Sports Coach UK did a general coaching survey earlier this year and the results were recently reported. Volleyball coaches represented 140 of the responders, so they were able to break out their responses and compare them to the overall figures across all sports. You can see the results here (PDF – courtesy SWVA).

A bunch of the questions were demographic in nature. Probably unsurprisingly, there are way more males than females coaching (78% vs 22%). Interestingly, though, that’s a more male-biased ratio than the all-sports figure, even though volleyball participation in England is seems to be quite balanced.

In the category of “We need to work on this!” is the distribution of paid vs. volunteer coaches. In volleyball 76% of coaches are voluntary compared to 59% across all sports, and only 1% are full-time coaches vs. 9% in general. (I’d be really interested to see how this compares to the numbers in the US.)

Perhaps tied to the income-making prospects just noted, the motivation for coaching certification progression is not very good among volleyball coaches. Only 35% expressed an intention to gain another qualification in the next 12 months compared to 52% across all sports. I know motivating the progression through certification levels has been a topic of discussion at Volleyball England.

What is even more troubling is the general educational effort among volleyball coaches. The survey asked respondents about the use of 12 different educational options over the last year and volleyball coaches were behind the general average in every single category. In particular, three categories stand out as problematic – workshops, conferences, and online courses. All three have double-digit % gaps between volleyball and the all sports average. In the case of workshops it’s 33.1% vs. 66.4%!

The results of a “have you sought to gain this type of information” set of options shows very similar results. Volleyball is behind the broad average in all but two categories.

I think opportunity and availability is a factor in this, though. There just aren’t that many volleyball events of this sort available, which is something that came up at the Volleyball England coaching conference I attended earlier this month. For my own part, I have some plans to maybe address at least the online course element.

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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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