It’s that time of year again! Time to look back on the happenings of last year and and to give some thought to what might be ahead for the new one. So here goes!

Job change

The biggest development of 2022 for me was on the job front. In July I left Buffalo after two years coaching at Medaille University for a new position at Radford University in Virginia. It was a backward step in the sense of going from head coach to assistant. At the same time, however, it was a step up from the perspective of going from NCAA Division III to Division I. I last coached in D1 when I was at Brown (2001-06), so it’s been a while. There isn’t a massive difference between D1 and D2, however, and I was in the latter while at Midwestern State (2016-18).

I was definitely thrown right into the fire when I got to Radford. We were only about a month out from the start of preseason when I got there. Lots to do to get myself up to speed on things, then we were in the thick of it! That made it pretty non-stop until the end of first term in December.

How happy am I to have moved out of Buffalo given the 6′ of snow they got in November and 4’+ they got before Christmas? VERY!!!

Travel & Education

No major trips this year. Of course I got to see some new places thanks to travel for the Medaille men’s season in the Spring and the Radford season in the Fall. I suppose you could also call my move from Buffalo to Radford travel. I didn’t attend the AVCA Convention in person this year, but I did do the virtual version. The only really novel thing was making three trips to Ontario to scout at their Provincial championships. That was my first ever time in Canada as an adult. I’d been waiting for the opportunity ever since I got to Medaille.

In terms of other education, there wasn’t a lot of formal stuff. The only coaching related books I read this year were If Gold is our Destiny, Do Hard Things, and Championship Behaviours.

Content

As busy as I was coaching and transitioning jobs, I didn’t have a lot of time for new content development last year. Even just blogging got pretty thin for a while there! My research partner and I did submit another academic paper to a journal. Got shot down once more, but we persist! I’ve already started working on what we think will be a significant upgrade. Just have to carve out time to really dig in. I did get a fair amount of editing and set-up work done for the new Volleyball Coaching Wizards book – Wizard Women, however.

Site traffic

If last year’s report on readership for this blog reflected a real surprise in its growth, I’m not sure how to describe things this time around as things just kept building. Total page views crossed 400k for the first time ever, nearly reading 450k. And not only did the 40k in a month mark get hit for the first time, so too did 50k! All in all, there was a bit over 20% year-over-year growth. Oh, and the blog surpassed 2 million all-time page views. The only place there was any kind of negative was December actually saw readership drop off a little from 2021.

Here’s the 2022 geographic distribution. The top five are the same as in 2021. Germany moved up two spots, with India down one and China down two. The Netherlands and Italy replace Ireland and Sweden in the Top 10.

These are last year’s most viewed posts.

  1. Volleyball Set Diagram
  2. Volleyball Try-Out Drill Ideas
  3. Whose ball? Seam responsibilities
  4. Putting together a starting line-up
  5. How to teach the overhand serve to volleyball beginners
  6. Pin hitter in volleyball – what is it?
  7. Scoring Serving and Passing Effective
  8. Setting up your starting rotation: 5-1
  9. Volleyball hitter coverage strategy
  10. Favorite drills/games to practice serve receive?
Looking ahead to the new year

I really have it in mind to do a lot more content development in the new year. Perhaps the fact that I didn’t get a lot of content development done in 2022 has me thinking to make up ground in 2023. Regardless, I want to take advantage of the fact that I won’t have a season to coach in the Spring semester to get some real work done. Not that there won’t still be plenty of work to do for Radford in that time. It’s just different in complexion from being in-season.

Top of my list is finally publishing the Wizard Women book and making it available to the masses. My target for that is the first quarter. The content is basically in place. Just doing some more edits and layout work. Once that’s done, I can finalize the page count for the print version, which will then give me the book cover dimensions to get that finished. With that in-hand I’ll be able to get it set for publication.

I also mentioned above the academic research I’m working on. There are two specific papers I have in the works, both related to home advantage in volleyball (but from different angles). I got a bunch of data collection and processing done last week. Still would like to get a bit more, but it’s data that might not ultimately be available. While I continue to work on that I’ll be setting up the analysis. Much of the process for that is already in place, fortunately.

Bigger picture, I have SOOOOO many ideas. Some of it is book type content, but that’s just the beginning. The coaching education survey I ran last month provided some really good information on what folks want and need. I plan to make good use of that, so keep an eye out for announcements.

From an educational perspective, on my to-do list is to dig into USA Volleyball’s new coaching education system. It’s the one that has replaced CAP.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Assistant Volleyball Coach at Radford University, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His previous 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. Learn more on his bio page.

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