Previously I commented in my coaching log entry about the volume of communication that took place during training. The university women I coached at the time had finally reached the level of understanding and intensity where they talked nearly constantly during game play. It wasn’t all of them all the time, of course. It was a massive change, however, from when I first got over there.
I joked with the team after training that people must have heard them throughout the sports center we trained in. From my perspective, that was awesome!
Volume = focus and intensity
You see, for me a loud team in training is a focused team playing at a high level of intensity. One of the things I immediately picked up on when I got involved with volleyball in England was how quiet it was on the court much of the time. I remember watching a men’s match my first season and hearing nothing but the sound of the ball on either side of the net. And it definitely wasn’t because they all were perfectly in sync. It blew my mind!
When I refer to a team being loud, there are a couple of elements to it. First is the simple part. Players communicate with each other during play. That’s calling the ball, hitters calling for sets, liberos making defensive calls, etc. There’s also the between play type of talking mentioned by Matt here. That’s being supportive of each other, keeping each other focused and motivated, and all that. And, of course, celebrating.
As Matt posted, though, communication needs to be focused and positive. It’s no good if it doesn’t actually serve a purpose or if it’s negative. It should be about transferring information and encouraging team cohesion. It is not noise for the sake of noise.
I had a comment exchange with Coach Rey (no longer available) about the completely opposite idea of a loud gym – namely a silent one. Conceptually, I understand how it would be amazing to have a group of players who know each other and everyone’s responsibilities on the court to the point they could play silently. Alas, there aren’t many teams that reach that point. I would actually argue that even if they had that perfect sense of understanding, there would still be a fair amount of in-play communication – probably more for women than men.
Top level teams are probably the least likely to need responsibility-based communication during play, right? But, have you noticed they tend to be the ones with the highest volume during play?
So how loud is your gym?
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