In my role as the person who sits over the national team structures for Volleyball England, I have to take a decidedly long-term perspective on player development. I have to think about how our systems – both those controlled by VE and those not – influence player progression. This, in a lot of ways, puts me in conflict with juniors coaches.

How so?

Because there is a “this season” mentality to club coaching. To most coaching, really.

By that I mean it’s natural for coaches to not really think beyond this year. There are lots of motivating factors for this kind of short-term focus. And even to focus just on the next match. This is how you end up with coaches running young teams like they would college ones. The drive to succeed now is very strong.

Taking the long-term player development view

Anyone working with youngsters, though, shouldn’t focus just on this season. They should also think about on their players’ long-term development.

Just to clarify, I’m not talking about recreational structures. Those are for fun and participation. I’m talking, instead, about juniors structures where players train to get better (often paying good money). Athletes join these clubs to get better. That means it’s the clubs’ job to development them to the fullest extent possible.

And knowing that coaches will tend to focus on this season, it’s up to club leadership – and possibly regional/national leadership – to push the long-term development agenda. The question is how.

I would love to get your thoughts.

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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.

    1 Response to "It’s not about this season"


      I am a public school coach in the US, and I feel like many of the larger clubs in my area, promise exposure to the scholarships of colleges. Many do, but at what expense? They have to have a winning program. If the club wants to keep earning the large fees that they charge players, they have to win. With that in mind, development is not the main focus. “Come play with our club and your player will get a scholarship.” I have heard that promise way too many times.

Please share your own ideas and opinions.