I look at my volleyball coaching philosophy as a set of principles upon which my own day-to-day efforts are based. They are things I believe should not change from year-to-year, or program-to-program. They are also principles I try to instill in those I coach and those who work under me. I’ve written them in general terms. Were I writing a volleyball coaching philosophy for a specific school or club program, there might be a bit more detail. It would still have these principles as the foundation, however.
I consider this philosophy a somewhat fluid thing. It will evolve over time as I grow as a coach. How, I don’t know. For now, though, these are the things I believe in (you may also be interested in why I coach).
My coaching philosophy
Program Level Guiding Principles
Process Precedes Performance
The foundation of sustained success is a mentality of continuous improvement at all levels of the program, and in every individual. This shifts the focus away from current performance – particularly in the training context – and frees everyone to pursue growth and learning. It also creates better alignment toward goals and fosters a positive dynamic. More broadly, it allows for adaptation to inevitable change.
Respect Given is Respect Earned
We should at all times seek to be worthy of respect. Being worthy of respect starts with giving respect. Those who respect the other members of the program and everyone associated with it, who respect the institution and the community, and who respect the game and their opponents earn that respect right back.
Team Level Principles
It’s About the Players, Not Me
Coaching is about being in service to others, not yourself. My job is to do everything I can to help those I coach grow, develop, and succeed individually and collectively – no more, no less.
Everyone is a Key Contributor
We all play an important part in the success or failure of the team. The fact that some members may have a more prominent role at times (and I’m not just talking about on the court) does not change this.
Positivity in Both Directions
It is important that we support each other in a positive, constructive way. It’s equally important for each of us to accept the same in return.
Every Team is Different
I coach based on the current team’s unique composition and environment. This is the only way to maximize its potential
Only Communicated and Enforced Expectations Matter
We can only get what we expect if we set forth those expectations and ensure that they are always lived up to in practice – on and off the court.
The More I Talk, the Less they Learn
Coaching is not lecturing. My job is to create a structure by which the players are able to work on the techniques, tactics, and coordination they need to continue their development. Then I must let them get on with the work of doing so with only as much interruption as is necessary.
Everything Starts with Priorities
Progress begins with identifying the needs, putting the most important things at the top of the list, and working on them first. Most rapid progress requires being focused on your priorities and not allowing other things to distract from them.
As Game-Like as Possible
I am training players to play the sport of volleyball. I am not teaching them to execute skills in isolation. As such, I seek to do as much work as I can in a game-like fashion so that players are learning all aspects of play – reading, planning, and executing.
Relentless Defense, But Structured
We do not let balls hit the floor on our side of the court uncontested – ever! That said, we also know our roles and who should take any given ball.
We are aware of the situation and make the play with the best chance of success. This means knowing our responsibilities and knowing when to go for the point and when to make a different choice.
The Little Things Matter
We are always in the moment, focused on our responsibility right now.