This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log for the 2021-22 season for the Medaille College men.

After a week of just training, we got back into competition last week.

Monday practice

All 9 players were available, but I was missing my assistant who usually jumps in to play. That limited things a bit, but I still kept a focus on working to make set tempos more consistent. We did that with a bit of hitting line action, plus a 4 v 5 exercise. In the latter it was MB/RS vs. MB/OH with the setter spending time on each side to be the 5th player. All the serves went to the side where the setter was. We wrapped up with more of the deep hitting game I’ve used a few times now.

Tuesday – Match Day

We played across town at Division II Daemen College. They had a good win over Princeton about a week before this match. When we played them last year we took a set off them, but generally they dominated us. Kind of like our match against Lancaster Bible. Still, it was a good match for our development that season. We put in a good performance and played with excellent intensity that carried into future matches.

This time around things didn’t go quite as well. We didn’t play badly, but we got whipped pretty good. The second set was the only one we managed to break double digits (15), and much of that was thanks to Daemen’s missed serves. They are just a significantly bigger, more physical team than we are. I also think we had issues with getting to much in our own head about playing them. Some of the guys didn’t play as freely as they needed.

We definitely struggled receiving serve the first set, with just a .714 reception percentage (got aced 6 times). From there, though, we adjusted. In Set 2 it was .842, and then .864 in the 3rd. Our offense just couldn’t do much with the better passing. We hit .000 on the match, largely because of errors. Some of it was the sets. Some of it was bad decisions and/or execution.

This match marked the last of our really strong opponents. Every match from here is one we have to view as winnable.

I should note, several of the women’s team players came to the match, along with a few other friends of the team. Daemen is only about 15 minutes from Medaille.


Had one guy out due to non-covid illness, so 8 for practice. It was a heavily serve & pass related session, with Flip-Switch featured. That was to keep working on seem understanding, which hasn’t been our strong suit so far (much to my dismay!).

Thursday & Friday

No practices thanks to snow.


The team an I ran a session for a group of lower level boys’ 15s players at an area juniors club.

Coming up

We’re back in action on Friday and Saturday. First up is a trip to Wells, where my former assistant is head coach. Then we go to Elmira for a double header with them and Sage.


Yeah, that work continues! We had some really good developments. A Spanish guy told our captain that we are his #1 choice, and a guy from California was in contact about doing a virtual tour with the guys. We also had a local setter – who would be a good get for us – put in his application and arrange to visit. We still have some earlier applicants on our list we really would like to nail down one way or another.


The men’s coaches from the conference had a zoom on Monday to talk about the 2023 schedule. A new school is joining as an affiliate member next year. As is our case next year, their conference doesn’t sponsor men’s volleyball. That will raise the number of teams to 10, forcing a new scheduling format. A plan had been put forward to go with North and South divisions of 5 teams each. Teams play home and away in-division, then play one match against each of the teams in the other division. The meeting was to discuss a specific schedule put together by one of the coaches. We also talked conference tournament format, which is top 3 from each division qualify.

Other developments

Continuing on from the conference affiliation topic, one of the things ratified at the NCAA’s recent meeting was lowering the number of team required for a conference to receive and automatic qualification bid to the tournament. It goes from 7 to 6. This is especially relevant to Medaille because our addition to the Empire 8 next season means they will have 5 schools with men’s volleyball. It will only take one more to allow the conference to officially sponsor the sport and get that AQ.

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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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