareness and considering whether a hitter- or setter-driven play-calling approach is best. And, of course, you need to practice game situations so the setter gets to work on making good choices.

If you enjoyed this post, have a look at How do you train setters?

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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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