One of the things I’m thankful for about this blog is the people it’s connected me with over the years. Along with creating some great personal relationships, it’s also given me many opportunities to have really high level exchanges about coaching. One of those involved Mark Lebedew, Lauren Bertolacci (with whom I partnered on the Wizard Women book), and Jim Dietz. It was on the subject of errors in volleyball.

It started off with Mark sharing the Volley Brains interview with Lauren. In it she talks about how you can’t play it safe. Lauren replied by way of support with the fact that her Swiss pro team had just made 22 service errors in a 3-1 win to qualify for the CEV Cup quarterfinals. Obviously, that’s a function of serving aggressively.

As often happens, the conversation deepened from there. Mark made the observation, “One of the great myths of coaching (volleyball, at least) is the the team that makes the least errors wins.” Obviously, when you’re talking young players it is quite often the case that the team making the fewest errors wins. Once you reach a certain skill level, however, being able to score takes on the greater importance.

In response to Mark, Jim asked the question that is the subject of this post:

Doesn’t that depend how we define errors? –and I’m not trying to be semantic on this. Tipping a ball high directly to a libero does not show as an error–but we know it is under most circumstances…as an example of what I am meaning.

Things progressed from there, but I want to put that question to you, dear reader. In your match analysis, and in your training, in your examination of errors in performance, do you focus mainly on the types that show up in the box score (attack errors, misses serves, etc.)? Or do you take a broader view?

Jim’s question definitely shines a spotlight on poor decision-making. That ventures into what I talk about in Coaching from a Solutions Perspective. Some it falls under the category of DAP. Do you capture that statistically in any way? If so, how?

By the way, Mark wrote his own blog post following that exchange which challenges how we thinking about offense and defense in volleyball.

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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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